The newest, and penultimate movie in the X-Men franchise under Fox, debuted in theaters this past weekend, and...things did not go well. Dark Phoenix found itself opening to the lowest box office numbers in the history of the nearly 20 year old franchise. Based on that lackluster opening, and the odds that things are unlikely to get any better, analysts are predicting that the movie could end up losing as much as $120 million.
In addition to the low box office take, Dark Phoenix also isn't setting the world on fire when it comes to the critical response. The Rotten Tomatoes score is an abysmal 24% and the CinemaScore is a B-, a low for the franchise.
As one can imagine, there are a lot of theories as to why Dark Phoenix may have performed so badly. There are a variety of factors that appear to have contributed to the downfall in some way. The fact that the previous X-Men film, Apocalypse, had been the lowest grossing film in the franchise up until now certainly didn't help. It's likely that the film turned a lot of people off and nothing in Dark Phoenix was enough to bring them back.
On top of that, for those in the know that follow Hollywood and knew that this was to be the final movie in the Fox X-Men franchise, there may have been a feeling that the movie simply didn't matter because everything was going to be rebooted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe anyway.
The film certainly had some behind the scenes issues. Deadline reports that the movie was originally supposed to be two films, that was then cut down to one, forcing writer/director Simon Kinberg to rewrite the story.
Then the film had to go back for reshoots, and while that's common practice for films of this size, there was certainly a feeling from some that these reshoots were bad news, and there was little response from Fox to try and downplay that perspective. The fact that Dark Phoenix had its release date pushed back just a couple days after releasing a trailer with the original release date was not a good look.
There was clearly a perception going in that this was a troubled project, and while it doesn't actually appear the movie had any more difficulty than your average blockbuster, at a certain point perception becomes reality and the feeling that Dark Phoenix wasn't going to be a must see film resulted in that happening.
For a franchise that had some incredible massive entries, watching it fade away like this is more than a little sad.
Of course, technically there's the possibility that the X-Men franchise could still end on a high note. There is one more Fox-produced film waiting in the wings. Of course, The New Mutants is suffering from a lot of the same negative buzz as Dark Phoenix, so it will have the deck stacked against it.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.