Dark Phoenix Director Simon Kinberg Takes Responsibility For The X-Men Movie Bombing

Sophie Turner and Jessica Chastain in Dark Phoenix

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you know that the X-Men film series has ended on a down note. Not only was Dark Phoenix met with mostly negative reviews, but it opened to a dismal $33 million and has thus far only made $146.5 million worldwide off a reported $200 million budget.

While he acknowledged that there were a variety of factors that led to Dark Phoenix bombing at the box office, including the extensive reshoots, it being delayed several times and Fox being bought by Disney, director and writer Simon Kinberg ultimately takes responsibility for the movie flopping, saying:

I’m here, I’m saying when a movie doesn’t work, put it on me. I’m the writer-director, the movie didn’t connect with audiences, that’s on me.

Dark Phoenix’s failure is an even bigger deal when you consider that Simon Kinberg also wrote X-Men: The Last Stand, the first cinematic adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga which was also received negatively by fans. So twice now Kinberg has had a hand in adapting this storyline, and the second try, which also served as his directorial debut, was an even bigger bomb.

However, don’t think that means that means Simon Kinberg didn’t enjoy his Dark Phoenix experience, as he also said during his interview with KCRW's The Business that he likes the movie and had an “amazing time” making it. Nevertheless, clearly most moviegoers didn’t feel the same way, so he’s willing to take the blame for the final product.

As for whether or not Dark Phoenix might have been more financially successful had it been able to keep on of its earlier release dates or if it had been marketed better once Fox was under the Disney banner, here’s what Simon Kinberg said on the matter:

I mean honestly, there’s no way to know. And that’s the thing that I think can drive people crazy and keep them up and be thinking about a movie’s failure years later. If the lesson you’ve learned is that you had the wrong date or you didn’t have good marketing--that’s not a lesson.

Simon Kinberg also mentioned that he received an empathetic email from Deadpool director Tim Miller that said that people will come to look at Dark Phoenix differently as time passes. Another thing helping Kinberg get through this period is a conversation he had with director Ridley Scott, who informed him that of all the movies on his filmography, his favorite is G.I. Jane, which isn’t considered one of Ridley’s more well-regarded stories, but he nonetheless appreciated because it was “just a great process.”

Although The New Mutants is still scheduled to come out next year, Dark Phoenix marked the final chapter in the stories centered around Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Jean Grey and all the other main X-Men characters. There’s been no official announcement yet on what Marvel Studios intends to do with the property, but the expectation is that it will be rebooted years from now to fit within the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for any updates on what’s in store for the X-Men on film, but for now, you can look through our 2019 release schedule to plan your trips to the theater accordingly.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.