Well, ‘Dark Phoenix’ is officially a flop with a franchise-low opening of $33 million, and dismal reviews. (Audiences– as small as they are– have been more receptive.) First-time director Simon Kinberg says, “I actually really like the movie, [and] I had an amazing time making the movie.” But he admits the film doesn’t work and is willing to shoulder the burden, whether it’s fully warranted or not.
Speaking to The Business, he said:
“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.”
But while audience reactions have been the lowest of the ‘X-Men’ franchise– B- via CinemaScore and 3 out of 5 stars via PostTrak– those scores aren’t BAD. They’re on the better side of average. While these scores might be the lowest of any ‘X-Men’ movie, some of those haven’t aged well. The highest-grossing team movie, ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’, is nearly universally loathed. And most would like to forget ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’. They even made an entire movie, ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ just to wipe those from continuity.
And ‘Dark Phoenix’ faced a lot of other obstacles like being pushed back numerous times. (The film was not intended to be a summer movie, but rather to open during the off-season, where competition wouldn’t be so stiff.) And it is the last core ‘X-Men’ movie from 20th Century Fox’s tenure, prior to being bought out by Disney. It’s hard to market a movie when the parent studio isn’t fully behind it and just wants to unload it.
Kinberg shrugged that off, saying:
“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.”
While ‘Dark Phoenix’ is officially Kinberg’s first movie, he did direct chunks of ‘Days of Future Past’ and ‘Apocalypse’ after helmer Bryan Singer went MIA, which it is now being reported, was frequently. Though this is surely the end of the line for the X-Men, hopefully, this doesn’t torpedo Kinberg’s entire career.
What did you think of ‘Dark Phoenix’? Was it just bad, or was it the victim of poor marketing or some other outside factor?