After less than a month, ‘Dark Phoenix’ has already been yanked from most theaters, making it easily the poorest-performing ‘X-Men’ movie yet. It has accumulated $64.628 million in the US, and $249M worldwide. On its opening weekend, the picture only generated $33M, the lowest for the franchise, and was beaten by ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’. Its production budget was $200M. It has grossed 1.39X that, so it will lose money once marketing is factored in, and according to Forbes, ‘Dark Phoenix’ will wind up losing more money than the maligned 2015 reboot of ‘Fantastic Four’.
That film, directed by Josh Trank, and sometimes referred to as ‘Fant4stic’, made $167.9M on a budget of $120M. That film is notorious for being one of the worst flops in the genre of comic book movies. Yet, ‘Dark Phoenix’ has managed to perform even worse.
It’s interesting that audiences and critics seemed to hate ‘Fantastic Four’ equally. But while critics were also unkind to ‘Dark Phoenix’, audiences weren’t as harsh, giving it a B- CinemaScore and 3 out of 5 stars on PostTrak. Those reactions aren’t glowing, but they aren’t scathing either.
Director Simon Kinberg has taken full responsibility for the failure of ‘Dark Phoenix’, but it doesn’t sound as though he actually delivered a terrible movie.
‘Dark Phoenix’ had a lot working against it, but the biggest hurdle was the fact that Disney bought out 20th Century Fox and stated that they would incorporate both the ‘X-Men’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ into its Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since ‘Dark Phoenix’ was made under the old regime, a lot of people just didn’t care about it. Fans are more interested to see what Marvel Studios will do with these properties.
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Disney has also inherited another movie from Fox based on the ‘X-Men’ comics, ‘The New Mutants’, a horror-tinged installment with an all-new cast. There had previously been rumors that Disney might not release either ‘Dark Phoenix’ or ‘The New Mutants’ in theaters and instead release them a different way, perhaps streaming on Hulu or on the Disney Channel. But Disney went ahead with a theatrical release for ‘Dark Phoenix’, which might not have been the wisest move. ‘The New Mutants’ is still scheduled to open in theaters on April 3, 2020, but it would be absolutely no surprise if Disney opts to yank it and release it a different way.
Do you think ‘Dark Phoenix’ got a bad rap? Or does it deserve to rank lower than ‘Fantastic Four’? Would you pay to see ‘The New Mutants’ in a theater?