Things went from bad, to worse, to downright tragic for Dark Phoenix. With this weekend’s box office numbers factored in, the latest entry in the long-running X-Men franchise is projected to be one of the biggest bombs of 2019. So much so that, according to a report from Forbes, it will be an even bigger bomb than 2015’s much-maligned Fantastic Four reboot. Ouch.
Here’s what things stand currently. Dark Phoenix brought in a measly $439,000 domestically over the weekend. That brings its domestic total to $64.6 million. Just to offer some perspective, that’s less money than X-Men: Apocalypse made on its opening weekend in 2016. Oversees, the flick has earned just $184.5 million. That brings its grand total to just under $250 million. And that is an absolutely brutal total when digging a bit deeper into the financials.
Longtime franchise writer/producer Simon Kindberg made his directorial debut with Dark Phoenix. It was an expensive, big-budget superhero movie to begin with. Then extensive reshoots were needed in order to change the third act, which we came to find out had to do with the movie being far too similar to Captain Marvel. Dark Phoenix even originally had Skrulls in it. All of those reshoots made the final product incredibly expensive, with a reported $200 million production budget. And that doesn’t account for marketing costs. Needless to say, this is going to lose a lot of money.
For the sake of comparison, Josh Trank’s famously bad Fantastic Four made $167 million working from a budget of $120 million. So, yes, it made less money than Dark Phoenix, but it also cost a whole lot less to produce, which is key. In both cases, critics were not kind and audiences didn’t respond in the way the studio had hoped.
Ultimately, this is going to be Disney’s problem. Their merger with Fox wrapped up earlier this year and Dark Phoenix was one of the projects that was inherited as part of the deal. Surely Disney would have preferred to not take such a big loss, but they have bigger fish to fry. Now, the X-Men and Fantastic Four character rights can be moved over to Marvel Studios, meaning they can eventually be brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So this will end up serving as an unceremonious end to Fox’s version of the X-Men. Granted, we still have The New Mutants coming next year, but that won’t feature any of the main characters in it and that movie has had its own troubled road.
The cast includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain. None of whom are expected to be brought over to the MCU when the series is rebooted. Here’s the official synopsis for Dark Phoenix.
“This is the story of one of the X-Men’s most beloved characters, Jean Grey, as she evolves into the iconic Dark Phoenix. During a life-threatening rescue mission in space, Jean is hit by a cosmic force that transforms her into one of the most powerful mutants of all. Wrestling with this increasingly unstable power as well as her own personal demons, Jean spirals out of control, tearing the X-Men family apart and threatening to destroy the very fabric of our planet. The film is the most intense and emotional X-Men movie ever made. It is the culmination of 20 years of X-Men movies, as the family of mutants that we’ve come to know and love must face their most devastating enemy yet — one of their own.”
So what do you think? Was Dark Phoenix as bad as the numbers would suggest? Did you see it in theaters? Or are you waiting until it inevitably arrives on a streaming service later? Sound off in the comments!