[all photos courtesy Twentieth Century Fox]
The 20th Century Fox era of X-Men films is coming to a close with a whimper, as Dark Phoenix has the worst opening weekend of the franchise.
Box Office Mojo reports that estimates as of June 9th show domestic receipts at only $33 million, with worldwide box office at $107 million. Compare that with the opening weekends for X-Men: First Class ($55 million domestic) and X-Men: Apocalypse ($65 million domestic), which were the other two films to feature the younger versions of the mutants, and it appears that the franchise has lost its luster.
The film, which cost $200 million to produce, is estimated to lose the studio $100 million after figuring for distribution and marketing costs. And the marketing/PR handling on this film reportedly wasn’t that stellar. According to an article in Deadline, the film was looking troubled in the reshoot phase, when word about the pickups (which are normal in the production process) got out of hand with speculation that the film was in trouble, especially since principal photography was completed two years ago. Add to that Fox pushing the release date back not once, but twice, and you have the beginnings of a tale of mismanagement at the executive level.
Complicating matters was the merger with Disney. And while fans are excited at the prospect of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four all showing up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which Kevin Feige says is still a ways off…), there’s still the matter of The New Mutants, which currently has a release date of April 3, 2020. That’s another production that has been plagued with rumors of problems, with two years worth of delays to accommodate Dark Phoenix.
The poor performance of Dark Phoenix will very likely factor into the amount of effort Disney puts into promoting (or even releasing) The New Mutants ahead of the expected reboot within Feige’s MCU. One can be assume that Disney and Marvel will want to wipe the slate clean after these films are done, and poor box office performance will make it easier for them to start over and do something more attractive to Marvel fans.