Dark Phoenix is likely to lose $100 million after bombing in its opening weekend. Fox's superhero franchise has had its fair share of highs and lows since kicking off in 2000, and unfortunately the studio saved the worst for last. Dark Phoenix ended up being the furthest thing from an epic sendoff for the mutants, as it was hit with largely negative reviews criticizing its undercooked story and weak character arcs. In a year that's already seen the likes of Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, Dark Phoenix was very underwhelming.
While the quality of the X-Men films varied from project to project, one constant until now was that they could all be considered financially successful. Even the lesser entries, like X-Men: Apocalypse, ended up turning a profit by the time they bowed out of theaters. But Dark Phoenix proved to be something else entirely, and now Fox is looking at suffering heavy losses from their latest tentpole.
According to Deadline, Dark Phoenix could lose anywhere between $100 - 120 million when it's all said and done. This news comes on the heels of the film earning only $33 million domestically during its opening weekend, by far the lowest debut in the franchise. It's estimated to earn at most $325 million globally (which would be below First Class' haul) against a $200 million production budget.
Word-of-mouth definitely played a factor here, as Dark Phoenix entered theaters with very limited fanfare. There frankly wasn't much demand for a new comic book blockbuster, since Endgame only recently started to slow down at the box office. And with Spider-Man: Far From Home premiering in a few weeks, Dark Phoenix was caught in the middle of two Marvel Cinematic Universe tentpoles - one of which was this generation's defining cinematic event. It was difficult for general audiences to get enthused about Dark Phoenix. Additionally, the X-Men franchise was in a peculiar place leading up to Dark Phoenix's debut. The last mainline X-Men film, Apocalypse, had a mixed response, which likely diminished interest in future installments. Plus, there's been plenty of talk recently about how the X-Men characters are going to be rebooted in the MCU following the Disney/Fox deal, so there might have been some apathy surrounding Dark Phoenix since it was a lame duck.
It's a sad turn of events to see a franchise that helped usher in the golden age of superhero movies flame out this catastrophically. There was an opportunity here to give Fox's X-Men run the epic sendoff it deserved, and the filmmakers dropped the ball. Now, the onus is on Marvel Studios to revive the property and get people excited about the characters again. The situation actually isn't too dissimilar from Spider-Man, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 tanking and eventually leading to the unprecedented deal between Marvel and Sony that allowed Peter Parker to become part of the MCU (redeeming his cinematic reputation with mainstream audiences). Hopefully, when the X-Men are finally integrated into the shared universe, they recapture their former glory as well.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020