The Secret Life of Pets 2 is projected to beat Dark Phoenix at the box office this weekend. Fox's final X-Men film unfortunately is ending the studio's run on a rather low note. Its reviews rank among the worst in the franchise, with a Rotten Tomatoes score lower than the likes of X-Men Origins - Wolverine and X-Men: Apocalypse. Instead of concluding the saga in epic fashion, many were left underwhelmed by poorly-developed character arcs and a narrative that didn't land with the intended emotional impact.
Negative reactions are nothing new to the X-Men series, but even most of the duds have been able to overcome the bad word-of-mouth and post respectable totals at the box office. Sadly for Dark Phoenix, it's poised to struggle in this regard as well. Last month, the initial opening weekend projections had it pegged for the lowest debut of all the X-Men films (yes, even including the original film from 2000). Now that the film's arrived to theaters, those estimates are even lower and Dark Phoenix won't secure the top spot for the weekend.
According to Box Office Pro, Illumination's The Secret Life of Pets 2 is poised to win the box office with $62 million. Dark Phoenix would come in second with $49.9 million domestically, slightly below the $50 million prediction from a few weeks ago. Should this pan out, Dark Phoenix would be the first (and only) X-Men movie of Fox's run to not make more than $50 million in its first weekend.
In stark contrast from other superhero movies this year like Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and even Shazam, Dark Phoenix is debuting to very little fanfare. There doesn't appear to be much interest amongst mainstream casual viewers, and the film is only appealing to die-hards. The clear culprit for this is the bad reception, since Dark Phoenix definitely does not have the reputation of being a must-see cinematic event. It's worth pointing out that a few tentpoles this year (including, believe it or not, Endgame) actually surpassed expectations when they opened, but the common denominator between all of those was good reviews. With a high-profile animated family film coming out (filling a clear void in the marketplace), Dark Phoenix is going to have an uphill climb to draw crowds.
With interest this low in Dark Phoenix at the outset, it probably won't have the strongest of legs. Blockbusters like this tend to be front-loaded and then teeter off in the following weekends. That will likely hold true in this case, since there are other major films like Men in Black: International and Toy Story 4 on the horizon. Toy Story 4 may even make $200 million in its opening weekend, so Dark Phoenix could fade out very quickly.
Source: Box Office Pro
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020