Dark Phoenix is the latest tentpole of the summer movie season, and it sports a fittingly large production budget to boot. 20th Century Fox is now the property of Disney, but before the X-Men are integrated into the MCU, there's one last adventure for the current iteration that began in 2011's First Class. Based on the popular comic saga of the same name, Dark Phoenix hopes to end Fox's 19-year run on a high note and give the franchise an epic sendoff while also doing justice to a storyline that was underserved in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Over the last handful of years, Fox has had great success diversifying their X-Men lineup of films with smaller projects that are moderately budgeted. The likes of Deadpool ($58 million) and Logan ($97 million) were game changers in the sense that they showed there was an audience for different types of superhero movies and that studios could have massive blockbusters without spending a fortune. Still, Fox made sure to keep the mainline of traditional, PG-13 tentpoles active, and those have substantially higher price tags. Dark Phoenix is actually one of the more expensive of the bunch.
Dark Phoenix's production budget is reportedly $200 million, which ties it with X-Men: Days of Future Past for the highest cost in the four films featuring the First Class cast. Unsurprisingly, First Class was the cheapest of the quartet ($160 million), as it was the first of a soft reboot and unproven with general audiences. X-Men: Apocalypse cost $178 million to make. Dark Phoenix is not the most expensive X-Men film of all-time, however. That honor falls to The Last Stand, which cost $210 million.
It's no secret Dark Phoenix underwent reshoots to change the third act, but that additional photography didn't add much to the bottom line. Allegedly, they cost around $10 million, proving they weren't extensive. This is not a Solo situation where the reshoots caused the budget to skyrocket; Fox always intended for this to be treated like a massive franchise installment and made a substantial financial commitment from the jump. Unfortunately, they may have overestimated how big of a draw this property is. Days of Future Past is very much an outlier in comparison to the main X-Men films. The 2014 tentpole earned $747.9 million worldwide, a total much higher than First Class ($353.6 million) and Apocalypse ($543.9 million). With Dark Phoenix projected to have the lowest opening in the franchise overall, it seems unlikely it'll turn a sizable profit.
Those initial box office estimates came out before the review embargo lifted, and the critical consensus is that Dark Phoenix is a disappointing conclusion to the series, fizzling out instead of concluding things in exciting fashion. That response may hurt its commercial prospects, especially since there may not be a real demand for a new superhero movie right now. Avengers: Endgame is only now slowing down at the box office, and Spider-Man: Far From Home is a few weeks away from debuting. So, Dark Phoenix has an uphill climb and isn't arriving in theaters with much fanfare.
More: Every X-Men Movie Ranked
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020