The latest X-Men movie Dark Phoenix scored the lowest opening day box office total of any film in the long-running franchise. In 2000, 20th Century Fox kicked off the X-Men franchise in memorable fashion, introducing the first cinematic iteration of the fabled comic book superhero team. Many of the characters in that first film, including Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Ian McKellen’s Magneto, would go on to become icons.
Then in 2011, Fox rebooted the franchise with X-Men: First Class, starring a whole new, younger X-Men team including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence (with the venerable Jackman returning as Wolverine in the sequel, Days of Future Past). Sophie Turner joined the crew in X-Men: Apocalypse as Jean Grey, and this year the franchise tackled the popular comic book arc Dark Phoenix, in which Grey achieves awesome, uncontrollable super-powers. Co-starring Jessica Chastain as a mysterious alien villain, Dark Phoenix represents the end of the Fox era of X-Men, as the studio has been acquired by Disney, who may or may not elect to reboot the X-Men at some point down the line. Plus, there are still plans to go ahead with the spinoff New Mutants, at least for right now.
Dark Phoenix may mark a milestone in X-Men history, but thus far audiences are not exactly flocking to theaters to witness it. As reported by BoxOfficeReport.com, the movie limped out of the gate on Friday with just $14 million in domestic grosses, the lowest opening-day total for any X-Men movie. Projections have the film finishing the weekend with around $50 million, placing it second behind The Secret Life of Pets 2.
The $14 million first day for Dark Phoenix looks bad enough as it is, but becomes even more dismal considering that way back in 2000 the original X-Men managed $20 million on its first day. 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was previously thought of as the worst of all the X-Men movies, far outdid Dark Phoenix with an opening day tally of $34 million. The high water mark for the series came with Deadpool 2, which grossed $53 million on its first day, on the way to a domestic total of $318 million. For the non-Deadpool X-Men movies, Last Stand – the last movie to (sort of) tackle the Dark Phoenix storyline – is the winner with a $45 million opening day.
Generally speaking, the X-Men movies have been trending downward, with 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse taking in just $26 million on its first Friday on the way to a weak $155 million domestic total. Given that trend, it’s probably not a surprise that Dark Phoenix has achieved a new low mark for the franchise. Indeed, reviews of the film have largely been brutal, and it currently has the worst Rotten Tomatoes score of any X-Men film.
Even before Dark Phoenix hit theaters, it was looking like the X-Men franchise was at a crossroads, what with Disney acquiring Fox and the current cast looking to move on. If there ever was any desire at Disney to continue X-Men in some form, that desire may just be snuffed out by the box office performance of this latest movie.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020