If you thought that it only took superheroes to produce a big draw – and big money – at the box office, think again.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix opened this weekend to only $33 million domestically, and $140 million worldwide, marking it in history as the worst Marvel franchise opening in history.
While no one expected Dark Phoenix to open like an Avengers movie, the numbers are still pitiful. X-Men: Days of Future Past opened with $262 million worldwide, and X-Men: Apocalypse, arguably the worst in the franchise, still made $166 million worldwide its first weekend.
These numbers project a loss of up to $100 million when everything is said and done. Movie and finance experts project the total gross to be less than $300 million once it leaves theaters, with the projection and press from the movie costing over $350 million.
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence all return to their characters in this X-Men flick, with each playing in at least one other X-Men movie (Lawrence has played Mystique several times). Sophie Turner of Game of Thrones fame has also returned as Jean Grey, but all this acting power couldn’t save the story of Dark Phoenix.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it only 22%, with the Critic Consensus calling it “deeply disappointing”. The audience score on the site is a little better, but it only comes in at 64%. So why did this perform so poorly?
Many fans felt their X-Men goodbye was complete with the movie Logan, and reviving the mutants after losing them was unnecessary and cruel. Reports state that Dark Phoenix was shot over a year ago and was put together like puzzle pieces only recently after the Disney merger was complete and established.
Other issues could be due to the report that Dark Phoenix was originally supposed to be two movies, but the studio decided that was too ambitious and to cut the storyline down to fit into one. This meant huge chunks were just cut from the script entirely, leaving plot holes or little time to fill in the gaps.
There is also a rumor going around that the ending fans watched this weekend isn’t even the original ending. Jean Grey was supposed to die, teaching the audience that the good guys don’t always win. But it wasn’t well received by test audiences, so a quick reshoot of an alternate ending was produced, showing the mutants fighting through it all together.
Whatever the reason, Dark Phoenix had a disappointing box office opening for Marvel and does not shine in the X-Men universe. Will the X-Men ever get a good movie again?