X-Men: Dark Phoenix had a disastrous opening weekend. The film only grossed approximately $US 33 million in North America and raked in a mediocre $US 107 million outside of North America, putting its global opening weekend tally at $US 140 million. This makes it one of the lowest opening weekends of the franchise in its 20 years history. While X-Men: First Class did open less in its opening weekend, its great reviews and positive word of mouth gave it its much-needed legs. The same can’t be said about Dark Phoenix, which currently sits at 23% on Rotten Tomatoes (with an above average 64% audience score).
And it looks like director Simon Kinberg blames himself for the film’s lack of success. Going on KCRW’s The Business podcast, Kinberg mentioned that the blame should rest on his shoulders.
“It’s clearly is a movie that didn’t connect with the audiences that didn’t see it, it clearly didn’t connect enough with audiences that did see it, so that’s on me.
However, Kinberg did also point towards the film’s poor release date and that the more “intimate” Dark Phoenix would’ve performed better outside of the packed summer period.
“I always felt that we had a tough date for this particular movie. It wasn’t made as a classic superhero movie, it was made as more of a dramatic, intimate, smaller film. Originally it was going to come out in November, then it was going to come out in February, and those were the date that I felt like it actually would have felt more appropriate to.”
While it’s debatable whether Dark Phoenix is actually a “smaller” film (it’s certainly smaller than Endgame and Godzilla: King of the Monsters), there’s no denying that it could’ve benefited from either a January/February or October/November release date. The summer is a crowded season and the final chapter of Fox’s X-Men saga was sandwiched right in between Aladdin, Godzilla, Men in Black: International and Toy Story 4. Dark Phoenix had no chance of surviving this box office Royal Rumble.
“And think also coming out five, six weeks after what may well be the biggest movie or the second biggest movie in the history of cinema, that also happens to be also in the genre of superheroes, was tough for us, and I always anticipated that it was going to be tough to be in the tailwinds of that movie. But I wouldn’t blame it on the weekend.”