SALT LAKE CITY — “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” is expected to be a blockbuster bomb — Deadline reports the film could lose more than $100 million — and rumors from The Hollywood Reporter indicate behind-the-scenes decisions at 20th Century Fox hurt the film in the long run.
“Dark Phoenix,” which has the lowest domestic debut of any "X-Men" movie at $33 million, was allegedly impacted by reshoots, poor marketing and a release date shuffle.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, writer and director Simon Kinberg opted to double down on past failures in the X-Men films for “Dark Phoenix.” His script acted as a continuation of “X-Men: Apocalypse,” a critical failure according to io9, and tread the same ground as “X-Men: The Last Stand,” which sits at a 57 percent for positive critical reception on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Dark Phoenix” also required reshoots and rewriting both during and after production. Actress Sophie Turner said in an interview with ScreenRant that Kinberg was daily reworking plot points and dialogue. While SlashFilm notes most reshoots aren’t indicative of a bad movie, io9 reports that the adjustments can hurt the final product.
Additionally, the newest X-Men was allegedly bumped from its February release date to make room for “Alita: Battle Angel," which James Cameron worried would struggle in its December release date.
“According to one source, Cameron felt Alita would lose horribly when facing a December opening weekend that included 'Aquaman' and 'Bumblebee,' with 'Mary Poppins Returns' opening up two days earlier. He wanted his expensive movie shifted,” writes The Hollywood Reporter.
Sources also indicate the movie was designed to feel different than a summer blockbuster thanks to “Apocalypse’s” failure, leaving the movie in over its head in a June release date — especially when compared to “Avengers: Endgame,” which has 94 percent positive reception on Rotten Tomatoes and has earned $2.7 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
While the current incarnation of Marvel’s mutants is on its way out, Marvel Studios now has control over the characters thanks to Disney’s merger with Fox. “New Mutants,” a horror film set in the "X-Men" universe, is also scheduled for a 2020 release date, according to Entertainment Weekly.
However, the X-Men will likely take a long break before appearing in theaters again. I recently reported for Deseret News that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige isn’t planning on using the X-Men characters for at least another five years.