Movies & TV / Columns

Why Did Dark Phoenix Fail?

June 10, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Dark Phoenix

When Disney acquired Fox, everyone assumed the merry mutants would be getting a proper big screen introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and whatever X-related property that was still in production would get a nice bump from fans of the Fox franchise as a thanks of years of entertainment, no matter how uneven the results were.

Turns out the X-Men franchise can’t disappear fast enough for most people. Dark Phoenix didn’t have a great weekend at the box office, coming in second to The Secret Life of Pets 2. Dark Phoenix opened to an estimated $33 million, the lowest ever opening for a film in the X-Men franchise.

According to Box Office Mojo, Simon Kinberg’s finale to the X-Men franchise brought in just $14 million on Thursday and Friday nights, a poor number by any means and perhaps fitting for how the franchise has performed overall in the hearts of fans and critics.

The Dark Phoenix production was beset with problems from the start and while it was mostly rumors, those involved have let some things slip in interviews. Sophie Turner told Screen Rant that the movie was being re-worked on a regular basis during production. “Simon [Kinberg] and I would sit down for two hours every day and just comb through each page of the script,” Turner said. “There was rewriting being done all the time.”

Jessica Chastain echoed similar feelings saying that Kinberg would change things up over the course of a night. She said, “You could have a conversation and something comes from that and then the next morning, Simon would show up to work and say, ‘Jey, I wrote some pages that I think could be interesting for this direction we’re going.’”

This isn’t even covering how the entire ending of Dark Phoenix had to be reshot thanks to similarities to Marvel’s Captain Marvel. So instead of an ending that was closer to the comic book source, they went in another direction. Never a good sign.

What happened?

Was is a weak script that failed to capture the spirit of the original, beloved comic book story? Or perhaps the movie suffered from being caught up in the Disney purchase of Fox, throwing things out of wack?

Or maybe it’s that Fox never really nailed why the X-Men worked in the first place. To be honest, I never connected with any of the X-movies. Sure, some were good but never great to me. They scratched the surface and some of the casting was spot-on but as far as stories, I was never blown away by any of the X-Men, outside the Deadpool movies. Even the Wolverine stuff, with the team player Hugh Jackman owning it, never worked for me.

With Dark Phoenix, they had a solid cast but suffered with a director who was afraid to commit to the source material. At least to me. It missed the mark and because of the sale, no one really cared. It’s like we’re waiting to see how Marvel is going to properly introduce the mutants to the big screen.

At least I am.

What did you think of Dark Phoenix and the X-franchise overall?

article topics :

Dark Phoenix, X-Men, Steve Gustafson