Why Dark Phoenix Failed
Dark Phoenix is a flop. There’s no other way to interpret the X-Men‘s swansong under the Fox banner. Dark Phoenix has raked in just under $250 million dollars worldwide, a whopping disappointment when compared to its alleged $200 million budget. It has a worse budget-to-earnings figure than that of Josh Trank’s universally panned Fantastic Four reboot.
Reports of turbulence during Dark Phoenix‘s production weren’t glossed over in the leadup to the film’s release. Copious reshoots, and disinterest from key members of the cast didn’t help. Disastrous test screenings littered the film’s buzz ahead of its premiere date. But the issues didn’t stop there. It felt like every move the film made only served to delay the inevitable, including numerous delays of its release.
But Dark Phoenix also suffered thanks to issues beyond its control, including the largest concentration of media in American history. In many ways, Dark Phoenix never had a shot. First time director Simon Kinberg envisioned a low-scale character piece, but it was turned into another summer blockbuster bomb. Kinberg saw Dark Phoenix as a chance to atone for X-Men: The Last Stand’s poor adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga. And yet he made many of the same mistakes again.
In the end, Dark Phoenix couldn’t escape the shadow of past failures, current missteps, and speculation about future. It was perfect storm that was almost impossible to rise above.
Recommended Reading: X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga Omnibus