“Dark Phoenix,” the latest installment in the “X-Men” franchise, brought in $33 million at the domestic box office, the worst in franchise history.
- However, the movie did make over $100 million at the international box office, making it the number one global release for the weekend and tops in 36 markets, including China.
- Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets 2” won the weekend domestically with $47.1 million, however, underperformed as projections had the movie earning around $60 million.
- The summer is turning into a feast or famine season, as big weekends like “Avengers: Endgame” and “Aladdin,” follow weak ones, like the modest opening by “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”
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If there was any doubt that Disney would do a complete overhaul of the “X-Men” franchise after acquiring Fox, that’s all been erased after this weekend.
The latest movie in the franchise, “Dark Phoenix,” earned an estimated $33 million in its opening weekend at the domestic box office, marking the worst first weekend ever for the franchise. Previous to this, the lowest opening for an “X-Men” movie was 2013’s “The Wolverine” with $53.1 million.
It’s a sad end to the famous Marvel characters that fueled the box office at Fox for two decades. Now under Disney, the IP will be added into the studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe under Marvel Studios. But first, Disney will have to take its lumps from the release of “Dark Phoenix.”
The first sign of major trouble for the movie came from critics who gave “Dark Phoenix” the worst Rotten Tomatoes score in the franchise’s history with 23% (the verified audience score is 65% on the site). Then the movie only brought in $5 million at its Thursday night preview screenings , hinting that the movie would be the first in the franchise to not have a $50 million opening.
Friday’s $14 million take, the lowest opening day tally for the franchise, confirmed that the weekend would be really bad for the movie.
But like many of the “X-Men” movies before it, the saving grace for “Dark Phoenix” is its international box office. The movie brought in $107 million internationally, hitting its projection. The movie was number one movie globally with $140 million and was tops in 36 markets, including China.
The latest release from the studios’ animation arm, Illumination (also behind the “Despicable Me” movies), brought in $47.1 million to win the weekend box office. But it was largely disappointing as it also came in under its projected $60 million opening and was a huge drop (over 50%) from the opening of the 2016 original, which had a $104 million first weekend and went on to earn over $875 million worldwide.
The underwhelming performances by “Dark Phoenix” and “Secret Life of Pets 2” points to a growing feast or famine trend happening this summer season.
While last year it seemed everything met or exceeded projections, this summer so far we have weekends that are huge hits like the openings for “Avengers: Endgame,” “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” and “Aladdin” or underperformers like “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and now “Dark Phoenix” and “Secret Life of Pets 2.”
Next weekend will be another test for the summer box office when Sony releases “Men in Black International,” the first release in the franchise in seven years.
‘Dark Phoenix’ is the worst-reviewed ‘X-Men’ movie of all time, but the international box office could save it
- “Dark Phoenix” has the worst Rotten Tomatoes score of any “X-Men” movie ever, but if the franchise trend continues, that might not matter when it comes to box-office performance.
- Outside of three titles (the first two “X-Men” releases and “X-Men: The Last Stand”), every other “X-Men” release has made more money internationally than it did domestically.
- It has likely played a major factor in the length of the franchise.
- And if “Dark Phoenix” does the same, it may make Disney (the new owner of the intellectual property following its acquisition of Fox) have to speed up its plans to release future titles in the franchise.
- Here’s a breakdown of how all nine “X-Men” movies have performed at the international box office.
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With a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Dark Phoenix,” the 10th movie in the “X-Men” franchise, is the worst-reviewed movie in the 20-year history of theatrical releases of the Marvel characters.
The general thinking is that it’s finally time to take a break from these superheroes, especially seeing as they are now owned by Disney following the studio’s acquisition of Fox (which had the rights to the intellectual property) and it will take time to implement them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But that might not be so easy if the box office for “Dark Phoenix” continues the trend of the franchise.
Though audiences (and critics) domestically have “X-Men” fatigue, internationally it’s a different story.
Outside of three “X-Men” movies, the rest have performed better internationally than domestically. That’s a huge reason why a studio will continue a franchise — it’s why “Terminator” movies keep getting made. With the production budgets of most of these movies at more than $100 million (only two, “X-Men” and “Logan,” were under that mark), international sales play a big part in making money off the IP.
If “Dark Phoenix” does the same, it may force Disney to speed up plans to get another “X-Men” movie out to moviegoers (or actually release “The New Mutants” in 2020, the current release date for the next title, which has been delayed to theaters numerous times).
Here’s a breakdown of the international box-office grosses for the nine “X-Men” movies, from worst to best. (We’ve intentionally left the “Deadpool” movies off the list; don’t worry, he won’t mind.)