The final film in Fox’s X-Men saga might go out with a whimper rather than a bright-burning bang. The super-early projections are in for Dark Phoenix, writer/director Simon Kinberg’s take on the classic, cosmic comic tale of Jean Grey’s destructive transformation, and they don’t look worthy of the turning point in the franchise. In fact, they’re lower than ever.
Every X-Men film has opened with at least $53M — and that low number belongs to The Wolverine, which was already a bit of a black sheep in the family after having to restore audience’s faith in a post-X-Men Origins: Wolverine world. But now, BoxOffice predicts that Dark Phoenix will only open between $40-55M for its first weekend in theaters and finish with a domestic total of $113M.
That opening range — less even than The Incredible Hulk’s $55M back in 2008 — allows for plenty of room for the film to come in last place in the box office rankings for its opening, with a projected total far below that of The Wolverine’s $132.5M domestic gross. And if we look at proper, full-team X-Men movies, the comparisons only get worse. X-Men: Apocalypse, the previous entry in the franchise with stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Sophie Turner intact, took in $65.7M on its opening weekend and passed the $155M mark domestically.
This slump could partially be attributed to Apocalypse’s poor reviews (47 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), which can have an effect on a franchise’s follow-up, or possibly the fact that the series in its current form is a bit of a lame duck in light of Disney’s acquisition. For some fans, the reasoning could be Marvel is about to reintroduce all the X-Men into the MCU anyway, so why bother closing this chapter out? There's also the fact that fans have also already seen a version of this story adapted on the big screen before, in 2006's less than stellar X-Men: The Last Stand.
Of course, it's also important to note we're still a month and a half away from Dark Phoenix hitting the big screen. A lot can change in that time, from a buzzy ad campaign, to possible positive word of mouth. So, don't count the (likely) final mainline X-Men film out just yet — but it's worth noting the early numbers are surprisingly low for what should be an A-list superhero flick.
Will you be seeing Dark Phoenix when it opens on June 7?