Dark Phoenix's delayed release date may have everything to do with someone who wasn't even involved in the film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Avatar creator James Cameron urged Fox to push Dark Phoenix so that his film Alita: Battle Angel could be moved out of a more competitive spot. Cameron, called "Fox’s most important filmmaker" in the report, was concerned Alita would bomb if set against blockbusters like Aquaman, Bumblebee and Mary Poppins Returns. As a result, Alita was bumped from December 21 to February 14, while Dark Phoenix moved from February 14 to June 7. For Dark Phoenix, this followed a previous delay from November 2 to February 14.
Stacey Snider, then Fox's Chairman and CEO, granted Cameron's request, much to the dismay of Vice Chairman Emma Watts, writer-director Simon Kinberg and producer Hutch Parker. According to the source, "Emma, Hutch and Simon begged her not do it."
By design, Dark Phoenix was not a "summer" movie in the traditional sense; that is to say, the film had a much smaller scale in an effort to be the "anti-Apocalypse." As such, it was intended to be big for the off-season, which made it "too small for summer."
Over its opening weekend, Dark Phoenix took only $33 million at the domestic box office. The film is projected to earn $140 million globally over its opening weekend, but the movie's final total box office is predicted to fall between $300 and $325 million, with a chance of that number dropping even lower. As the production and marketing budget is estimated to have run more than $350 million, Dark Phoenix might end up losing between $100 and $120 million after ancillaries -- such as home video -- are factored in.
Directed and written by Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Holt, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters and Jessica Chastain. The film is out in theaters now.