Dark Phoenix limped out of theaters this week the same way it came in, as the lowest-earning film in Fox's X-Men franchise.
Box Office Mojo gives the exact time of death as Thursday, Aug. 15, with the Simon Kinberg sequel taking with it a lifetime domestic gross of $65.9 million and an international haul of $186.6 million, for a worldwide total of about $252.4 million. That places Dark Phoenix at the bottom of the 12-movie X-Men series, on both domestic and global charts. Its North American total trails well behind 2013's The Wolverine, with $132.6 million.
The final film in Fox's main X-Men series, Dark Phoenix opened June 7 to poor reviews (it stands at 23 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and an even worse box office, with a franchise-low $32.8 million domestic debut, behind The Wolverine, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse. It began being pulled from theaters within three weeks after release.
According to Box Office Mojo, Dark Phoenix screened in just 80 theaters in its final weekend, Aug. 9-11, during which it brought in a whopping $29,797.
With a production budget of $200 million, owing in large part to third-act reshoots, Dark Phoenix was singled out as a major contributor to Disney's $170 million third-quarter loss. The entertainment giant completed its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox in March, bringing under its banner the film and television studios, and such properties as the X-Men, Deadpool, the Fantastic Four, Avatar and Planet of the Apes.
Kinberg's second, and probably last, effort to adapt Marvel's seminal "Dark Phoenix Saga" comic book storyline, Dark Phoenix was hobbled by many factors, including shifting release dates, the decision to reveal the death of Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique in a trailer, and the poor reception of its predecessor, 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse. It probably didn't help matters that Disney reportedly cut corners on the final leg of Dark Phoenix's marketing, and largely ignored the film after acquiring Fox.
All of that said, Kinberg took the blame for the film's failure within days of release, saying, “I’m here, I’m saying when a movie doesn’t work, put it on me. I’m the writer-director, the movie didn’t connect with audiences, that’s on me.”
Of course, Dark Phoenix may not go down in history as the worst-performing X-Men film of the Fox era: The repeatedly delayed New Mutants has an announced release date of April 3, 2020, but there have been lingering questions about whether Josh Boone's horror-influenced spinoff will ever see the inside of a theater. Reports that reshoots to ratchet up the horror elements -- the purported reason for its delay -- haven't happened yet, and that Disney is skeptical of The New Mutants' box-office potential certainly don't help matters.
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 set to release digitally on Sept. 3, and will arrive on 4k Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on Sept. 17.