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Dark Phoenix (also known as X-Men: Dark Phoenix) is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics X-Men characters, produced by 20th Century Fox and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the twelfth installment of the X-Men film series, and the sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). The film is written and directed by Simon Kinberg (in his feature directorial debut) and stars an ensemble cast featuring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Jessica Chastain. It is the first film in the series to not feature Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in any capacity. In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men must face the full power of the Phoenix after a mission in space goes wrong.

Dark Phoenix
Dark Phoenix (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySimon Kinberg
Produced by
Written bySimon Kinberg
Based on
Starring
Music byHans Zimmer
CinematographyMauro Fiore
Edited byLee Smith
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • June 4, 2019 (2019-06-04) (TCL Chinese Theatre)
  • June 7, 2019 (2019-06-07) (United States)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$200 million[2]
Box office$251.8 million[3]

After X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) erased the events of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) from the series' timeline, Kinberg expressed interest in a new adaptation of Chris Claremont and John Byrne's "The Dark Phoenix Saga" in a future film that would be more faithful than his previous attempt with The Last Stand, which was not well received. The new adaptation was confirmed as a follow-up to Apocalypse in 2016. Kinberg signed on to make his directorial debut in June 2017, when the majority of the cast was set to return from Apocalypse. Filming began later that month in Montreal and was completed in October 2017; the entire third act was later reshot in late 2018 following poor test screenings. The film was dedicated to the memory of X-Men co-creator Stan Lee, who died in 2018.

Dark Phoenix was theatrically released in the United States on June 7, 2019. With a worldwide gross of $251 million, the film was the lowest-grossing installment of the series and became a box office bomb, losing the studio as much as $150 million. It received generally unfavorable reviews, with some critics describing it as "boring" for its lack of plot and character development and viewing it as a disappointing and anticlimactic conclusion to the Fox X-Men series, though the performances of the cast and Hans Zimmer's score were praised.[4][5]

Contents

PlotEdit

In 1975, eight-year-old Jean Grey inadvertently uses her telekinesis to cause a car accident that kills her mother and, apparently, her father. Shortly afterwards, Professor Charles Xavier takes her to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, where he mentally blocks the accident from her memories and helps her hone her psychic abilities.

In 1992, nine years after the worldwide devastation caused by En Sabah Nur, the X-Men are seen as heroes by the public. The President summons them for assistance during a crisis and respond to a distress signal from the space shuttle Endeavour, which is critically damaged by a solar flare-like energy. While the X-Men save all of the astronauts, Jean is stranded and is struck by the energy which she absorbs into her body to save the X-Men's aircraft from destruction. Jean survives the event and her psychic powers are greatly amplified as a result. At the same time, the mental block placed by Xavier is destroyed and she accidentally unleashes her power on the mutants celebrating at Xavier's school. She then travels to her childhood hometown after discovering that her father is still alive. The X-Men attempt to take Jean home but she injures Peter Maximoff and accidentally kills Raven Darkhölme before flying away.

Jean travels to the mutant refugee island of Genosha to seek assistance from Erik Lehnsherr in controlling her powers, but is turned away by Erik after she engages in combat with U.S. military forces tasked with her arrest. Jean meets Vuk, the leader of a shape-shifting alien race known as the D'Bari, who explains to her that she has been possessed by a force of cosmic power which wiped out the D'Bari home planet years ago. The power had consumed all those it came across until it was drawn to Jean. Meanwhile, Hank McCoy, angered by Raven's death, allies with Erik and the mutant refugees in an attempt to kill Jean in New York City.

Upon learning of Erik's plan to kill Jean, the X-Men try to stop him and his faction. As they battle, Erik manages to enter the building and confront Jean but his power is neutralized by her amplified abilities, and he is then knocked out by her attack. Xavier then enters the building with Nightcrawler. Jean attacks them until Xavier convinces her to read his memories – allowing her personality to resurface. Feeling remorseful, Jean offers to let Vuk take the force from her; however, it is revealed that doing so would kill Jean. Xavier and Scott are able to prevent Vuk from fully absorbing the force from Jean, though Jean loses consciousness from the ordeal. Troops sent by the U.S. government, who use stun weapons and power-disabling collars, attack and subdue both mutant factions, who are placed on a train headed towards a containment facility.

On the train, a remorseful Xavier admits to a resentful Hank that the latter was right in his earlier accusations of violating Jean's mind and lying to her. The train is attacked by Vuk and her D'Bari forces. When the soldiers are overpowered by the shape-shifters, the mutants are freed from their restraints to combat the threat. The mutants deal with most of the D'Bari attackers, but Vuk arrives and heads for Jean, defeating each mutant who attempts to stop her. Xavier confers with Jean within his mind, allowing Jean's personality to gain control of the force within her. After forgiving Xavier, Jean saves the mutants from Vuk's attacks and the ensuing train wreck before proceeding to easily disintegrate the remaining D'Bari when they attack her. Vuk once again attempts to drain Jean of the force, but Jean takes Vuk into outer space, retakes the power that Vuk had received earlier, and then kills her. Jean then disappears in a burst of energy in the form of a phoenix.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Xavier's school is renamed the "Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters", and Hank becomes their new dean with Xavier having retired after decades of fighting for mutant rights. While settling himself in Paris, Xavier is reunited with Erik and reluctantly agrees to play a game of chess with him. As they start playing, a flaming phoenix appears in the sky.

CastEdit

The cast of Dark Phoenix promoting the film at the 2019 WonderCon. From top to bottom: Hoult, Turner, Sheridan, Shipp, Smit-McPhee, and Peters. (Scrollable image)
  • James McAvoy as Charles Xavier / Professor X:
    A mutant pacifist, he founded Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.[6] Many of the characters in the film turn against Xavier as some of his decisions regarding Jean Grey's abilities are revealed. Director Simon Kinberg felt that the character always acts out of concern for the "greater good," though he may make some "misguided" choices at times. Kinberg hoped that each character would come across as having "a valid point of view" in the film.[7]
  • Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto:
    A powerful mutant who can control magnetic fields and manipulate metal, he is Xavier's former best friend and often rival.[6] Magneto has formed a community of mutant refugees on the island of Genosha,[8] which Kinberg compared to Israel in it being a homeland where mutants can be safe.[9]
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme / Mystique:
    A shape-shifting mutant and Xavier's adopted sister.[6] Lawrence described her role in the film as more maternal than before, as she leads the younger X-Men.[10] The film continues growing the schism between Mystique and Xavier, with Mystique not approving of some of Xavier's methods, though Kinberg hoped that this would be more subtle in Dark Phoenix than in previous X-Men films. The film also sees the character change between appearing as Raven and Mystique more than previously, with each change having a specific meaning to the character and story. She continues to have feelings for Beast.[9]
  • Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy / Beast:
    A mutant with a beastly appearance and superhuman physical abilities. He is a teacher at Xavier's School and helps lead the younger X-Men. He continues to have feelings for Mystique.[6]
  • Sophie Turner as Jean Grey / Phoenix:
    An extremely powerful mutant with telepathic and telekinetic powers who is one of Xavier's most prized students.[6] The Phoenix entity is unleashed in the film, leading to a fight between the two personalities for control. Turner studied dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia for the role, particularly for scenes where she has to change from the vulnerable Jean to the confident Phoenix.[11] Kinberg said Turner has the lead role in the film, a first for the actress.[12] Summer Fontana portrays a young Jean Grey.
  • Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers / Cyclops:
    A mutant who fires concussive optic beams.[6] The film develops his relationship with Jean Grey, which director Simon Kinberg called "a huge part of the emotional core of the movie." This forces the character to become a leader in the film,[13] as he is the most prominent character who holds on to hope as Jean grows more unstable.[9]
  • Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe / Storm:
    An African mutant who can control the weather.[6]
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler:
    A German mutant who can teleport.[6]
  • Evan Peters as Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver:
    Magneto's mutant son who can move at superhuman speed.[14] Peters described the character as more mature and subdued in the film, being focused on using his abilities for good as a member of the X-Men.[15]
  • Jessica Chastain as Vuk:[16]
    The leader of a shape-shifting alien race known as the D'Bari who manipulates the Phoenix.[17][7] Kinberg described her as "the devil on Jean's shoulder,"[9] while Chastain called her character "clinical."[17] Chastain also plays Margaret Smith, the woman Vuk impersonates.

Additionally, Kota Eberhardt portrays telepath Selene Gallio, while Andrew Stehlin portrays Ariki, a mutant who can utilize his hair braids as a weapon; the character that was initially reported as Red Lotus.[7][18] Scott Shepherd and Hannah Anderson portray Jean's parents John and Elaine, respectively. Ato Essandoh appears as "Jones," one of Vuk's fellow D'Bari followers; Brian d'Arcy James appears as the President of the United States; and Lamar Johnson appears briefly as Match.[14] Halston Sage cameos as Dazzler in the character's first cinematic appearance.[19] Veteran X-Men writer Chris Claremont makes a cameo appearance as a crowd member during the scene when Xavier accepts his award for rescuing the space shuttle Endeavour crew.[20] Daniel Cudmore, who previously portrayed Colossus in the franchise, was announced to have a role, but did not appear.[21]

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

After joining the 2003 film X2, writer Zak Penn convinced director Bryan Singer not to adapt the Marvel Comics storyline "The Dark Phoenix Saga" for the film, believing it was "too soon to go into the Phoenix story and it was too soon to get cosmic."[22] The character of Jean Grey / Phoenix was instead explored "subtly", with the intention of the full story being adapted in the next film instead.[22][23] Singer did not return to direct the sequel, X-Men: The Last Stand, which was written by Penn and Simon Kinberg. They chose to adapt the "Dark Phoenix Saga" as only one of the film's "parallel storylines", with an executive at 20th Century Fox suggesting that the "Gifted" storyline also be in that film.[23] This version of the story was not well received by fans and critics. Kinberg stated that he and Penn were ultimately unhappy with how the adaptation turned out as well.[24]

After the timeline of the X-Men franchise was retconned with the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past, it was noted that a new adaptation of the "Dark Phoenix Saga" could be made that ignores the events of The Last Stand. Kinberg and Singer both expressed interest in the prospect, and hinted that 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse would set up elements for a retelling. Apocalypse introduces Sophie Turner as a young Jean Grey, and begins exploring "how powerful she is."[24] By April 2016, the sequel to Apocalypse was believed to indeed re-adapt "The Dark Phoenix Saga."[25] In May 2016, Kinberg said that the next X-Men film after Apocalypse would be set in the 1990s, advancing one decade, as had been done for each of the previous few X-Men films.[26] He also noted that Apocalypse had introduced younger versions of several characters from the original X-Men films to give them a new origin story—including Storm, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Jean Grey—with the intention of then exploring them in their own line of films. He added that he also hoped to see the cast of the previous trilogy of films return, namely James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto, and Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme / Mystique.[27]

In July, Kinberg said he would begin writing the next mainline X-Men film "real soon."[28] That November, Fox was said to be pressing "the reset button" on the franchise due to the financial and critical underperformance of Apocalypse, with the franchise being reconfigured and Singer not returning to direct the next film. McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult's contracts from the previous trilogy had ended, but Kinberg was optimistically writing the new script with them in mind.[29] It was rumored in February 2017 that the next film would be titled X-Men: Supernova, and would begin filming that June.[30] Also in February, Turner confirmed that she would return for the film.[31] Kinberg was believed to be interested in making his directorial debut with the film,[32] and was described as the top contender for the job with interest from Fox. The studio was also looking to negotiate new deals with Lawrence, Fassbender, McAvoy, and Hoult to return.[33] By the end of the month, Kinberg described reports that he may direct the film as "premature," but added that if he were to direct, he would not be daunted by the scale of the film due to his experience writing and producing many of the other X-Men films. He also reiterated that he would adapt "The Dark Phoenix Saga" differently to how he did for The Last Stand if given another opportunity to do so.[34]

Pre-productionEdit

Kinberg said at the start of March 2017 that he and producer Hutch Parker had begun early prep on the film, and that Supernova was just a code name they had been using for the sequel. He said that they began discussing the story for the film during post-production on Apocalypse, and that they wanted to do "something bold and radical and expand the universe in the same way that Logan feels bold and radical and certainly Deadpool does as well."[35] In pitching the film to the studio, Kinberg used real world imagery such as footage of disasters or lightning strikes, and focused on an organic and relevant approach as a response to criticisms of Apocalypse's heightened reality.[36] Fox officially titled the film Dark Phoenix in April 2017, and gave it a release date of November 2, 2018.[37] Fassbender indicated in May that he would be returning for the film,[38] and Parker soon hinted that a younger version of the character Rogue could appear, and that the film could possibly explore the cosmic elements of the "Dark Phoenix" storyline.[39][40]

In June 2017, the Shi'ar alien race was rumored to be featured in the film,[41] and Angelina Jolie was being looked at for a role, though she was not expected to accept the part. Jessica Chastain was also potentially being considered for the same character.[42] Fox confirmed that Kinberg would direct the film, and that McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence, and Hoult had all signed on to return for one more film. In addition to Turner, Apocalypse actors Alexandra Shipp, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smit-McPhee were also confirmed to be returning, while producers for the film were revealed to be Kinberg and Parker. At that time, Chastain was in talks to join the cast as Shi'ar Empress Lilandra, the film's villain. The film's script was said to "hew closer" to the original "Dark Phoenix Saga" by Chris Claremont and John Byrne than The Last Stand did.[6][43] Despite being initially listed as a producer, Lauren Shuler Donner had no involvement in the film and was only given credit due to contract terms.[44][45] It was later revealed that the character Dazzler would appear in the film, after being hinted at in a scene that was eventually deleted from Apocalypse.[46] Halston Sage was cast in the role in August 2017.[47] Singer was originally announced as being a producer on the film, but following allegations of sexual abuse against Singer, Kinberg stated that he was not involved in the film and his name would not be in the film's credits.[12]

According to Olivia Munn in September 2017, the movie was meant to be a two-parter.[48] Deadline Hollywood had reported that this was true and that the film was originally meant to be a two-parter but was condensed to one film in late pre-production by the studio and Kinberg had struggled to make major changes to the script.[49] The Shi'ar were left out because Kinberg felt that their appearance would draw attention away from Jean and said he would have kept them if the movie could have been four hours long.[50] The aliens then became Skrulls, but later, after reshoots, the D'Bari were chosen as the alien race.[51]

Daniel Orlandi returned as costume designer for the film after doing so on Logan,[9][52] and worked with Kinberg to come up with costumes for the X-Men that were closer to the original comic designs that Kinberg had wanted to see in the films since he first joined the franchise, but had never been in a position to control before. The final costumes for the film feature the yellow-and-blue design of the original comics, but combine features of designs from many different incarnations of the group. Kinberg also looked to Logan for general design inspiration, wanting to replicate the "naturalistic" and "handmade" quality of that film for the costumes, sets, props, and title design. He felt that this would give more impact to the large-scale elements of the film, and help it be more emotional, comparing this idea to the original Star Wars films.[9]

FilmingEdit

Principal photography began on June 28, 2017, in Montreal, Quebec,[6][53] under the working title Teen Spirit.[54] Mauro Fiore served as cinematographer.[55] Filming primarily took place at MELS Studios.[56] Before the end of the month, Evan Peters was set to reprise his role as "audience favorite" character Quicksilver from the previous films, and Lamar Johnson joined the cast in an undisclosed role.[14] At the start of August, Chastain confirmed her involvement in the film;[57] she was interested in the story, after turning down roles in other superhero films, due to its focus on female characters.[58] Kinberg said he wanted the film to be "human" and emotional like previous X-Men films, and that he was looking to ground the "Dark Phoenix Saga" story for his adaptation "so it's not too intergalactic."[59] He later clarified that the film would still include alien characters as in the comic storyline, an element that was ignored for the Last Stand adaptation but which he felt was integral to the story.[60][7] He also said that the film would tonally be less operatic than previous X-Men films, which he hoped would make it more relatable for audiences.[60] By September, Daniel Cudmore had stated that he would be appearing in the film, but could not confirm whether he would be reprising his role as Colossus from previous films in the franchise.[21] Chastain revealed that she was not actually playing Lilandra.[61] While Olivia Munn had initially said that she would reprise her role as Psylocke,[62] by February 2019, she revealed that she was unable to reprise her role due to scheduling conflicts with filming The Predator.[63] Filming was completed on October 14, 2017.[53][64]

Post-productionEdit

In December 2017, Kinberg revealed that the film would be in post-production for almost a year, longer than usual for the series, because he wanted to take the time to have the visual effects look right by focusing on the "nuance" of the effects rather than the scale.[65] He also explained that he "felt in his gut" that this was the story that he needed to tell once Singer left the franchise, and that his vision for the film was "so clear in my head, emotionally and visually, that it would have killed me to hand this to somebody else to direct." The film was described as being the most sinister and somber of the franchise, with McAvoy finding it to be the most emotional of the X-Men films he had worked on. It becomes a "fight for Jean's soul" and features a twist that was intended to have significant repercussions on the entire franchise.[66] Lawrence revealed that she had worked to convince Kinberg to direct the film, and had promised to return for it if he did so, despite her dislike of the make-up required to portray her character.[67] It was also revealed then that the film would introduce a version of the island Genosha, adapted to the film as a mutant refuge led by Magneto;[8] and that it would focus on the female characters more so than previous films in the series, particularly Jean Grey as both the hero and villain of the film, and Chastain's character, with whom Grey has a complex relationship.[58]

Fox delayed the film's release in March 2018, pushing it back from November 2, 2018 to February 14, 2019.[68] This was because Fox and Kinberg wanted to schedule some routine reshoots for the film after receiving feedback from audiences during a test screening, but were not able to get all of the necessary cast members together until August or September 2018. This would not have left enough time to complete post-production work such as visual effects for the additional footage before the November 2018 release date.[69] Specifically, Kinberg was looking to rework the third act of the film, and re-wrote part of the script ahead of the reshoots. With post-production already underway, the film was believed to have been under-budget, while the planned reshoots would cost less than $10 million. Additionally, Kinberg and the studio had been looking to change the film's release date for "some time" to avoid competing with the Christmas-oriented film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The new February release date was noted as having the film opening away from other major studio films, while placing it on President's Day weekend, which had proved to be successful for Deadpool and Marvel's Black Panther.[70] Addressing the reshoots, Kinberg confirmed the scheduling delays, and described the photography as a "normal" part of the film's creation that would allow him "enough time to have it ready and looking perfect."[71]

At the end of April, a Fox panel at the 2018 CinemaCon revealed the first logo for the film. It did not include "X-Men" in the title, but included a circle around the 'X' in Dark Phoenix which was compared to the X-Files logo;[72] the film was later confirmed to be simply titled Dark Phoenix in the United States, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix for release internationally.[9] By that August, the reshoots were expected to take place in Montreal over two-and-a-half weeks, though the Quebec Film and Television Bureau believed that these reshoots would take up to three months to complete, due to scheduling conflicts among the cast members.[56][73] The reshoots were set to take place at MTL Grandé studios since MELS Studios was reserved for another production during the reshoot period,[56] and had begun by August 31.[74] At the end of September, after the release of the film's first trailer, Fox again delayed the film's release, setting it for June 7, 2019. This date was seen as a better time to release the film in China, where the trailer received more attention than in the United States, while also allowing it to take advantage of premium screens that had previously been reserved for Fox's newly-delayed Gambit.[75] The move was also reportedly to appease James Cameron, who had Alita: Battle Angel moved from December to February and did not want competition from another Fox would-blockbuster; Kinberg and Dark Phoenix producers opposed the change.[76]

In January 2019, Lana Condor revealed that she was unable to return as Jubilee due to her commitment to the film To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018).[77] Lee Smith serves as editor for the film.[78] Visual effects were provided by MPC, MELS, Rising Sun Pictures, Rodeo FX, Scanline VFX and Soho VFX, with Phil Brennan serving as the main visual effects supervisor.[79]

MusicEdit

Evan Peters stated in January 2018 that Hans Zimmer was composing the score for the film,[80] despite Zimmer having said in March 2016 that he would not score another superhero film following his experience working on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[81] Zimmer later explained that in conversations with director Ron Howard he was convinced to not keep a "blanket" view, and to focus on waiting for the right story rather than avoiding an entire genre. When Kinberg approached him at a concert to talk about his vision for Dark Phoenix, Zimmer realized that the story was one that he wanted to help tell, and that the film was an opportunity for something that he had always wanted to try in a film score; he decided to join the production.[82]

On May 23, 2019, the track "Extraordinary Being" by Emeli Sandé was released as the official soundtrack.[83] The soundtrack was released digitally on June 7.

Dark Phoenix (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by
ReleasedJune 7, 2019 (2019-06-07)
GenreFilm score
Length67:55
LabelFox Music
Hans Zimmer chronology
Widows
(2018)
Dark Phoenix (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
(2019)
The Lion King
(2019)

Track listingEdit

No.TitleLength
1."Gap"8:07
2."Dark"4:27
3."Frameshift"8:15
4."Amity"5:52
5."Intimate"10:14
6."Negative"3:58
7."Deletion"4:51
8."Reckless"9:35
9."Insertion"7:56
10."Coda"4:40
Total length:67:55

MarketingEdit

 
(L:R) Writer-director Simon Kinberg, producer Hutch Parker, and stars Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Nicholas Hoult, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, and Kodi Smit-McPhee promoting Dark Phoenix at the 2019 WonderCon.

Turner revealed the first trailer for Dark Phoenix on The Late Late Show with James Corden on September 26, 2018, before Fox released it online. Responses to the trailer widely considered it to be too similar to X-Men: The Last Stand.[84] Graeme McMillan and Aaron Couch of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that this feeling could have been avoided if the trailer had shown more of the film's space and alien elements, which would have differentiated it from the Last Stand adaptation.[85] Scott Mendelson at Forbes called the trailer "dull," and said that its focusing on the characters rather than big effects or action was a risk by Fox, given that audiences have indicated through the box office numbers of X-Men: Apocalypse that they are not necessarily interested in this version of the X-Men characters.[86] The trailer was watched 8 million times within 24 hours on Fox's YouTube channel, but received 44 million views within that same time period across Chinese social media platforms, leading to Fox re-focusing their release plans on China.[75]

A second trailer was released on February 27, 2019, followed by a third and final trailer on April 17.

On March 2019, Vanity Fair had reported that the film faced promotional difficulties as long-term employees on the marketing team vacated as the result of lay-offs from the merger with Disney. They reported that a Fox marketing executive said: “We know when we are dropping a trailer, but we are nowhere near where we should be at this time. It’s frightening. I would be mad if I were a filmmaker.” [87] Similar reports were made after the film’s release, with The Hollywood Reporter stating that it resulted in the film having less awareness rates than any other film in the series based on a NRG tracking poll taken in May.[88] Deadline Hollywood also reported that they too heard of the marketing campaign being in disarray since February and cited it as a major factor to the film’s financial failure. They also report that Disney had attempted to integrated the film into their marketing but did not have enough time, which Simon Kinberg had confirmed in a KCRW podcast.[49] [89]

On May 23, 2019, the official video of the soundtrack Extraordinary Being by Emeli Sandé was released, showing moments from the film.[90]

An extended preview of the film was attached to IMAX screenings of Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

ReleaseEdit

Dark Phoenix was released in the United States on June 7, 2019. It was previously slated for November 2, 2018,[37] then rescheduled to be released on February 14, 2019,[68] before being pushed to June.[75] It is known as X-Men: Dark Phoenix for release in countries outside of the United States.[9] The film is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film held its world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on June 4, 2019.[91]

Dark Phoenix is scheduled to be released in the US on digital download by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (thus marking the first Fox title released by Disney on home media since the merger) on September 3, 2019, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD on September 17.[92]

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

As of July 21, 2019, Dark Phoenix has grossed $65.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $186.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $251.8 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, Dark Phoenix was released alongside The Secret Life of Pets 2, and was initially projected to gross $50–60 million from 3,721 theaters in its opening weekend, with the studio expecting a $40–50 million debut.[93][2] However, after making $14 million on its first day (including $5 million from Thursday night previews, the lowest X-Men total since The Wolverine's $4 million in 2013), projections were lowered to $34 million. It ended up debuting to $32.8 million, finishing second, behind The Secret Life of Pets 2. It was the lowest total of the franchise by $20 million and the first time an X-Men film did not top the box office the week of its release.[94] In its second weekend, the film fell 73% to $7.3 million, finishing fourth.[95] The following weekend the film was pulled from 1,667 theaters and made $3.5 million, finishing in tenth.[96]

In other territories, the film was projected to gross $120–135 million, including $50–60 million from China, for a global debut of around $170 million.[97] The film made $13 million on its first day in China (including previews). It ended up debuting to just $103.7 million internationally and $136.5 million worldwide. Its largest markets were China ($45.6 million), South Korea ($5.1 million), Mexico ($5 million) and the United Kingdom ($4.9 million).[98]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 23% based on 333 reviews, with an average rating of 4.61/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc – with deeply disappointing results."[99] It is the lowest-rated installment of the X-Men franchise on the website.[100] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100, based on 50 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[101] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale and those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 69% (with an average 3 out of 5 stars) and a 49% "definite recommend."[94]

Writing for TheWrap, William Bibbiani said of the film: "It would be wonderful to report that Dark Phoenix was an impressive send-off to this long-running franchise... Instead it's just a disappointingly average superhero flick, with a familiar story, disinterested actors, some cool action sequences, and a whole lot of missed opportunities."[102] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars and said, "It's hard to even rent an opinion on the discrete strengths and weaknesses of a franchise that has devolved to the point of Dark Phoenix, a lavishly brutal chore nearly as violent as the Wolverine movie Logan and a movie featuring more death by impalement and whirling metal than all the Saw movies put together."[103]

Matt Goldberg of Collider gave the film a grade of "D" and wrote, "When Marvel Studios inevitably reboots X-Men, a movie like Dark Phoenix will be a forgotten relic. The characters and their world deserve better, but we'll have to wait until their next evolution."[16] Kurt Loder of Reason magazine wrote, "There are several things wrong with Dark Phoenix. I'm tempted to say everything is wrong with it, except that the picture is largely in focus and the credits appear to be correctly spelled. Other than that, though..."[104] Rodrigo Perez of The Playlist said: "Its atrocious, expository dialogue, cumbersome plot, whiplashing character motivations, unintentionally funny moments, and often corny costumes, ensures, Dark Phoenix will be remembered in the annals of mediocre movies."[105]

Conversely, Variety's Owen Gleiberman summarized his positive review with, "The X-Men franchise wraps up...with a functionally plotted sequel that attains a note of ominous majesty, thanks to Sophie Turner's presence as an X-Woman consumed by the awesomeness of her power."[106]

Kinberg responded candidly about the film's negative reception, stating, "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."[107]

Cancelled sequels and potential rebootEdit

Kinberg initially said in May 2016 that he hoped Dark Phoenix would be the first in a new line of films focusing on the younger versions of the original X-Men characters.[27]

After the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney was announced in December 2017, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that any future X-Men films would be produced by Marvel Studios as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[108][109] In April 2019, Fox executive Emma Watts confirmed Dark Phoenix would be the last main installment in the Fox-produced X-Men series.[110][111]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit