'Dark Phoenix' Director Takes Blame for X-Men Movie Bombing at the Box Office: 'That's on Me'

The latest X-Men film was released on June 7 but failed to connect with audiences

Dark Phoenix wasn’t a hit with critics, or with audiences, and the film’s writer and director is taking full responsibility.

“It’s not gonna kill me to talk about it,” Simon Kinberg shared on last week’s episode of KCRW’s The Business podcast, adding, “I actually really like the movie.”

The film, which was released on June 7, earned $33 million on its opening weekend, and went on to gross just $9 million during its second week, according to IndieWire.

“This weekend for me was certainly more disappointing then I’d anticipated, but I was anticipating or bracing for a tough weekend,” Kinberg, who has worked on the X-Men franchise since 2006, shared. “I’d always felt like we had a tough date for this particular movie.”

Opening up about some of the problems the film faced, Kinberg shared that it “wasn’t made as a classic superhero movie,” nor was the film, which was originally supposed to be released in November, made to be a summer blockbuster.

Doane Gregory

Another factor that didn’t help was the smashing success of Avengers: Endgame, which is currently the second highest-grossing film of all time.

“Coming out 5-6 weeks after what will be the biggest, or second biggest movie in the history of cinema that happens to also be in the genre of superheroes was tough for us,” he added.

“But I wouldn’t blame it on the weekend, like it clearly is a movie that didn’t connect,” he shared. “That’s on me.”

Simon Kinberg
Simon Kinberg. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

While reflecting on the film’s performance, Kinberg shared that sometimes directors’ favorite movies to work on aren’t the ones that end up being the most successful.

“I remember I had this conversation with Ridley Scott when we were in China doing promotion for The Martian, and I asked him what his favorite movie was that he’d worked on and he said G.I. Jane. I kind of thought he was kidding because obviously that movie is not as successful as Alien or Blade Runner or all of his masterpieces. And he said it was his favorite because It was just a great process and he learned a lot,” he shared. “I’ve thought a lot about that over the years, and I’ve thought about it a whole lot over the last weekend.”

Asked whether there was one concrete thing Kinberg could point to, he shared that he didn’t believe “there was a singular mistake.”

“I think the combination or pile up of challenges that this movie went through led to a really disappointing weekend,” he explained.

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One of those challenges was likely that the film was also forced to scrap its original ending because it was too similar to another superhero film.

“The end changed a hell of a lot,” James McAvoy, who plays Professor X, recently told Yahoo Movies UK when asked about the extensive reshoots that delayed the film’s release by a year. “The finale had to change. There was a lot of overlap and parallels with another superhero movie that came out… a while ago. And we had no idea that we were…”

His costar Michael Fassbender, who plays Magneto, jokingly quipped, “They had spies on set and [they] basically stole our idea.”

Dark Phoenix is now playing.

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