Though touted as essentially the Avengers: Endgame of the X-Men cinematic universe, Dark Phoenix stumbled at the box office, opening to the worst numbers in the history of the franchise. The movie opened with $33 million this weekend, which puts it behind The Wolverine ($53 million) and the 2000 X-Men ($54 million), as well as the lowest-earning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Incredible Hulk ($55 million).
Deadline estimated that the film was likely to lose between $100 and $120 million after all is said and done, likely further hurt by disappointed reviews from critics and fans alike. It’s a grim end to the film’s fraught history — Dark Phoenix completed shooting in 2017, but was pushed from a March 2018 release to a February 2019 release after extensive post-production and an apparent changed ending. The film was then bumped again to 2019. This was all in the wake of Dark Phoenix’s predecessor, X-Men: Apocalypse, which premiered in 2016 to poor reception.
The potential for a phoenix to rise from the ashes, however, still remains, now that the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney has put the X-Men under the Marvel Studios’ guard. If nothing else, Marvel has shown itself capable of building a coherent ... well, cinematic universe, which, despite stellar entries like Logan, can’t be said to be true of Fox’s X-Men. The only question is how soon Disney will try to fold the heroes into the larger world it’s built.