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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘DARK PHOENIX – The Beloved X-MEN Series Goes Up in Flames’

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In 2000, 20th Century Fox’s original X-Men hit theaters. It wasn’t necessarily the only catalyst in the comic book movie boom to come, but it was an important one. It was a proof of concept and demonstrated that as a medium, comic books could translate well to film.

19 years and 11 films later, Fox’s X-Men series has finally come to an end. Its sendoff—X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Like its titular character, Dark Phoenix is a stark turn for the franchise both in quality and in financial receipts. At 23% on Rotten Tomatoes it’s the worst reviewed of the films, even clearing the low bar set by the franchise’s previous turkey X-Men Origins: Wolverine (37%). 

Monetarily, the X-Men movies have been quite profitable, banking over $6 billionDark Phoenix’s contribution to that has been paltry.

In three weekends—the third may have been its last in theaters—it has banked just over $60 million domestically and just shy of $233 million worldwide (That’s less than half of the average per film contribution to the above total). For a film with a reported budget of $200 million, those numbers are staggering. As of now, the film is estimated to lose anywhere from $100 to $120 million. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a bomb. 

To put it in an alarming perspective, 2000’s X-Men grossed just over $157 million domestically. If you account for inflation, that would be over $262 million today or $200 million more than Fox’s final film.

What went wrong? Well, a number of things, truth be told. Multiple delays, reshoots, having to redeem Apocalypse, and the specter of Disney’s impending purchase could all account for the lack of enthusiasm. To me, though, Fox’s series had just run its course. Creatively it had exhausted itself, and rehashing a storyline that had already been done—2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand—didn’t help matters.

It was time; they just realized it too late. Thus, instead of riding off into the sunset with Logan, more so Days of Future Past for the entire team, they tried to carry the momentum forward. It backfired. These things happen. 

All that said, Fox has nothing to be ashamed of. Sure, they stumbled at the end, but they also gave use some of the finest entries in the comic book film universe. And that’s what I will remember most.

So sit back, grab a Two Brothers In the Dark Sour Ale (Somehow, Capt. Cash and I didn’t know there was a tie-in beer for this movie), hop aboard the crazy train with shape-shifting aliens, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Capt. Cash answer an urgent message from space.

This Weeks Segments:

  • Introduction – Our general reaction to the film, which covers our mutual distaste for its myriad of failings . (00:00)
  • Our Rankings – Capt. Cash and I break down all twelve films, ranking them in order from worst to first. (34:15)
  • High and Lows – As I’ve alluded to, Fox’s franchise gave us many great memories, so what are our takeaways—both good and bad—from their amazing two decade run. (1:01:50)
  • The X-Men in the MCU – What storylines would we like to see the House of Mouse adapt? (1:19:24)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—Kinberg’s enlightening interview and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops, as always, on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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Thomas L. Kelly

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