‘Dark Phoenix’ director reveals what he learned from the box office bomb


Not to sound too harsh, but Simon Kinberg’s feature-length directorial career hasn’t exactly gotten off to the strongest of starts.

Having been a key part of the X-Men franchise dating back to The Last Stand, the writer and producer ended up stepping behind the camera to helm Dark Phoenix, which wound up bombing at the box office to become the lowest-grossing entry in the series not named The New Mutants, while it’s also the worst-reviewed installment on Rotten Tomatoes.

His next project suffered a similarly unwanted fate, with action thriller The 355 going down in the history books as the first major flop of 2022, but Kinberg doesn’t seem to have been deterred or dismayed by the performance of his first two movies.

Speaking to DiscussingFilm, he explained what he learned diving in at the deep end to take the reins on a $200 million superhero blockbuster for his first film as a director, and how it’s going to serve him in the future.

“I learned a lot from that first time directing, you learn a lot from the first time you do anything, I mean, the lessons would be too long for this conversation. But I learned a lot beyond just the directing and the editing of the movie, I learned a lot about, you know, the marketing of the movie, I learned a lot about dating and distribution and things that I thought I knew everything about from producing. When you’re a director, you’re just a little bit more immersed in the marketing process, creatively.

So what I learned from Dark Phoenix, that I brought to this, was just to really make sure that there’s no category, department, or aspect of the movie that you take for granted. As a director, because there’s so many people that are working at the same time trying to fulfill your vision, you can take for granted some things. If you don’t keep an eye on as much as you can possibly keep an eye on, you’ll end up with compromised versions of your vision.”

Kinberg has plenty of projects bubbling away in development from a producorial perspective, but as of yet the Academy Award nominee hasn’t settled on his next effort wielding the megaphone. Based on how his first pair of movies performed, let’s hope third time marks the charm.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.