Following the release of the first trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix earlier this week, there was finally some good buzz surrounding the upcoming movie that had previously been beset by troubling rumors and reports. Unfortunately, that was soured a little when it was announced that Fox was moving back its release date yet again. Whereas the film had previously settled into a February slot, it’s now been relocated to June 6th.
Apart from being frustrated that Dark Phoenix is four extra months away than we thought, fans have been curious to know the exact reason for the change in release date. Some were even suggesting that it could be telling that it was now arriving after Avengers 4. Could the X-Men finally be making it into the MCU ahead of the completion of the Disney/Fox deal?
Admittedly, this was always a long shot and a new report has now explained the thinking behind the decision. Variety says that the studio’s altering the releases of both Dark Phoenix and Robert Rodriguez’s manga adaptation Alita: Battle Angel in order to better capitalize on the lucrative Chinese box office. For instance, moving Alita from its original December drop to February will make it the first foreign film to be released around the Chinese New Year, which Variety reminds us is a “stronger play period” in the country.
As for Dark Phoenix, you just have to look at how well the trailer did over there to see why it’s in Fox’s best interests to hold out on releasing the movie. While the version uploaded to 20th Century Fox’s YouTube channel currently sits at 10 million, it accrued a whopping 44 million in just 24 hours in China. No wonder the studio’s keen to shift into the more typically financially-successful summer period.
While previous delays and production hiccups have been portrayed negatively, then, this one could actually be a good thing, as it intimates that Fox has a lot more faith in X-Men: Dark Phoenix now than they initially did. Plus, assuming The New Mutants sticks with its August release, it means that we’ll have two X-Men movies in the span of two months.