Much was said about the failure of Dark Phoenix, with June’s final X-Men movie turning out to be the lowest-grossing entry in the franchise by some margin. Disney is also known to be unhappy with its performance, something that’s likely not going to help the chances of The New Mutants, due for release next April.
However, it sounds like the studio only has themselves to blame for DP flopping. Variety reports that Disney slashed Fox’s marketing and promotional budget by $50 million once they took over after the acquisition. What’s more, they also fired the marketing team that knew the movie well and were prepared for the job. It’s said that DP’s solo Los Angeles premiere event was also done to cut back on costs, which naturally annoyed the filmmakers.
Who knows how much these decisions affected Dark Phoenix‘s take-in, though it has to be said that there was a generally lackluster reception to the film before its release anyway. Fans were left unimpressed with the trailers, and even with its core concept – the Dark Phoenix Saga was previously tackled back in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. All the bad press that came from the extensive reshoots, which removed cool-sounding things like the Skrulls and a big final showdown in space to avoid comparison with Captain Marvel, didn’t help matters, either.
What is for sure is that, as a result of Dark Phoenix‘s underwhelming gross and the similar underperformance of other inherited movies, Disney will be clamping down on Fox’s output from now on, with a number of once-promising projects already consigned to the scrap-heap. As for the X-Men themselves, Marvel Studios have now swallowed up the rights to the Children of the Atom and the Fantastic Four, with reboots on the way in a few years’ time.