Right now, Dark Phoenix isn’t looking too good. Due to the Disney/Fox merger, it’s almost certainly going to be the final mainline X-Men film since the series began way back in 2000. On top of that, it’s also been beset by bad publicity, with the movie having gone through extensive reshoots, tested terribly with audiences and had its release date pushed back several times. On top of all that, the trailers look pretty unimpressive.
Now, we’re hearing that the film’s being hampered by key Fox personnel leaving the company in advance of the merger. Vanity Fair’s reporting that “anxiety is running high on the Fox lot,” as employees there wonder if they’ll have a job after this merger goes through. After all, if the stuff you’re doing is already being done by someone at Disney, what reason would they have to keep you on?
The article claims that the knock-on effects of this deal could see between 4,000 and 10,000 jobs being lost at Fox, and some people are now jumping before they’re pushed.
In the middle of February, Fox’s marketing and distribution departments gathered with the filmmakers of Dark Phoenix, the latest X-Men instalment from producer-director Simon Kinberg, to lay out their plans for the film’s June release. It was a typical meeting. Ad buys were discussed, and the publicity tour for the film’s stars, including Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jessica Chastain, was laid out. But it was still disconcerting, both because of all the new faces in the room—a handful of high-end consultants have been hired temporarily to fill the jobs recently vacated by long-term employees—and because of the ad hoc approach the Fox marketing team was taking toward the film’s release, four months away.
This amount of change seems to have caused some grave concerns about the movie’s release, with Vanity Fair reporting that a marketing executive who attended the meeting said the following:
“We know when we are dropping a trailer, but we are nowhere near where we should be at this time. It’s frightening. I would be mad if I were a filmmaker. … “Nobody has come around and said, ‘This is what’s going on.’ Why can’t they just tell us that there is no place for us? Why can’t they let anyone know? We are not leaving because we didn’t make money for the company or we did a bad job. We are leaving because of pure capitalism.”
Another attendee put it more bluntly, saying:
“What’s not normal is the elephant in the room, which is that most people there are not going to be the people that are still in the job when the movie opens.”
At this point, it seems doubtful that Dark Phoenix is going to be either a commercial or critical success, which is a sad way for the franchise that arguably birthed the modern superhero template to go out. With other projects like The New Mutants similarly on hold, I’m betting that X-Men: Dark Phoenix is going to be released to collective shrugs and end up quickly swept away by the bigger blockbusters around it.
Source: Vanity Fair