Disney “Largely Ignored” X-Men: Dark Phoenix After Fox Acquisition

As if the final X-Men movie, the generally unloved Dark Phoenix, didn't have enough problems.

If you thought you’d heard the last of Dark Phoenix‘s rocky road to cinemas, think again. After being hit with an objectively terrible reception from both critics and audiences alike, Fox’s final X-Men outing is still getting dragged through the mud.

It emerged at the start of August that X-Men: Dark Phoenix was one of the key reasons that Fox lost $170 million in the second quarter of 2019, and a new report reveals that Simon Kinberg’s X-Men swan song was likely DOA before it was even released, with Disney dumping the film’s marketing team, and putting in as little effort as possible to support the film.

Per Variety, “Disney largely ignored Dark Phoenix after it acquired 20th Century in March, according to sources. The marketing team familiar with the film was laid off, and Disney did not spend as aggressively to promote the release. One insider says that the film’s lone premiere in Los Angeles was done with an eye to controlling cost — a bit of economizing that annoyed the film’s creative team.”

Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock noted the studio’s recent box office performance as pretty dismal, whatever the weather, with Stuber and The Art Of Racing In The Rain both flopping at cinemas this summer. Despite Disney sweeping the Fox slate broadly off the table going forward, he says Fox are lucky to have been acquired in the first place.

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“If Disney hadn’t bought Fox and they were just going along with business as usual, there’d still be layoffs and there’d be a For Sale sign on the lot,” he said. “There’s no way they’d have been able to survive in this climate.”

It’s a work in progress for Disney, who are committed to making its Fox purchase worthwhile.

“It will probably take a solid year, maybe two years, before we can have an impact on the films in production,” Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted in his quarterly earnings call to analysts earlier this month, adding “We’re all confident we’re going to turn around the results of Fox live action.”

Disney is set to concentrate on James Cameron’s Avatar sequels as its Fox tentpoles in the coming years, and has confirmed that the Planet of the Apes franchise is also of interest.

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