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‘Dark Phoenix’ Director Simon Kinberg Says He's At Fault; Deadline article says movie was original supposed to be two-parter

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“I’m here and I’m saying when a movie doesn’t work, put it on me,” Kinberg said on the KCRW podcast The Business. “I’m the writer/director of the movie, the movie didn’t connect with audiences, that’s on me.”


The film debuted last weekend and scored only $33 million at the US box office. At an estimated $200 million production cost before marketing, that’s trouble. Not helping is the critical reception, which registered 23 percent Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest score ever for an X-men movie.



Despite the problems, Kinberg said he enjoyed working on the film, and takes heart from several industryites who have shared their experiences.


So what went wrong leading up to the film? *spoilers*



Now, for quite some time, the last two Bryan Singer X-Men movies (Days of Future Past and Apocalypse) and even 2009’s Wolverine: X-Men Origins have been Frankenstein-ed together during their last phases of production. Richard Donner reportedly finished Wolverine, while the village-effort of producer Hutch Parker, producer/scribe Simon Kinberg (both not available for comment on this piece), DP Newton Thomas Sigel, and editor/composer John Ottman picked up the huge slack on Days of Future Past and Apocalypse whenever Singer would reportedly go AWOL from the set. 



Now, Dark Phoenix was originally planned to be two movies, we hear, and during late pre-production, the studio changed gears and said it was to be one movie. Kinberg, we hear, was flexible and rewrote. Days of Future Past erased the timeline of The Last Stand, so a rebooted story about Jean Grey was possible here.



The odor on Dark Phoenix became more toxic after the studio pushed the film back again from Feb. 14 to June 7 — and this was two days after they dropped the second trailer, which screamed out the release date of Feb. 14! Not only did that confuse fans, but it really sent the message that Dark Phoenix could be a potential turd.


First off, the movie was never intended to be a summer film. Dark Phoenix is darker and more psychologically complex than other X-Men movies. It was always seen as an off-season release, and the original plan was to get out ahead of Captain Marvel (March 8) and be the first female-led Marvel movie.



I understand in meetings, some marketing execs didn’t even realize the release date changes on Dark Phoenix, and weren’t cognizant of the fact that the film was opening up against another franchise this weekend (i.e. Secret Life of Pets 2). Says one source, “They never brought it up in meetings that we were on the same date.” Another bashed the marketing materials: “Sophie Turner is a beautiful actress, and they never showed that in any of the marketing materials. Instead, they made her look like a zombie.”


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