Simon Kinberg takes the blame for 'Dark Phoenix' failure


• This weekend Dark Phoenix dropped 72% and only collected $9 million at the domestic box office. It's a disastrous drop for a film that cost $200 million to make and didn't even crack $30 million opening weekend.

• Simon Kinberg (writer, producer, and director of Dark Phoenix) sat down with THR and the KCRW podcast The Business to talk about the franchise, Bryan Singer, and offers his opinion on what went wrong.


• Kinberg takes the blame for the film's critical and commercial reception: "It clearly is a movie that didn't connect with audiences that didn't see it, it didn't connect enough with audiences that did see it. So that's on me."

• Kim Masters, THR editor and host of The Business, doesn't let the hard questions go unasked. She repeatedly and pointedly asks Kinberg about whether the toxic work environment that existed under X-Men and Fox mainstay Bryan Singer, had an impact on the unstable life of the franchise.

• Singer had a reputation for disappearing from sets in the middle of filming (despite that reputation, Fox kept hiring him to direct big blockbuster films for their studio). It's widely rumored that Singer disappeared from the set of X-Men: Apocalypse and Kinberg took over directing duties.

• Kinberg deflects and plays off Singer's unreliability by saying that Singer really believed in "collaboration" but he does not deny that he and other filmmakers had to be on hand to take over at a moment's notice.

• Of the allegations against Singer, Kinberg adds: "Not my business. Not something that I saw on set or in the workplace. Otherwise I would have felt like it was my business."

• Outlines the making of Dark Phoenix: Filming was complete in October 2017 and the film was set for a release date of November 2018

• The film was not budgeted for and did not have a planned date to do what Kinberg repeatedly calls "routine reshoots," so the film was pushed back and reshoots were scheduled for October 2018 a full year after filming was first complete. It was the only time the entire cast could set aside time to complete the film.

• The new release date was February 2019. But special effects would not be done by then and there are rumors that James Cameron wanted to move Alita: Battle Angel to February so the date was given to him. Dark Phoenix's final and official release date became June 7. 2019.

• Kinberg maintains that he made an intimate film, with dark themes that don't play well in the summer blockbuster season and would have played better in the fall.

• They discuss the Disney/Fox merger and while Kinberg says that Disney did their best they could marketing wise, Dark Phoenix could be seen as a victim of the merger. The deal took longer to close than anyone expected and this meant that many of the workers in Fox's marketing department who had worked on X-Men films before were laid off which left the film in marketing limbo.

• Talks about being friendly with Kevin Feige and working on the early X-Men films together. Knows his time with the X-Men franchise is up and knows nothing about the plans Feige has for the characters in the MCU. He says he's excited to see what Marvel does with them.


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