‘Dark Phoenix’ Originally Planned as Two Movies, Fox CEO Forced Deadly Summer Release — Report

IndieWire | 11/2/2018 | Staff
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“Dark Phoenix” opened in theaters nationwide June 7 and ended the 19-year-old “X-Men” movie franchise at rock bottom. With just $33 million at the box office over its debut weekend, “Dark Phoenix” is the lowest opener of the franchise and, according to IndieWire’s box office expert Tom Brueggemann, will most likely finish its run with a total domestic gross that is lower than the opening weekends of several previous “X-Men” movies. A new report from Deadline details the behind-the-scenes drama that led to the “Dark Phoenix” disaster and reveals the film was originally set up as a two-parter.

The latest “X-Men” movie is based on one of the franchise’s most famous comic book storylines, one writer-director Simon Kinberg wanted to adapt faithfully after botching the first “Dark Phoenix” movie adaptation as co-writer of 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand.” The events of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” rebooted the film franchise’s timeline and allowed the Dark Phoenix story to get another go-around. Deadline reports Kinberg was planning a two-part “Dark Phoenix” movie in pre-production before 20th Century Fox changed its mind and ordered just one movie. Kinberg re-wrote the script to accommodate the change.

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As has been previously reported, Kinberg’s original movie changed significantly in reshoots. Fox used test screenings to help determine which parts of the film needed to be reworked and it was Kinberg’s ending that changed the most. In one cut of the film Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey reportedly died, but creatives went back on that decision because it was not well received by test audiences. Kinberg also originally shot a more intimate ending in which Jessica Chastain’s villainous Vuk faced off against Jean, Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). Test audiences preferred to see all...
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