“Dark Phoenix,” the film that closes out the current X-Men franchise, opened with $5 million in ticket sales Thursday night.
The 12th installment of the series and the first to be distributed by Disney is expected to have an opening weekend of $40 million to $50 million. The Thursday night numbers, while solid, come in below its predecessors; 2016’s “Apocalypse” took home $8.2 million during its opening night, and 2014’s “Days of Future Past” earned a similar $8.1 million. “Dark Phoenix” opened a bit below last weekend’s big release, “Godzilla: King of Monsters,” which took home $6.3 million last Thursday.
“Dark Phoenix’s” biggest competitor, Illumination’s “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” took in $2.3 million in previews from 3,250 theaters. It is, however, likely to draw strong family business and top the box office charts with an expected opening of $50 million to $55 million when it opens in 4,561 North American theaters this weekend. Its projected opening put its quite a bit behind its predecessor, which was a surprise hit and grossed $5.3 million at 3,009 theaters during its opening night.
“Dark Phoenix” is a direct sequel to 2016’s “X-Men: Apocalypse,” which premiered to $65 million and went on to earn $543 million in ticket sales worldwide. Longtime “X-Men” writer Simon Kinberg is making his directorial debut with the film, which centers on psychic mutant Jean Grey as she grapples with a cosmic force and new powers.
With a 23% Rotten Tomatoes rating, reviews have not been kind, and it has a hefty $200 million pricetag to overcome. “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” with a smaller but still sizable $80 million budget, features an all-star voice cast including Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Jenny Slate and Patton Oswalt, who replaced Louis C.K. after the comedian was removed from the film following allegations of sexual misconduct.
Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” had a $2.6 million Thursday night following a disappointing $49 million opening weekend.