The news looked bad for Dark Phoenix after its Friday box office numbers were released, and it seems worse now. Experts claimed it was headed for an opening of about $35 million, but the film — the 12th movie in the X-Men franchise — wound up with even less than that.

According to estimates, the film earned $33 million in the U.S. in its opening weekend. That’s not only the worst debut for an X-Men movie in the 20-year history of the series, it’s the worst debut for an X-Men movie in the 20-year history of the series by $20 million dollars. The previous low was The Wolverine, which opened with $53.1 million in U.S. theaters in 2013.

Here’s the full list of domestic openings for X-Men movies, with the two Deadpools at the top, and lowly Dark Phoenix at the bottom:

  1. Deadpool - $132.4 million
  2. Deadpool 2 - $125.5 million
  3. X-Men: The Last Stand - $102.7 million
  4. X-Men: Days of Future Past - $90.8 million
  5. Logan - $88.4 million
  6. X2 - $85.5 million
  7. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - $85.0 million
  8. X-Men: Apocalypse - $65.7 million
  9. X-Men: First Class - $55.1 million
  10. X-Men - $54.4 million
  11. The Wolverine - $53.1 million
  12. Dark Phoenix - $33 million (estimated)

These numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation either. After you do that, these numbers look even worse. X-Men’s $54.4 million opening in 2000 becomes about $80.5 million in 2019 dollars. That means Dark Phoenix essentially made just over a third of what the original movie made 20 years ago. If that’s not a reason to let Marvel start the whole thing over from scratch in the MCU, I don’t know what is.

As for why the film has flopped so badly, my theory is that audiences felt (basically correctly!) that they had seen this movie before, as X-Men: The Last Stand. They might have also felt (basically correctly!) that it wasn’t so great the first time. So why it see it again?

Plus, in a world with Avengers: EndgameDark Phoenix just didn’t look all that special. It didn’t have a massive team-up of heroes, or a bunch of new characters people were dying to see, or even some particularly exciting special effects to draw people in. It all looked very familiar. And it’s tough to convince people to be excited for something they’ve already done.

Gallery — Every X-Men Movie Ranked:

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