Simon Kinberg Blames Himself for ‘Dark Phoenix’ Box Office Bomb

“That’s on me,” writer-director says in radio interview

“Dark Phoenix” has ended the “X-Men” series with a thud at the box office, and writer-director Simon Kinberg says he blames himself for the film’s failure.

“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,” Kinberg told KCRW’s The Business.

Kinberg joined the “X-Men” film series as a writer on its third installment, 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand.” He went on to serve as the lead producer for the series during its soft reboot and the “Deadpool” films, as well as a writer on “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.” But “Dark Phoenix,” the final film to feature the X-Men before their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut, was his first film as a director.

There were many factors behind the failure of “Dark Phoenix,” including repeated release date changes, reported struggles with the film’s reshoots, a waning interest in the franchise thanks to a mix of past installments and Fox’s acquisition by Disney. Despite all of this and the fact that the film didn’t do well with audiences, Kinberg said that he’s still proud of the film.

“I loved making the movie, and I loved the people I made the movie with,” he said.

“Dark Phoenix” opened to a franchise-low $32.8 million last weekend and is estimated to fall 74% from that total in its second weekend with a total of around $8.4 million. That would give the blockbuster a 10-day domestic total of $53.5 million, lower than the $54.5 million that the first “X-Men” film made in its opening weekend in 2000.

As for Kinberg, he is moving on to direct the spy movie “355,” starring Jessica Chastain. He will also produce the reshoot-filled and long-delayed “The New Mutants,” which is set to be released in March, as well as any future “Deadpool” films that Disney will release through Fox.

The X-Men, meanwhile, will take a break before they join the likes of Black Panther and Spider-Man in the MCU, but Kinberg says he is looking forward to whatever comes next for them.

“I love these characters. I’ll be super excited to see what Marvel does with them,” he said.