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X-Men co-creator shares theory on why Dark Phoenix failed

Chris Claremont says film not 'ideal'

Clémence Michallon
New York
Wednesday 19 June 2019 14:40 BST
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X-Men co-creator Chris Claremont on why Dark Phoenix failed

A Marvel writer who co-created many X-Men characters has shared his impressions on the Dark Phoenix movie, shedding some light on the film’s box office failure.

Dark Phoenix, which stars Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, is based on Marvel’s Dark Phoenix Saga, written by Chris Claremont.

The film was on track to lose between $100m and $120m at the box office as of 9 June according to Deadline, which said the movie had cost an estimated $350m.

Asked to elaborate on his feelings regarding Dark Phoenix, Claremont told the Popcorn Talk podcast: ”It’s complicated. None of this occurs in a vacuum. ... The film, especially in terms of when it was released and what it was released against, ended up as the third leg of what is actually a quartet of major Marvel releases this year.

“First you had Captain Marvel, then you had Avengers Endgame, then you had Dark Phoenix, and ... Spiderman [Far From Home]. So suddenly it’s boom, boom, boom, boom instead of a single boom, and that makes any analysis of the film and how it related to the original concept and how it related to the film’s original concept significantly more complicated.”

Claremont credited Turner for her “spectacular job” and said he had “no problems with anything that Sophie or the rest of the cast did”.

“It’s just that in just sheer weight of numbers, what did X-Men: Dark Phoenix have? It had Sophie. And what did Avengers have? Twenty-eight A-list stars,” he added.

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The writer called the movie a “complicated situation” and continued: “I think the film that [director Simon Kinberg​] ended up making especially given the superb talent at his disposal was a very successful, enjoyable, positive good project. Is it an ideal? No.

“I mean, if I wanted to be an idealist, I would say, you know, set me and [Claremont’s colleague John Byrne] down. I’ll write the outline of the screenplay, he’ll write the storyboards and take it from there. But that’s not reality anywhere along the line in LA.”

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