Telling compelling stories with characters true to their comic book form was the last thing on the production team’s mind at 20th Century Fox with the release of X-Men Dark Phoenix. It was a lazy, uninteresting movie that cobbled together a retelling of the comic book saga focusing on the Dark Phoenix (Jean Grey) with a $200 million budget (not including marketing) and an all-star cast. However, the early warning signs of the movie being woke turned off the die-hard fans, and the critics lambasting the film for not being woke enough turned off the casual Lefties, leaving a nonchalant middle-ground of consumers who also decided not to take Fox’s bait, which resulted in it bombing at the box office.
According to The Wrap the film tanked at the box office, coming up short of breaking even, and being even further off from posting a profit. The films poor performance both domestically (where it accrued $65.8 million) and internationally (where it took in $252 million) weren’t enough to compensate for the production budget plus the marketing, where a film needs to double what was required to make it in order to skate by the break-even mark, and it needs to double that to be considered a startling success.
That didn’t happen with Dark Phoenix.
The film contributed to a $170 million operating loss for the Fox film business, with Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, explaining to investors…
“One of the biggest issues we faced in the quarter was the performance of the Fox film business. It was well below what it had been and well below what we thought it would be when we did the acquisition.” […]
“I know what happens when a company gets bought. Typically operations and decision making comes to a halt. We avoided that when we acquired Pixar and Lucasfilm, but this was a very different position for Fox.”
Well before Disney made the news official, Dark Phoenix was on a trajectory for crashing and burning at the box office when it practically bombed right out of the gate.
A lot of people try to dismiss the “woke” aspects of a film contributing to its poor performance at the box office, but it all ties together as to what could have made the film better had it not been woke.
For instance, it wasn’t like Ghostbusters 2016 was spouting feminist ideology every other line for it to be woke. It was the fact that it was built around feminist ideology and had a marketing campaign that was basically Misandry 101 that made it woke.
In the case of Dark Phoenix, the film itself wasn’t knee deep in the gender identity politics like some films, but it was still enough to make potential moviegoers groan with the tedium-induced exasperation that comes from all this culture war nonsense.
While Centrists™ will attempt to argue that “The film wasn’t woke, though!” the reality speaks differently. A good example is that Jennifer Lawrence’s rendition of Mystique was given a lot more of a heroic role as the series progressed than what her character was in the comic. They basically turned her into a chivalrous member of the team instead of being the anti-villain that she was supposed to be. This was pushed to a laughable degree when they had her lecture Charles Xavier about woman power and turning the X-Men into the X-Women.
Changing the characters, reorienting the direction of the story, and sacrificing plot continuity to either promote a certain kind of ideological stance or avoid certain tropes is exactly what “getting woke” means.
In the case of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, they could have told a more comic accurate tale but it would have likely needed to stretch across two films, it would have required the excision of Mystique’s heroism, and it would have required a more honest portrayal of the Dark Phoenix saga, something Fox nor Simon Kinberg were unwilling to commit to, and they paid the price for it.
No worries, though, X-Men: Dark Phoenix decided to get woke and in result in went broke. It’s now just one of many properties that have been added to the ever-growing Get Woke; Go Broke Master List.
(Thanks for the news tip WhiteGuitarBoy)