In a new interview with KCRW, Dark Phoenix writer-director spoke about the potential box office failure of his X-Men movie.
“I’m here, I’m saying when a movie doesn’t work, put it on me. I’m the writer-director, the movie didn’t connect with audiences, that’s on me.”
“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,”
I think it’s refreshing to a point that Simon is taking some responsibility for audiences not connecting with the film, given he was the writer, producer, and director on the film he essentially had a lot of say and creative control over the project. I’m not really sure who else could exactly assume responsibility for the movie given how much weight he pulled on it.
However, the worrisome aspect here is that the first-time director somehow managed to arrange an impressive cast of Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, Edgar Ramirez, and Sebastian Stan. for his second film, an upcoming female-led spy movie titled 355.
Kinberg secured the project budgeted at around $75 million during the post-production of Dark Phoenix and made the announcement at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018.
I thought it was odd that a director without a feature film released was getting such a sweetheart project lined up before we’d had ever seen his directing abilities on display. It felt similar to when 20th Century Fox gifted Simon a $200 million budgeted studio film without any substantial directing credits to his name. Somehow without any solid directing experience or proven box office, he has talked people into letting him make these movies with larger than normal budgets while experienced directors struggle to get their projects made or fianced.
Dark Phoenix according to Deadline is on the path to be a box office bomb for 20th Century Fox, potentially losing $100-120 million (after a franchise-low $32.8 million domestic opening). The fallout of Dark Phoenix bombing won’t actually touch Kinberg himself, despite his words of personal responsibility in this recent interview, he actually won’t see any consequences professionally unlike many of his peers who normally only get one shot at making a big studio film and if it fails are rarely given a second studio project.
It’s hard to ignore the double-standard and privilege that Simon Kinberg gets to enjoy here while most female directors or directors of color normally never get another shot at a major motion picture after losing a studio $100 million (most never get to touch a movie with a budget of $100 million anyways) or much less than that. Then again, it’s Hollywood and we’ve seen plenty of white male directors fail upwards like Kinberg despite losing studios massive amounts of money without seeing any slow-down in future work. Professional fallout for box office losses only seems to pertain to a selective few, which seems to include folks like Simon.
Kinberg chugs along with his directing career despite the massive fumble as 355 will begin filming this summer.