Los Angeles — After nearly 20 years and a dozen films, the current manifestation of X-Men movies is going out with a whimper.
Scorched by poor reviews, the $200 million "Dark Phoenix" earned a franchise low of $33 million from 3,721 North American locations over the weekend for a second place finish, according to studio estimates Sunday. First place went instead to "The Secret Life of Pets 2."
The Universal Pictures and Illumination sequel, featuring the voices of Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and Harrison Ford in his first animated role, grossed an estimated $47.1 million in ticket sales. Although less than half of what the first film opened to in 2016, it's still a major win for the studio, considering the production budget was around $80 million. Including international grosses, its global total is already sitting at $97 million.
With decidedly less stellar results, "Dark Phoenix" trailed behind the talking animals. Directed by longtime X-Men scribe Simon Kinberg, it focuses on Jean Grey who is played by Sophie Turner fresh off of her "Game of Thrones" run as Sansa Stark. It also brings back James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. It's the de facto conclusion to the modern X-Men movies that started in 2000, and also the first major 20th Century Fox film to be released by the Walt Disney Co. following the acquisition.
But the quality wasn't there and it scored even worse reviews overall than the widely-disparaged "X-Men: Apocalypse." Audiences who showed up seemed to concur with the critics, giving it a deadly B- CinemaScore.
"Secret Life of Pets 2" releases in SA cinemas on 28 March, while made its debut on Friday.