Dark Phoenix has finally hit up theaters, and well — you probably haven’t seen it. The superhero flick acts as the final 20th Century Fox flick to feature the X-Men, but its dismal box office haul shows few are interested in supporting the brand nowadays. And as it turns out, executives were iffy enough on the movie to put Alita: Battle Angel before it.
Recently, The Hollywood Reporter did a breakdown of what went wrong with Dark Phoenix, and it was there the trade said Dark Phoenix pushed its former February release date to June to appease anime’s own Alita.
“Insiders tell THR that the move was to placate James Cameron, Fox’s most important filmmaker, and his concerns for his movie, Alita: Battle Angel. According to one source, Cameron felt Alita would lose horribly when facing a December opening weekend that included Aquaman and Bumblebee, with Mary Poppins Returns opening up two days earlier,” THR reports.
Continuing, the piece says Cameron was Alita: Battle Angel to shift its release date to February since it was less competitive. The only issue was that Dark Phoenix would be stealing some promo time during that window, and Cameron pushed for Alita to take the February slot while X-Men went to the summer.
“[Producers] Emma, Hutch, and Simon begged her [Stacy Snider] not [to] do it.”
There is no telling how Dark Phoenix may have fared if it has kept its February release, but Alita: Battle Angel did have more run time to gross big thanks to its move. Its opening weekend hauled in about $33.5 million domestically, and its worldwide total rests at $404 million. Now, it is time for Dark Phoenix to spread its wings and push its own $33 million domestic opening as far as it will go.
So, are you surprised anime got the jump over X-Men at the box office? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!
Battle Angel Alita (known as GUNNM in Japan) was originally created by Yukito Kishiro for Shueisha's Weekly Business Jump in 1990. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic future and follows Alita, a cyborg who is found in a garbage heap by a doctor and rebuilt. Completely devoid of her memory, all she has to cling to is a legendary cyborg martial art known as Panzer Kunst. With this knowledge, Alita decides to become a bounty hunter. The series has since been licensed for an English language release by Viz Media, and collected into nine volumes.