X-Men: Dark Phoenix on Track to Earn Less Than $40 Million Opening Weekend

Early Friday box office estimates shared by Exhibitor Relations point to Dark Phoenix [...]

Early Friday box office estimates shared by Exhibitor Relations point to Dark Phoenix "flailing" with a less than $40 million opening weekend, an X-Men franchise worst.

Longtime franchise writer-producer and first-time director Simon Kinberg steers the ninth entry in the 19-year-old franchise, launched with the Bryan Singer-directed X-Men, which opened at $54 million in July 2000.

Ryan Reynolds-led X-Verse spinoffs Deadpool and Deadpool 2, which opened at $132m and $125m, respectively, hold the highest openings for the former Fox franchise.

2006's The Last Stand — which is rebooted in part with Dark Phoenix, which again explores Jean Grey's (Sophie Turner) corruption by the all-powerful Phoenix Force — holds the main entry franchise best opening of $102m. 2014's Days of Future Past is second at $90m, trailed by 2017's Logan ($88m), the swan song that starred franchise veterans Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart.

Following is 2003's X-Men United ($85.5m), first franchise spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($85.0m), 2016's Apocalypse ($65m) — the '80s-set installment first to introduce Turner's telepathic mutant and co-stars Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Kodi Smit-McPhee — and 2011's semi-reboot-slash-prequel First Class ($55m).

The previous lowest franchise opening was held by 2013 spinoff The Wolverine, centered around Jackman's metal-clawed mutant on an overseas adventure, which opened at $53m.

Another spinoff, the long-delayed New Mutants, could potentially be shuffled off to Disney-controlled Hulu if it doesn't meet its planned April 3, 2020 theatrical release date.

Disney, who acts as distributor on Dark Phoenix after inheriting the project following the close of its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox in March, is expected to reboot the franchise under its Marvel Studios banner and chief Kevin Feige.

Reynolds' Deadpool is poised to be the sole carryover when the X-Men brand officially joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which Feige says is still some years away.