‘Dark Phoenix’ is the worst-reviewed ‘X-Men’ movie of all time, but the international box office could save it

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“Dark Phoenix.”
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Fox

  • “Dark Phoenix” has the worst Rotten Tomatoes score of any “X-Men” movie ever, but if the franchise trend continues, that might not matter when it comes to box-office performance.
  • Outside of three titles (the first two “X-Men” releases and “X-Men: The Last Stand”), every other “X-Men” release has made more money internationally than it did domestically.
  • It has likely played a major factor in the length of the franchise.
  • And if “Dark Phoenix” does the same, it may make Disney (the new owner of the intellectual property following its acquisition of Fox) have to speed up its plans to release future titles in the franchise.
  • Here’s a breakdown of how all nine “X-Men” movies have performed at the international box office.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Dark Phoenix,” the 10th movie in the “X-Men” franchise, is the worst-reviewed movie in the 20-year history of theatrical releases of the Marvel characters.

The general thinking is that it’s finally time to take a break from these superheroes, especially seeing as they are now owned by Disney following the studio’s acquisition of Fox (which had the rights to the intellectual property) and it will take time to implement them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But that might not be so easy if the box office for “Dark Phoenix” continues the trend of the franchise.

Though audiences (and critics) domestically have “X-Men” fatigue, internationally it’s a different story.

Outside of three “X-Men” movies, the rest have performed better internationally than domestically. That’s a huge reason why a studio will continue a franchise – it’s why “Terminator” movies keep getting made. With the production budgets of most of these movies at more than $100 million (only two, “X-Men” and “Logan,” were under that mark), international sales play a big part in making money off the IP.

If “Dark Phoenix” does the same, it may force Disney to speed up plans to get another “X-Men” movie out to moviegoers (or actually release “The New Mutants” in 2020, the current release date for the next title, which has been delayed to theaters numerous times).

Here’s a breakdown of the international box-office grosses for the nine “X-Men” movies, from worst to best. (We’ve intentionally left the “Deadpool” movies off the list; don’t worry, he won’t mind.)

Note: All grosses are taken from Box Office Mojo.


“X-Men” (2000) — $139 million

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Fox

Domestic: $157.2 million

Budget: $75 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%


“X2: X-Men United” (2003) — $192.7 million

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Fox

Domestic: $214.9 million

Budget: $110 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%


“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009) — $193.1 million

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Fox

Domestic: $179.8 million

Budget: $150 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 37%


“X-Men: First Class” (2011) — $207.2 million

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20th Century Fox

Domestic: $146.4 million

Budget: $160 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%


“X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006) — $224.9 million

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Fox

Domestic: $234.3 million

Budget: $210 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 58%


“The Wolverine” (2013) — $282.2 million

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Fox

Domestic: $132.5 million

Budget: $120 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%


“X-Men: Apocalypse” (2016) — $388.4 million

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20th Century Fox

Domestic: $155.4 million

Budget: $178 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 47%


“Logan” (2017) — $392.7 million

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Fox

Domestic: $226.2 million

Budget: $97 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%


“X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014) — $513.9 million

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Fox

Domestic: $233.9 million

Budget: $200 million

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%