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‘Dark Phoenix’ Director Simon Kinberg Says “Put It On Me” For Film’s Failures

Bruce Haring

For Simon Kinberg, the buck stops here when it comes to the failure of Dark Phoenix to live up to the commercial and critical success of previous films in the X-men franchise.

“I’m here and I’m saying when a movie doesn’t work, put it on me,” Kinberg said on the KCRW podcast The Business. “I’m the writer/director of the movie, the movie didn’t connect with audiences, that’s on me.”

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The film debuted last weekend and scored only $33 million at the US box office. At an estimated $200 million production cost before marketing, that’s trouble. Not helping is the critical reception, which registered 23 percent Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest score ever for an X-men movie.

A report from Anthony D’Alessandro in Deadline detailed the behind-the-scenes drama on the film’s production, including the shocking news that the film was originally set up as a two-parter, leading to reshoots and script changes that made a mess.

Despite the problems, Kinberg said he enjoyed working on the film, and takes heart from several industryites who have shared their experiences.

Kinberg cited a conversation with Ridley Scott from their work together on The Martian as something he takes comfort in. Scott said G.I. Jane was the favorite movie that he’s worked on instead of the expected AlienBlade RunnerThelma Louise or Gladiator.

“He said it was his favorite because it was just a great process and he learned a lot on the process of making it,” said Kinberg. “I’ve thought about that a lot over the years, and I thought about it a whole lot over the last weekend.”

Kinberg also received support from Tim Miller, with whom he worked on the first Deadpool.

“He wrote me an email having empathy for a movie that doesn’t work,” said Kinberg. “People will come to see the movie differently, and out of the context of this particular moment, see things in it they will appreciate and that he appreciated as a fan.”

Listen to Kinberg’s entire interview at KCRW’s “The Business.”

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