“Dark Phoenix,” the latest X-Men film, made $5 million on its opening night Thursday. According to analysts, the superhero film is projected to have an opening in the $40 million to $50 million range at the box office this weekend.
That may not be enough to beat out “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” however.
Universal’s animated film, which includes the voice work of Patton Oswalt and Kevin Hart, is expected to make around $50 million this weekend. It made $2.3 million on Thursday night.
The original “Secret Life of Pets” was one of the most surprising blockbusters of 2016. Analysts expected a $60 million opening, but it premiered at $104 million before going on to make more than $875 million worldwide.
Erik Davis, a correspondent for Fandango, told CNN Business that the original “Pets” worked so well because of its appeal to both children and pet owners. He predicts the sequel will once again bring in a big weekend at the box office.
“It’s hard to compete with a major family film in the summer months, even when you’re going up against superheroes,” Davis said.
“Dark Phoenix” is the next chapter in the “X-Men” film franchise. The last 11 films in the series, which includes the popular “Wolverine” and “Deadpool” movies, have made more than $5.7 billion globally since 2000, according to Comscore.
The latest film centers around Jean Grey, a superhero played by “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner. But the movie has been hammered by critics, and holds a meager 23% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
“It’s hard to say whether reviews will hurt ‘Dark Phoenix.’ These types of films are typically ‘critic-proof,'” Davis said. “X-Men movies have been around for almost 20 years now so audiences already know what to expect going in.”
The X-Men franchise as we know it now is coming to a close. Disney acquired it as part of a $71 billion deal for most of 21st Century Fox’s assetsearlier this year.
Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, believes the acquisition could breathe new life into the “X-Men” brand with it now likely being brought under Disney’s Marvel Studios umbrella.
“With Disney and Marvel in full control going forward, we should expect a blank canvas after ‘Dark Phoenix,'” Robbins told CNN Business. “There are plenty of avenues at their disposal but, above all, the priority should be for the studio to exercise patience in developing an organic story that will reintroduce the characters in as fresh and relevant of a way as possible.”