DARK PHOENIX's Date Change, Dropping X-MEN From Title Explained

Dark Phoenix
Credit: 20th Century Fox
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Dark Phoenix writer/director Simon Kinberg says the changes the film has undergone since the release of the first trailer - including a change in release date, and dropping "X-Men" from the title, have good reasons - even if some of them didn't come across the way he wanted.

“Some of the trailers had ‘Coming Soon’ on them and some of them said ‘February 14th’," Kinberg told Collider of the altered release date, which moved from February 14, 2019 to June 7, 2019 just one day after the trailer went out. "It was a date, February 14th, that we initially liked for the movie but when we realized that we weren’t gonna have the visual effects ready to release it globally the way we wanted to, and the Gambit date opened up because it wasn’t gonna be ready for that June 7th date. We looked at that date versus the February 14th date, the studio did and we did, we felt like that June date was a bigger opportunity for us globally. More screens, more IMAX screens, a better chance to play in China where these movies have a massive following. What we found when we released the trailer was that 44, 45 million views of the trailer were in China alone… Specific for us, it is an opportunity to be a bigger movie day-and-date globally.”

“In terms of the trailer release, it certainly probably shouldn’t have said 2/14 on it," Kinberg admitted. "But the audience - and certainly I know this because I live online as much as anybody - people wanted to see something from the movie, and it was time to share something from the movie. So I would’ve still released a teaser when we released it, I just would’ve put ‘Coming Soon’ on the end of it or I would’ve put ‘June 7th’, though we hadn’t made that decision [at the time].”

As for the film dropping 'X-Men' from its title, Kinberg says the goal is to separate the film from the other entries in the X-Men franchise and showcase the character-driven nature of the story.

“I wanted to call it Dark Phoenix in, again, very much the way we wanted to call LoganLogan’ as opposed to ‘X-Men: Logan’ - to indicate that it’s a different kind of film and to indicate that it’s a more character-driven movie,” Kinberg explained to Collider. “And for me, and [producer] Hutch [Parker], as people who worked on X-Men III: The Last Stand, that didn’t have any trace of Dark Phoenix in the title, we really wanted to indicate that this is the Dark Phoenix story and that she’s at the center of this story. She’s the A-plot of this story, everything around this story revolves really centrally around Jean/Dark Phoenix as really the subject of the movie, not the object of the movie.”

However, getting to the emotional core of the film's characters wasn't without its hiccups, including the now standard round of reshoots and adjustments many big budget films go through.

“Mostly we focused on the third act, both emotionally and in terms of the physical scale and the action of the third act that we adjusted," Kinberg said of how the reshoots changed the film. "And then there were certain things in the first two acts of the movie - very few things, but to set up those changes in the third act we had to adjust some things in the first two acts so that that all was fluid and felt consistent.”

Dark Phoenix is due out in theaters June 7, 2019.

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