As the saying goes, “James Cameron doesn’t do what James Cameron does for James Cameron. James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Cameron is… James Cameron.”
According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, James Cameron pressured Fox into moving Dark Phoenix so that his film Alita: Battle Angel could be moved out of a more competitive spot. It goes on to say that Cameron felt Alita would lose horribly when facing a December opening weekend that included Aquaman, Bumblebee, and Mary Poppins Returns. Alita: Battle Angel ended up grossing $25 million opening weekend, going on to gross $404 million worldwide.
Alita was bumped from December 21 to February 14, while Dark Phoenix moved from February 14 to June 7. For Dark Phoenix, this followed a previous delay from November 2 to February 14.
Stacey Snider, then Fox’s Chairman and CEO, conceded to Cameron, much to the dismay of Vice Chairman Emma Watts, writer-director Simon Kinberg, and producer Hutch Parker. According to the report, “Emma, Hutch and Simon begged her not do it.”
Dark Phoenix’s opening weekend only grossed $33 million domestically at the box office, the lowest opening weekend of any X-Men film.
Directed and written by Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain. The film is out now.