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‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ struggles at box office with worst debut in franchise’s history

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The 12th and final planned film in the 19-year-old “X-Men” franchise, the $200 million “Dark Phoenix,” bombed in its opening weekend, earning a franchise low of $33 million at the domestic box office.

Scorched by poor reviews, “Dark Phoenix” finished in second over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Audiences who showed up to see “Dark Phoenix” seemed to agree with critics, giving it a poor B- CinemaScore.

The Universal Pictures and Illumination sequel “The Secret Life of Pets 2” finished first, grossing an estimated $47.1 million in ticket sales. The animated sequel features the voice of Kevin Hart and Harrison Ford in his first animated role. The film’s production budget was around $80 million and its global total already surpassed that mark earning $97 million, signifying a major win for the studio.

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Directed by longtime X-Men scribe Simon Kinberg, “Dark Phoenix” focuses on Jean Grey who is played by Sophie Turner fresh off of her “Game of Thrones” run as Sansa Stark. It also brought back James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. It’s the conclusion to the modern series of X-Men movies that started in 2000.

“It’s softer than we hoped,” said Cathleen Taff, Disney’s president of theatrical distribution. “While the film didn’t open the way we wanted, we think the legacy of the X-Men series is important and it’s more important than how one film opens. We’re trying to keep it in perspective.”

Internationally, however, “Dark Phoenix” finished first with $107 million from 53 territories including China. Globally, the film earned $140 million.

This weekend Disney’s “Aladdin” finished in third with another $24.5 million. The movie musical hit theatres over Memorial Day Weekend and in its third weekend, has earned $604.9 million globally to date.

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Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla: King of The Monsters” finished fourth, down down 67 percent with $15.5 million domestically and $47.1 million internationally.

The acclaimed Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” from Paramount Pictures, rounded out the top five with $14 million in the United States.

The psychological horror “Ma,” starring Octavia Spencer, came in sixth with $7.8 million, followed by the action thriller “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” starring Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry, with $7.4 million.

“Avengers: Endgame” came in eight place with $4.8 million followed by “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” with $3 million.

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The feature directing debut of actress Olivia Wilde, “Booksmart,” rounded out the top ten with $1.6 million.

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Overall the box office is healthy. The weekend is up 37 percent from last year when “Ocean’s 8” opened and the year to date deficit improved again. The year is now down 5.9 percent.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.