'Dark Phoenix' had a weak start at the box office and could lose to 'The Secret Life of Pets 2' this weekend

Dark Phoenix FoxFox

  • "Dark Phoenix" took in $5 million at its Thursday night previews.
  • The movie is projected to earn between $45 million and $55 million its opening weekend.
  • It's possible the movie could be the first X-Men title to not have a $50 million domestic opening.
  • The movie has stiff competition with it going up against "Secret Life of Pets 2," which is projected to have a $60 million opening.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Dark Phoenix," the latest X-Men movie and the final installment before Disney takes over the franchise after acquiring Fox, is off to a rough start.

The movie took in $5 million in its Thursday previews, which puts it in the range of a projected $45-million-to-$55-million total for the weekend. That would be one of the lowest openings for the franchise, maybe even marking the first "X-Men" movie to open under $50 million. The worst to date was 2013's "The Wolverine" with a $53.1 million domestic opening.

"Dark Phoenix" also has some stiff competition in the form of Universal's "The Secret Life of Pets 2." The movie had a preview total of $2.3 million, but business will certainly pick up for the movie over the weekend as most kids go to see it.

Read more: "Dark Phoenix" is the worst-reviewed "X-Men" movie of all time, but the international box office could save it

The weekend will be a close race for first place, and "Pets" may have the upper hand as its studio is releasing it on over 4,500 screens (with a projected $60 million opening) compared to the 3,700 for "Dark Phoenix." That doesn't even include the fact that movies like "Aladdin" and "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" are still in theaters. And it also doesn't help that "Phoenix" is sporting the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score ever for an X-Men movie with 22% currently.

One thing is certain: "Dark Phoenix" will not have the box-office success of the last entry, "X-Men Apocalypse." The movie had a $65.7 million opening and went on to earn over $543 million worldwide, helped greatly by a $388-million-plus international box-office gross (despite it having a "rotten" Rotten Tomatoes score of 47%).

And "Dark Phoenix" may not have as strong an international kick-off as previous movies in the franchise either. Early reports have the movie opening lower internationally than the $100 million earned by "Apocalypse" its opening weekend.

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