Lauren Shuler Donner has made it abundantly clear she is not satisfied with the current state of the X-Men movies. The long-time producer helped to get the franchise off of the ground, starting back at the beginning with 2000's X-Men. However, she has now distanced herself from Dark Phoenix, New Mutants, and X-Men: Apocalypse. The latest offering just hit theaters this weekend with a franchise low box office record of $33 million. 2013's Wolverine previously held the record at $53.1 million.
In addition to losing to The Secret Life of Pets 2 at the box office, Dark Phoenix is getting torn apart by fans and critics. Lauren Shuler Donner was more than likely getting hit with some social media shrapnel from the Dark Phoenix flopping news, which prompted her to respond in a rather negative way. Lauren Shuler Donner basically disowned the last three X-Men projects. She had this to say in a now-deleted tweet.
"Save your condolences. I had zero, nothing to do with Dark Phoenix. Or Apocalypse, or New Mutants."
Dark Phoenix had to go through extensive reshoots to get the movie ready for audiences and it appears they didn't really help the movie at all. Plus, making matters even worse, the installment comes right after Disney acquired Fox, bringing the Marvel properties back to Marvel Studios. It basically got lost in the shuffle and is suffering at the box office for that reason and for the fact that fans really don't seem to like it very much. Rotten Tomatoes currently scores the film with a 22% Fresh Rating, while the CinemaScore from audiences ranks it as a B-. A B- from CinemaScore isn't horrible, but it is the lowest scoring for an X-Men movie.
As for New Mutants, the movie recently received yet another new release date and will reportedly undergo even more reshoots. It will be amazing if the movie comes out at all and confidence in the project seems to be pretty mute with Lauren Shuler Donner's recent Twitter outburst. There have been rumblings of the project possibly coming out on the Disney+ streaming platform instead of hitting theaters. We'll just have to wait and see what happens with it, but one thing is certain, which is Donner didn't have anything to do with it. She did say she hopes it is "good" and is "looking forward to seeing it someday."
Dark Phoenix is more than likely the end of the X-Men franchise as we know it. Marvel Studios is back in control and the characters will be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the years to come. This is both exciting and sad news for fans of the current franchise. While it has hit some speed bumps over the years, the franchise is what kickstarted the whole superhero movie craze nearly 20 years ago. Hopefully Fox ends up with some positive closure. You can check out Lauren Shuler Donner's deleted tweet below.