What to Expect from The New Mutants
Later this week, The New Mutants finally arrives in theaters, 30 months later than expected.
Marvel fans have anticipated this day for a looooong time. What should we expect from The New Mutants? Well…
In recent Hollywood history, few film productions have suffered a worse fate than The New Mutants.
Director Josh Boone had his pick of projects after his blockbuster hit, The Fault in Our Stars.
The rising talent chose The New Mutants, a decision that has caused him much aggravation over the past five years.
The movie was filmed in July of 2017. No, that’s not a typo. The project got stuck in cinematic limbo when Fox executives realized the company was up for sale.
Eventually, Disney bought The New Mutants, which sounds terrific. After all, Disney also owns Marvel, the company that published the source material.
For a while, everything played out well, as Marvel supported The New Mutants and went so far as to un-fire Boone, who had a previous falling out with Fox.
Boone loved his film and didn’t want to change it. Fox demanded reshoots that would have changed the tone of The New Mutants.
If you haven’t heard, the film is a comic book horror movie, as future members of The X-Men find themselves trapped in a mental facility.
When Disney gained the rights, studio executives invited Boone back into the editing bay, where he got to edit and finish the movie he’d envisioned.
Sadly, even this turn of events didn’t save the project from infamy.
Disney managed a record-shattering box office campaign in 2019. Along the way, the studio carefully chose release dates for its future projects.
The New Mutants didn’t fit with the 2019 strategy, forcing Disney to delay its release until April 3rd, 2020. You know how that turned out.
On March 11th, American society shut down to the growing concern of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Almost overnight, several institutions suddenly went from sources of public entertainment to hotbeds for COVID-19 infections.
Sports stadiums, concert venues, and theme parks closed due to safety concerns.
Almost by default, the movie industry followed, as early March box office indicated that audiences feared indoor theaters.
Only three weeks before its release, The New Mutants once again found itself adrift and abandoned.
For the longest time, film analysts expected Disney to release the film on Hulu, forgoing theatrical release.
Strangely, that would have been better, as it would have saved The New Mutants from a great deal of aggravation.
Over the summer, Disney officials refused to clarify the uncertain status of the movie.
Then, something random happened a few weeks ago.
Out of nowhere, the studio settled on August 28th as the release date for The New Mutants. The theatrical release date.
Yes, this decision caught everyone off-guard, as none of the top theater chains had confirmed their reopening plans yet.
Disney said that The New Mutants would come out on August 28th no matter what, and they’ve held to that…which is problematic.
At this point, only a small percentage of movie theaters have returned.
The New Mutants probably would have opened in 2,500-3,500 locations in April. It’s looking at 1,500 or less this week.
Okay, let’s start with one more negative. The number one film in North America last weekend earned a whopping $865,824 last weekend.
No movie has earned more than $1 million on opening weekend since the pandemic began.
Weirdly, this aspect aids The New Mutants, as nobody believes that the film will do well.
Think of the situation as gambler’s insurance. If the movie bombs, that’s what everyone knew would happen.
Conversely, if The New Mutants somehow does well, it doesn’t just redeem Josh Boone. It also garners headlines as the comeback film that saved Hollywood.
You can’t put a price on that sort of PR. It’d turn The New Mutants into a viable franchise brand. That’s the beauty of lowered expectations.
The other positive here doesn’t get discussed enough. Studio executives know that many film projects don’t work out.
When something is a dud, the studio abandons the project and never looks back.
After Disney acquired Fox, the Mouse House ditched most of its new films. Only a couple of them were up to snuff, as Disney has higher standards.
Well, they did NOT cut ties with The New Mutants. Instead, Marvel and Disney had worked together to give the project time to grow.
Then, the pandemic happened, and everything changed.
The New Mutants hasn’t done anything wrong here. Smart people think it could succeed, given the right opportunity.
Sadly, the opposite has happened, and the August release seems like everyone accepting the project’s fate.
Smart people believe in The New Mutants, but fate despises this film.
A Realistic Expectation
I’m a Marvel fan, and the last thing I want to do is be a buzzkill for others like me. Sadly, I’m braced for the worst here, though.
China has more reopened theaters than North America.
Yet, that country hasn’t had a movie open better than $15 million for any weekend through August 20th.
And the one that did “open” the best was – I kid you not – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The universe has stacked the deck against The New Mutants. The movie has faced innumerable delays, none of which were the fault of the production crew.
In fact, I think that unbiased reviews for the movie would be quite positive. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an unbiased society.
Many film critics made up their minds about The New Mutants a while ago, and I doubt anything will happen to change their minds.
So, I expect mediocre-to-poor reviews and significant box office disappointment.
That’s the downside. On a positive note, I expect that fans of the comic book series and Marvel fans, in general, will leave the theater feeling satisfied.
Then, a few weeks afterward, I fully expect The New Mutants to debut on home digital, giving people a chance to buy it for $19.99.
I don’t believe that Marvel will release this one on Disney+ under the same business model as Mulan. Otherwise, the company would have announced it already.
Still, supporters of this project shouldn’t give up hope. If people support it on digital and, later, Hulu, Josh Boone may yet get his wish for a sequel.
Here’s the thing about The New Mutants. If it truly sucked, everyone would have cut the cord a long time ago.
Disney and Marvel have tried to give it a chance because the people involved with the project know it’s pretty good.