The New Mutants is still scheduled to open nationwide on August 28. This is newsworthy because of the film’s multiple delays reaching theatres, which have become a bit of a joke (inspiring the satirical article: New Mutants Cast Reunites to Celebrate 20 Years of Movie Not Being Released Yet). Shot in late 2017 in anticipation of a 2018 theatrical debut, The New Mutants was delayed to provide time for reshoots, with eye toward 2019 bow. Production company 20th Century Fox was purchased in early that year by The Walt Disney Company, which pushed the release to April 3, 2020. When that date was doomed by nationwide shutdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney rescheduled yet again, leading to speculation that the company might give up on theatres and distribute the film directly to its Disney+ streaming service.
However, a new article in Variety indicates that Disney plans to stick with the current release date, reporting that “Disney sent exhibitors a lengthy email on Monday outlining theatrical plans, including news that tickets can be sold starting the morning of Aug. 18.”
If this holds, it will be a remarkable piece of publicity for a so-far unlucky film, making The New Mutants the first new production from a Hollywood studio to reach cinema screens since theatres closed last March. For weeks, exhibitors have been hoping for a highly anticipated blockbuster to lure frightened audiences back into their seats, with much attention focused on Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s Mulan. The later has been diverted to Disney+, and Tenet plans a staggered roll-out, starting overseas on August 26 and moving into select U.S. engagements on September 3.
Over three-quarters of the nation’s theatres – including all venues in New York and Los Angeles – remain closed, either because of health and safety restrictions or out of concern that audiences are not eager to risk their lives to sit in an enclosed space for two hours when several recent studio films (e.g., Trolls World Tour) have opted for home video debuts. In this environment, it is not clear how many people will be willing to brave the risks to see the latest (and supposedly last) entry in 20 Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, especially since the previous entry, Dark Phoenix, lost the studio $100-million.
The New Mutants purports to mix superhero fantasy with horror, portraying a young group of mutants committed to a sinister facility, where the staff claim to be helping them control their powers but may have ulterior motives. View the first trailer here; view the second trailer here.