Has there been a more troubled superhero film than the New Mutants? While several movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe experienced reshoots and post-production revisions, none experienced the chronic delays and postponements that the New Mutants suffered. The film now experiences a fourth release date postponement. This time, the delay results from coronavirus fears.
The New Mutants feature isn’t being singled out, either. Several other films from multiple studios now receive delays due to worries about COVID-19. The James Bond film No Time to Die was among the first high-profile features to announce a delay. Reportedly, the studio had to accept an additional $30 million cost due to rescheduling the film’s release. At present, however, health officials warn against large crowd gatherings. So, the movie industry is reshuffling release dates on its big-budget tentpoles.
The previous three release delays of the New Mutants contributed to a negative buzz about the film. Reportedly, Disney wasn’t too happy with the various cuts they screened. Orders for reshoots followed. At one point, it seemed the studio gave up on the film, and it appeared headed to direct-to-video entertainment channels. Considering the likely budget for the film, a budget ballooned due to reshoots, skipping a theatrical run would lead to a financial catastrophe.
Right now, anything related to comic book movies can do at least $100 million worldwide. The poorly received Birds of Prey earned around $200 million worldwide, so New Mutants could still pull in tens of millions for the studio after production, marketing, and theater booking costs. Whether the film pulls in enough to generate a profit is another matter. Reportedly, New Mutants is unimpressive.
Judging the film’s quality before it receives a release, however, is not fair. Even if earlier cuts disappointed studio executives, the final theatrical cut could be a significant improvement. Truthfully, it is the released version that counts. Earlier versions won’t see the light of day, barring a special home entertainment release one day.
The New Mutants does try to do something a bit different. The film attempts to fuse X-Men-style superheroics with the horror genre. Maybe the troubled film will surprise everyone and provide entertaining thrills that add something new to comic book movies. One day, when the film receives a release, audiences can find out.