Fox has officially delayed the X-Men spinoff New Mutants to 2019, and it's apparently because the movie is being made scarier. Cowriter and director Josh Boone described New Mutants as being a "full-fledged horror movie" before he began filming the young mutants adventure last summer. Fox Studio head Stacey Snider later described the X-Men spinoff as being akin to "a haunted-house movie", where the archetypical hormonal teenagers are instead a bunch of mutants inexperienced at using their powers and trapped in a sinister institution.
The New Mutants marketing has very much positioned the film as being a horror movie (its X-Men connections aside), complete with creepy visuals and Nightmare on Elm Street-inspired imagery of bodies clawing at the protagonists through the walls of their "prison". Boone's film is believed to be drawing heavy inspiration from New Mutants comic book creators Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod's Demon Bear Saga, which revolves around a wicked entity that exists only in the mind of the powerful New Mutants team member Danielle Moonstar aka. Mirage (played by Blu Hunt in Boone's movie). Apparently though, the current version of the film isn't quite spooky enough for Fox's tastes, despite all that.
A source for The Wrap is reporting that New Mutants was delayed from its original April 2018 release date to February 2019 in part because the film "isn't scary enough" in its current form. Tracking Board is reporting something similar, namely that "word on the street" is that New Mutants did well in test screenings but not great, and Fox wants to add more scares in order to make the film even more of a full-blown horror offering.
2017 was a strong year for horror both critically and commercially, with movies ranging from Jordan Peele's awards season contender Get Out to Andrés Muschietti's Stephen King adaptation IT, and even M. Night Shyamalan's backdoor Unbreakable sequel Split both pleasing critics and doing big business at the global box office. Tracking Board mentions the success of Get Out and IT specifically as having motivated Fox to further tap into the current demand for horror entertainment, by upping the scare factor in New Mutants even more.
The horror genre has gotten off to a good start at the box office this year, with Insidious: The Last Key performing above expectations commercially. There are lots of buzzed about horror movies arriving later in 2018 too, ranging from The Conjuring spinoff The Nun to David Gordon Green's as-yet untitled Halloween franchise sequel/reboot. Seeing as most of these films are expected to play well with audiences and keep the horror trend going strong, there is all the more reason for Fox to want to step up its game with New Mutants.
X-Men spinoffs Deadpool and Logan arguably succeeded in no small part because they went the whole nine yards, when it came to combining the world of mutants with different genre elements (raunchy action/comedy and gritty character drama, respectively). In that regard, the idea of New Mutants delving further into the world of horror sounds all the more promising. Boone will have more than a year to get the job done, so there's little reason for his reshoots to result in an ungainly final movie product, either.
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020