All eyes are on Fox and Disney as we enter 2018. While the recently announced deal won't go through for nearly 2 years at the least, questions over just how drastically this will affect Fox's lineup, particularly the X-Men, will linger. While the in-process movies appear to be entirely unaffected, a recent shuffling of release dates understandably raised some eyebrows, including Deadpool 2 shifting up two weeks in a move seen as favorable to Solo: A Star Wars Story (a Disney movie), and New Mutants being delayed by 10 months to February 2019.
While Deadpool's new release date is interesting, the long delay for New Mutants is the most intreguing. Not only was the movie just 3 months from hitting the big screen, but marketing had already been scaling up. It's not clear exactly how the change will affect the marketing plans, but with one trailer already out and a regular release of character posters, the movie is now in an awkward position of probably cooling off its campaign until fall 2018.
The even bigger question, though, is what instigated the delay? There were no rumors of serious behind the scenes issues and if that was the reason for the delay, the date change would have happened a lot sooner. The initial word on the street says the movie was being test screened with a positive reception, but the studio thought the movie's horror elements could be played up even more. It's not clear if this simply means re-editing and post-production work or additional reshoots, but the fact that it's delayed a full 10 months suggests something a little more intensive.
It's at this point that things don't seem to completely line up. By all accounts, New Mutants already appeared to embrace the horror movie approach. Not only did the director already promise this a number of times, but the trailers also clearly pushed that aesthetic. Considering the looming Disney acquisition and (assumed) eventual assimilation of the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there's some room to speculate that the long delay is for more than the addition of some jump scares. What if they are also retrofitting some connections to the MCU?
Are They Really just Making New Mutants Scarier? (This Page)
Are They Really just Making New Mutants Scarier?
As already stated, New Mutants already looks plenty scary. Fox has already proven with Logan and Deadpool that its not scared of pushing genre (or rating) limits, so the notion that the horror in New Mutants was somehow dumbed down to begin with seems like a departure from this strategy. Both of those movies could have, hypothetically, "worked" as PG-13 movies, as most superhero movies do, but Fox knew from conception that playing it safe would limit their potential, so it stands to reason that New Mutants was written with the same considerations.
Given, the two movies New Mutants supposedly used for this justification are IT and Get Out, which are both R-rated horror movies (particularly the former) that made it big at the box office (again, particularly the former). New Mutants hasn't yet been rated in its current form, but if one had to guess, it appears to be playing within the limits of PG-13. If that's the case, and the studio truly believes the better (and more lucrative) version of the movie is R-rated, then the decision makes a lot of sense.
Coming only a few months before the movie's release, this decision, even if it's the right one, doesn't seem to present the full story. Barring major story changes (which this rumor doesn't suggest are necessary), simply pumping up the scares conceivably be accomplished with minimal reshoots and minimal (if any) delay.
That being said, one major reason for such a lengthy delay to New Mutant's release date is that any minor delay to the original April 13th release date would have pushed it into summer release territory. With Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Deadpool 2 in May, summer movie season will officially be in full swing, meaning competition will be pretty stacked. At that point, a 10-month delay is likely preferable to dropping opposite to another big summer blockbuster.
Even so, 10 additional months means the opportunity for even bigger changes. In light of the assumed eventual integration of the X-Men into the MCU, those 10 months could be used to accomplish far more than increasing the horror. It could also sow the seeds of an MCU crossover.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020