Marvel fans are currently experiencing a bit of whiplash, as many of Fox's upcoming X-Men movie releases have received new release dates.
The change for The New Mutants is by far the most shocking, as the film has now been delayed ten months, from April 13th, 2018, to February 22nd, 2019. The initial report cited the film's international market - especially against fellow X-Men film Deadpool 2 - for the delay. But another rumored reason has now come to light.
According to The Tracking Board's Jeff Sneider, the New Mutants move was also inspired by test screenings for the film, which have caused Fox to re-evalute just how much the film relies on horror elements.
"Word on the street is that after the film tested well but not great," Sneider writes, "the studio decided to actually embrace the film’s horror elements and beef up the scares in the wake of the success of It and Get Out last year."
This was echoed by The Wrap's Umberto Gonzalez, whose sources also cited Fox's desire to make the film scarier.
For Marvel fans - especially those who are familiar with the film's source material, “The Demon Bear Saga” - this news might be a positive thing. And if the film leans into those horror elements more - and is able to find its audience - it could eventually lead to Josh Boone's proposed trilogy of X-men horror movies.
“We brought it to FOX as a trilogy of films, really all based on that long run by [Bill] Sienkiewicz, and kind of incorporates some stuff from later issues in the ‘80s,” Boone explained last year. “These are all going to be horror movies, and they're all be their own distinct kind of horror movies. This is certainly the ‘rubber-reality’ supernatural horror movie. The next one will be a completely different kind of horror movie.”
Interestingly, this move places New Mutants in a pretty unique situation, thanks to the merger between Fox and Walt Disney Studios. At the time of the merger, fans worried if future New Mutants installments would be in jeopardy, since the franchise is much more niche than Disney's traditional Marvel properties. But now this new 2019 release date could place New Mutants after the Disney merger officially takes effect.
“If Disney is an NFL team, then every movie on the calendar is like a Heisman Trophy winner." One insider said of the smaller-scale X-Men films last month. "This raises the bar of what is a theatrical release.”
The New Mutants will now be released on February 22nd, 2019.