The New Mutants is once again without a release date following Disney's Friday rescheduling of its film slate. First scheduled for release in 2018, a series of delays pushed The New Mutants back several times. Its most recent date was in April 2020, but he COVID-19 pandemic has delayed its release further. There's been speculation that the film could skip theaters and go straight to streaming on Disney+ or Hulu, a move some other studios have made. Disney has sidestepped that move thus far, and it turns out that it may not be a viable option for The New Mutants.
As a report from MCU Cosmic reminds us, 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) entered into an agreement with HBO regarding streaming rights in 2012. That agreement gives HBO exclusive streaming rights to 20th Century Studios movies through 2022. This is why Dark Phoenix made its streaming debut two weeks ago on HBO despite coming out after the sale of 20th Century Fox to Disney.
The deal doesn't affect the sale of digital films. In theory, Disney could release The New Mutants for sale in digital storefronts. But as far as streaming services go, HBO has it locked down for the next two years. HBO is preparing to launch HBO Max as a direct competitor to Disney's Hulu and Disney+. It is unlikely that Disney would want to give HBO any more ammunition than it already has.
That leaves Disney with a couple of options to recoup the cost of The New Mutants. It can hold out for a proper theatrical release date, or it can drop the film off as a video-on-demand release. But a Disney+ or Hulu debut? Seems that's not on the table.
Disney describes The New Mutants as "an original horror thriller set in an isolated hospital where a group of young mutants is being held for psychiatric monitoring. When strange occurrences begin to take place, both their new mutant abilities and their friendships will be tested as they battle to try and make it out alive." The film is directed by Josh Boone and written by Boone & Knate Lee. The New Mutants stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt and Henry Zaga. The film is produced by Simon Kinberg, Karen Rosenfelt, and Lauren Shuler Donner with Stan Lee and Michele Imperato Stabile serving as executive producers.
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