20th Century's The New Mutants is finally hitting theaters this weekend — wherever theaters are open, that is — and a growing contingent of critics have started boycotting the movie until it's safe to go back to theaters. As evidenced in a new post by IndieWire, many prominent critics have opted not to review the Josh Boone feature because of what they say is Disney's gross negligence caused by not providing safe ways to screen the film virtually — a move that's forcing critics to go to theaters during the middle of a pandemic.
Along with IndieWire, other outlets to join the boycott include The AV Club, The Boston Globe, and Rogerebert.com editor Brian Tallerico. Tallerico explained on Twitter the iconic film criticism website "will not have a review of The New Mutants because there's no safe way to do so." He added in his tweet the site will pick back up on theatrical releases "when presented with a safe way to do so - screener or socially distanced screening," pointing out neither options have been available by Disney for New Mutants.
We will review theatrical releases when presented with a safe way to do so - screener or socially distanced screening - but that’s not an option in this case.— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) August 25, 2020
AV Club critic AA Dowd posted a lengthy essay Tuesday morning, pointing at the evidence presented by America's leading health experts as a reason not tgo attend a public theater showing yet.
“[Science experts] did not mince words: There’s a very good chance you could get sick. And that’s a risk The A.V. Club will not be taking to review a movie, any movie,” Dowd wrote. “We are, in fact, adopting the official policy of only reviewing films our writers can safely watch, whether in a socially distanced press screening or with a digital screener. And yes, that applies to all our writers, even those willing to take the risk for an assignment, because we’re not willing to monetize that risk, either.”
Press screenings for Mutants are scheduled for later this week and as of yet, Disney has yet to expressly state the theaters will be reduced capacity so as to encourage social distancing. Warner Brothers, on the other hand, started press screenings for Tenet earlier this week in which case, social distancing was in full effect due to policies implemented by the studio.
The New Mutants hits theaters on August 28th.