Back in the day — as in about two years ago — it was still considered an insult for a movie to not play actual movie theaters. Now it’s the new normal. On the same weekend that a new Ben Affleck-Oscar Isaac action movie bowed on Netflix, it was discovered that The New Mutants — the long-shelved and currently being reworked X-Men spin-off, which was originally due last year — might also skip theaters entirely, becoming one of those films you first see on a whim while preparing dinner or folding clothes.
The news was buried in a lengthy Vanity Fair piece and teased out by Hot New Hip Hop. The article details the birthing pains of the looming Disney-Fox merger, which, should it come off, will see two of the biggest corporations fusing together to form a super-duper-mega-corporation. (Certainly there’s nothing to worry about.)
While Disney will add some of Fox’s bigger already-in-the-works projects to its own lineup, including the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express, other smaller ones may wind up semi-ceremoniously dumped onto Disney’s forthcoming streaming service, Disney+.
One of those, the piece claims, is “likely” to be The New Mutants, the YA cousin to the X-Men pictures, focusing on young superheroes like Magik (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), and Cannonball (Charlie Heaton), plus Antonio Banderas as the as-yet-disclosed baddie. Currently the movie is slated for an August 2 release. But that could change.
Director John Boone, who previously helmed The Fault in Our Stars, seems reticent, struggling to square his increasingly outmoded ideals with the industry’s ever-changing realities.
“The notion of something being for the big screen versus a streaming platform, when you have something like Roma out there, it’s hard to be a filmmaker and to still believe that your nostalgia for a theatrical experience is somehow superior to the way people want to watch movies today,” he told Vanity Fair.
This is, of course, still up in the air, but if even a comic book movie about flying teenagers can’t find a screen in a multiplex, that doesn’t bode well for any blockbuster, does it?