There's a lot to look forward to in 2018 in terms of superhero films, and one of them was Josh Boone's The New Mutants, an X-Men spinoff which offers a brand new approach to 20th Century Fox's X-franchise as five young mutants -- Wolfsbane, Cannonball, Magik, Sunspot and Mirage -- attempt to escape their captivity in a secret facility. The truly unique thing about this installment in the X-Men film franchise is that this is a horror film, a genre that is seldom explored in comic book films, especially ones based on superhero properties.
It sounded like a refreshing new take on a superhero film, and a lot of people were excited to see it this year. Unfortunately, it was announced on Thursday that The New Mutants, originally set to premiere April 13, 2018, is now scheduled to debut on Feb. 22, 2019 instead. 20th Century Fox has shuffled the dates of several films, but why would the studio decide to push the release of the film back by nearly a year?
It's understandable that some people will assume the film's release was pushed back 10 months because the studio is panicking about the quality of the film, especially only three months away from the initial release date. After all, it's not uncommon for changes to release dates to be caused by reshoots, re-editing and/or general preemptive damage control. There are reports that after the success of 2017 horror films such as It and Get Out, 20th Century Fox decided it would be best to capitalize further on the horror elements of The New Mutants, which would of course warrant the aforementioned re-editing.
That being said, there does seem to be a slightly simpler answer to the mystery behind the studio's motives, and it has almost nothing to do with how great or terrible the film is. According to The Hollywood Reporter, insiders have claimed that the studio has a lot of faith in the film and that the change in premiere dates was made in order to avoid having two of the studio's X-Men films cannibalize one another overseas where, in some countries, The New Mutants would have been released in theaters around the same time as the Deadpool sequel.
Seeing as how international box office numbers are proving to be increasingly vital to a film's success, it makes sense that 20th Century Fox would choose to shuffle the release dates of its films like this. Since 2018 is full with blockbuster superhero films, it's likely the studio also wanted to allow for some breathing room between those films and The New Mutants, to give it every chance at success.
Now it appears that instead of being sandwiched between major releases such as the highly anticipated Deadpool 2 and long-awaited Avengers: Infinity War, The New Mutants will now run in theaters alongside The Rhythm Section, a British-American thriller starring Blake Lively and Jude Law, directed by Reed Morano.
As stated, the studio has switched the release dates for several of its upcoming films, including Deadpool 2 -- which will now premiere two weeks earlier on May 18, instead of June 1 -- and Gambit, which was slated for Feb. 14, 2019 but will now debut on June 7, 2019. The latter of the two films does seem to be in a bit of trouble, with director Gore Verbinski recently reported as leaving the production.
There's nothing from a release date shift alone that indicates 20th Century Fox is at all panicking about the quality of The New Mutants. For now, we can stay hopeful that this film may just exceed our expectations.