Apparently, it’s really hard to release a film. And I don’t mean all the actual work of filming, acting, costumes etc, I just mean to get it out there. Any number of brilliant scripts fail to make it. Talented directors sit waiting for someone from a studio to like their idea. I have heard of this described as “development hell”. And even then when it’s filmed things don’t always go smoothly as such with the latest instalment in the X-Men series: The New Mutants.
A Sure-fire Hit
The film The New Mutants is based on comic book series of the same name, essentially taking place in the same universe as the X-Men films and comics but with a different sensibility and focusing on teenaged characters. The director is Josh Boone who is probably best known for directing The Fault In Our Stars and the film stars Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) and Anya Taylor-Joy (from The Witch and Emma). This is a pretty good formula for success – a hugely successful franchise, a talented director and some popular, likeable and skilled actors. But despite being finished filming years ago the film is currently scheduled for release in April 2020. I remember seeing the trailer for it and being quite excited, it seemed to have a darker tone than the X-Men films, perhaps even something closer to horror than sci-fi.
What exactly is this film about? Well, imagine you’re an unlucky mutant who instead of ending up in Charles Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters – a place of nurturing and education, you found yourself trapped in a very sinister and isolated hospital. The handful of mutants seem to have a very dark past with their powers – of harm and violence and are told they need to get better and they can do that in this hospital. This very sinister hospital.
I watched the trailer quite some time ago, in fact, a suspiciously long time ago. A lot of work goes into deciding when a film is released. Should it be late December/early January for an Oscar push? Or a summer blockbuster? Do you want to counter-programme against blockbuster with something completely different? And timing it badly can be disastrous to the success to the film. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has this planned out for years and every other film has to work out how best not to get crushed by the latest MCU movie. In the case of The New Mutants it was originally scheduled for release April 13 2018, however, after realising this clashed with Deadpool 2 it was pushed back to February 2019, which then clashed with Dark Phoenix so it was pushed back to August 2019. So a summer 2019 release then, well, no, Disney bought 20th Century Fox and rumour is were not impressed by the film and had raised the idea of not having a cinema release and putting it straight onto Disney+. Obviously, being released on a streaming service is no longer the sign of a bad film anymore with Netflix boasting a number of great films that never saw the inside of a cinema, but still, it could be seen as something of a demotion. There seems to have been a lot of reshoots, never a good sign with a film, with the idea to further lean towards the horror genre.
An Addition To The MCU?
Then comes the inevitable question, the dilemma that stalks every new X-Men film, where will it fit into the MCU? I’ve written on this site before that I don’t think every Marvel film needs to be part of the MCU and with the acquisition of 20th Century Fox and X-Men that the X-Men especially should be kept free from it. My basic feeling is that a world full of mutants doesn’t mix well with a world of superheroes, compared to Wolverine, Captain America is not terribly impressive. Concerning The New Mutants…part of this rests on where The New Mutants fits in with X-Men, will other Professor X or Cyclops show up? Keeping the timeline of the X-Men films clear is already far too complicated, will adding The New Mutants push things too far?
Without any additional problems getting in the way, the film is due for a UK release of 10th April and so we’ll all be able to see whether it has been worth the wait.