Bears fly, as they say, as Disney/20th Century Studios was finally able to dump their deeply troubled and long-delayed The New Mutants, the horror-tinged X-Men spinoff directed by Josh Boone, in theaters over the weekend.
Skipping the long and convoluted story behind the delays, the Marvel comic book adaptation follows five young people who demonstrate special powers and are brought to a secret institution to undergo treatments they are told will cure them of the dangers of their powers.
Pandemic be damned, Disney used the national reopening of theaters to get this nightmare of a release out of their hair once and for all, and pulled in $7M in its first weekend. While analysts say the film likely would’ve made $14 million this weekend had all US theaters been open, it did exactly what I anticipated in the current situation, doubling that of last week’s Unhinged (review), which soaked up another $2.6M of this weekend’s box office.
The New Mutants only added $2.9M globally and is currently sitting at a disastrous $9.9M. With that said, Disney’s hope here was to recoup their marketing costs and finally work their way to releasing the film on VOD platforms this fall. Every theatrical dollar is a “win” for their bottom line.
On the other hand, Solstice Studios’ Unhinged continued to cruise into more theaters and is now sitting at $16M worldwide.
While the debate behind reopening theaters is a tough one, the past two weekends have proved that smaller films can find success in opening and it makes you wonder if Orion Films will continue with their push to release Candyman on October 16th?
In any event, we hope that the distributors will work through the difficulties behind their releases and find a way to make their films available on VOD platforms simultaneously with theaters (we applaud Orion’s decision to make Bill & Ted Face the Music available everywhere this past weekend). Not everyone feels safe in that environment and it’s surely wrong to advance propaganda as if the theatrical experience is a “safe” one, something nobody can guarantee.
How long can our nation pretend that we’re not in the middle of a disastrous pandemic? How long until “flu season” comes knocking at our door and forces us all back into shelter? Only time will tell, but right now is the moment for distributors to dump anything and everything they want off their plate.
As for The New Mutants? We’ll wait for VOD.