Remember when we were all worried about “superhero fatigue” and whether or not the market could really withstand 6, 8, as many as 10 new comic book movies a year?

Funny thing about that: we never quite get as many comic book movies as we expect. Announced titles fall away in corporate re-shufflings (RIP, Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4, Sinister Six, just about half of WB’s announced DC slate), others are strategically moved around on the calendar to heighten their chances of success (Black Panther, Captain Marvel), and yet others fall into the deep hole that is development hell (Gambit). Attrition is the name of the game, really. As a result, the following should come as little surprise: Fox just delayed two of its X-Men movies.

At the start of the year, we were on track to see Black Panther, New Mutants, Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Venom, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and Aquaman, not to mention the animated films Incredibles 2, Teen Titans Go to the Movies, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Holy oversaturation, Batman! That’s a lot of comic book cinema in one year. Someone’s bound to blink, right?

Turns out, that “someone” was Fox, which pushed New Mutants to February of next year, leaving the company with just Deadpool 2 and Dark Phoenix in 2018. But not anymore. According to ScreenRant, now Dark Phoenix has been pushed back as well. On top of that, New Mutants has actually been delayed a second time:

Fox officially announced new release date for a handful of films, including two of its X-Men movies. X-Men: Dark Phoenix moves from November 2, 2018 to February 14, 2019 – the week before the slot to which New Mutants had previously been pushed. As for The New Mutants, it moves from February 22, 2019 to August 19, 2019.

Dark Phoenix‘s move has it coming out a week after Sony’s Silver & Black, which will surely be delayed, and New Mutants, a mind fuck, teens-in-peril horror film which once seemed prime to capitalize on It‘s success, has now been delayed so much it’s actually due three weeks before It: Chapter 2.

There is no official explanation for the delays yet, but speculation points to both movies apparently testing poorly in preview screenings thus mandating costly, and in Dark Phoenix‘s case, special effects-heavy reshoots. New Mutants, for one, is already known to be adding 2 new characters from the comics through reshoots, and Collider now reports Fox intends to reshoot at least half of the film, with or without director Josh Boone. So, it’s not a fear of the competition or an overcrowded market but a desire to simply get things right motivating the change. And as always with stories like this we are now completely free to freak out and worry (e.g., the films must totally suck, it’s Fantastic Four all over again!, this totally proves Simon Kinberg is underqualified to direct Dark Phoenix, does this mean they’re making New Mutants more like the comics?, etc.) until the movies arrive and either do or do not prove us wrong.

But there is obviously an added layer of intrigue here. Disney’s deal to acquire 21st Century Fox, announced last December, seemingly gave the Fox film studio a firm kick in the butt to start behaving like there’s no tomorrow with its Marvel properties. Suddenly, Fox has Kitty Pryde, Silver Surfer, and Doctor Doom movies in development, an X-Force movie due to start shooting in October, a renewed interest in making Gambit actually happen, the lingering possibility of a Logan spin-off about X-23, and concrete plans to release three X-Men movies a year in both 2019 and 2020. With the Dark Phoenix and New Mutants delays, now they’re one just one film short of meeting that goal for 2019, and they have already planted their flag on 6/7/19 for an untitled Marvel film.

But, unless the Justice Department defeats the AT&T-Time Warner merger and then comes after Disney-Fox despite Trump’s affinity for the Murdochs, Disney’s deal is expected to be approved by the end of the year or by mid-2019. So, by the time New Mutants comes out Fox might be undergoing a talent purge/exodus and all X-Men properties might be killed as a precursor to an MCU reboot. Might that mean Fox is actually retooling Dark Phoenix and New Mutants to make them more standalone since neither is promised a sequel?

Unlikely. “They have to proceed as business as usual in case the merger doesn’t go through. It’s a unique position to be in,” is how an agent familiar with Fox’s Marvel movies put it to THR last month.

There’s also this likely coincidental, but possibly nice marketing bonus – Game of Thrones airs its final season next year, and Dark Phoenix and New Mutants each just happen to be fronted by Game of Thrones stars.

Whatever the reason, we are now quite suddenly left with just one X-Men movie this year. That’s ok. It’s not exactly like we’re lacking for comic book movie options right now. After Apocalypse, if they need more time to get one of these movies right they should definitely take it.

What do you think? Does this news make you nervous? After all, New Mutants has now been delayed 16 months from its original release date? Or do you mostly care that they do whatever it takes to make the best movie possible? Or are you more, “X-Men? Wow. They’re still making those movies? Why?” Let me know in the comments.

Source: ScreenRant

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

9 Comments

  1. I am a huge fan of the X-men Movie franchise and I don’t mind the delays as long as the movies turn out good.

    Reply

    1. That’s ultimately where I come down on this as well. I don’t love every single X-Men movie, but I like most of them and adore X2, Logan, and First Class. And after the production difficulties which impacted X-Men: The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine I’m aware of how this can turn out if the studio just sticks to a release date no matter what. So, if they need time to get it right then I’m fine with that, hoping, of course, that whatever they have already is salvageable.

      Reply

      1. I know right! I am already resigned to the fact that with X-men its either going to be really great or realllyyy bad. Here’s to hoping it’s the former.

      2. Sadly true. They’ve hurt us, and they’ll probably hurt us again. But surely Dark Phoenix and New Mutants have to at least be better than Origins: Wolverine.

  2. Honestly, I go on vacation for ten days and meanwhile, the whole world shifts….

    anyway, remember what I commented back when those huge slates were announced? My reaction was basically “yeah, until then a lot can happen…my prediction is that all those Spider-Man movies won’t happen, nor will half of the DC slate, I only trust that Marvel will stick to the plan”….a few years down the route and the Spider-Man movies didn’t happen (at least not the ones which were announced back then), the DC slate is in constant flux and even Marvel dropped Inhumans (though they added Ant-man and the Wasp, so they are still in balance).

    Whatever Fox is currently doing, I doubt that they will bring anything major on the way until Disney takes over.

    Reply

  3. I think the new mutants could be interesting because its tapping to a genre we’ve never seen in superhero films before. I couldnt care less about dark phoenix though i care very little about those characters especially after seeing xmen: apocalypse. I recently wrote a blog post about the xmen potentially being introduced into the MCU check it out if you like!

    Reply

    1. I agree about the appeal of the New Mutants. The reporting at this points indicates this was actually another Suicide Squad case where the trailer house the studio used put together a trailer that made New Mutants look like something it’s not. What they originally shot is apparently nowhere near as much as a horror movie as it seems like in the trailer. That’s another reason to push the release date back. Suicide Squad got stuck with a trailer promising a Guardians of the Galaxy rip-off when David Ayer had made something a little more in-line with his cop/war movies. So, WB just re-shot a bunch of shit on a short schedule and wouldn’t budge on the release date. New Mutants at least now has the time to go back and more smoothly make something the audiences clearly want, which is a movie that matches the trailer.

      Sorry if you already knew all of that. I’d just been meaning to write about that and out it just came.

      I get ya’ on Dark Phoenix. I still have a little bit of a connection to the characters since I like First Class and Days of Future Past so much, but after Apocalypse both the newbies and McAvoys, Lawrences, and Fassbenders look bored and possibly aware they’re acting in comic book movies that feel desperately behind the times.

      “I recently wrote a blog post about the xmen potentially being introduced into the MCU check it out if you like!”

      I will definitely stop by and check that out.

      Reply

  4. […] with rumors Fox was preparing to shelf its next two X-Men movies, Dark Phoenix and New Mutants, both of which have already been delayed multiple times. Additionally, both films have been subject to significant reshoots and both involve characters […]

    Reply

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