At this point, nearly everyone with any kind of interest in The New Mutants has made a joke about the film's frequent release date delays, including the people who made it. We were originally supposed to see writer/director Josh Boone's adaptation of the Marvel Comics title of the same name more than two years ago, but the film got pushed, then pushed again, and then when it finally seemed to have a firm spring 2020 release date, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced yet another delay.
Now, the film has a release date of August 28, but that's certainly far from firm in a world where theaters could still be dangerous places, so a question many fans have asked is coming up all over again: Why doesn't Disney just drop the movie on streaming?
Back when it was still going to be released in 2018, The New Mutants was still a Fox property. Then Disney's acquisition of Fox's many entertainment assets made them responsible for the release, and now The Walt Disney Company seems to have settled on a tentative release window. But as many fans have pointed out, Disney also has access to two major streaming platforms in Disney+ and Hulu, and The New Mutants is a film that could easily draw a large audience if it were released for home viewing right now. So, why the hesitancy?
In a new interivew with Boone and members of the cast, Collider's Steven Weintraub very directly put the question to the filmmaker, who had a pretty simple answer.
“We're in the same boat as most movies, you sign contracts that guarantee a theatrical release, so it needs to open to ever go digital in the first place," Boone said. "We just, too, would like to see people to see it in the theater. But it needs to obviously be at the right time when it’s safe to go back.”
Weintraub went on to ask the cast, and Boone, if any of them have actually brought up the topic of Disney+, Boone added: "I speak regularly to the guys at Disney, and I'm told that this is the plan is to go theatrical, so I'm happy with that."
Boone's point that many movies that are planned for theatrical releases actually have that stipulation in various contracts is important to note right now, at a time when fans are increasingly asking that everything from Black Widow to A24's much-anticipated The Green Knight be brought to streaming as added entertainment amid pandemic shutdowns. Can those contracts be renegotiated? Possibly. Whether or not everyone involved would like them to be is another matter entirely.
Plus, it's worth noting that Boone and company have been waiting to release The New Mutants for more than two years at this point. There's an argument to be made that while they might just be relieved to have it out in the world at all, they might also be fine with a "We've waited this long, so what's a while longer?" approach.
The New Mutants' most recent official release date is August 28. We'll see if that holds.