The New Mutants is on its way back to theaters this weekend, acting as a litmus test for studios as it eschews any other sort of release (like a simultaneous premium VOD drop, which its weekend competitor Bill & Ted Face the Music is doing) and goes counter to the advice of several medical professionals. Some critics have refused to review the film under unsafe conditions while some fans are hyped to go back regardless of the risk.
Star Maisie Williams, who plays Rahne Sinclaire AKA Wolfsbane, is here to reassure fans that she understands if some choose not to see her new film right away.
Filmmaker Josh Boone has been increasingly candid about the reasons why the long-delayed X-Men film is one of the first to return to theaters, saying, “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." This contractual obligation may lure moviegoers, but Williams is clear that she just wants people to "be safe."
Speaking to Variety, the actress explained that the coronavirus pandemic had changed her expectations for the film (which had been pushed back and knocked around since the Fox-Disney merger). "I did definitely think in the middle that maybe it would go straight to streaming," Williams said. "But it’s going to come out in the theater, so I hope that maybe we’ll get a good turnout. I don’t know if anyone’s really going outside."
That doubt is what Disney is testing with this release. As much as Williams would like people to finally see her long-awaited superhero film, safety is still the priority.
"I just hope that people wear masks and that cinemas are clean," Williams said. "I know there is quite an intense cleaning that happens in between films anyway. So I would hope that the extra precautions can be knitted in fairly easily to the viewing schedule. But I just hope people are safe. If people don’t feel comfortable, don’t go watch it. It’s going to come out on DVD at some point, you can watch it then."
If what Boone said is true, this theatrical window isn't just a litmus test, but also a contractual need that must be met before the film can go to streaming or home release. Which could mean those that "don't feel comfortable" may not have to wait too long to catch the film from the comfort (and safety) of their own home in the coming weeks or months.
The New Mutants hits theaters on Aug. 28.