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‘New Mutants’ Director Says You Can Only Go Up After ‘Dark Phoenix’ Bomb

Better to open an "X-Men" spinoff after "Dark Phoenix" than before it.

"Dark Phoenix"

“Dark Phoenix”

Fox

Josh Boone has had a tough time getting “The New Mutants” in theaters, but he’s seeing the bright side in all of the different release dates for his comic book movie. 20th Century Fox originally planned to release the film in April 2018, then the studio bumped the release date to February 2019. Fox was also juggling the “X-Men” tentpole “Dark Phoenix” at the time and ended up moving “New Mutants” to August 2019 to space out the comic book films. The Disney-Fox merger pushed “New Mutants” to April 2020, only for the coronavirus to suspend the film’s release indefinitely. Whenever “New Mutants” does get released, Boone says he’s happy it’s after “Dark Phoenix” because that film set such a low bar with critics and audiences. As Boone tells Empire (via Digital Spy), “Dark Phoenix” was “one of the worst-reviewed movies of last year.”

“Look, you can only go up after ‘Dark Phoenix,'” Boone says. “That’s not to say anything bad about the people involved, but it was what it was. Honestly, I feel less pressure now than I did ahead of [the first slated release date]. Because we’ve tested our movie so many times, and audiences have loved it.”

“Dark Phoenix” was a massive flop at the box office, a notable failure as it was one of the first Fox titles released under Disney after the acquisition. Disney CEO Bob Iger said last summer that the “Dark Phoenix” box office bomb was a big contributor to the company losing $170 million during its second quarter of 2019. Iger told reporters at the time, “The Fox studio performance was well below where it had been and well below where we’d hoped it would be when we made the acquisition.”

Boone’s “New Mutants” will be the last “X-Men” movie released that was developed by 20th Century Fox (which is now 20th Century Studios under Disney). The Disney acquisition means Marvel can now incorporate X-Men characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so none of the cast members who played mutants in “Dark Phoenix” are expected to return in the MCU (so long, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender). As for “The New Mutants,” Disney remains committed to releasing the film in theaters and not just putting the comic book film on its streaming platform Disney+. No release date for the project has been announced.

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