For all intents and purposes, the Fox ‘X-Men’ cinematic universe died with “Dark Phoenix” last summer. However, it appears that Disney is now actually going to release the last remnant of that era of filmmaking, “The New Mutants,” in theaters this April. And judging by the first box office predictions, it sounds as if the last hurrah of the Fox/Marvel film series is going to go out with a whimper instead of a bang.
According to Box Office Pro, the early estimates for opening weekend gross of “The New Mutants” is between $15 million and $25 million. Obviously, that would be a record-low for the ‘X-Men’ franchise, which saw “Dark Phoenix” set that record last year with a $33 million opening. If that prediction pans out, and “The New Mutants” falls in the high-teens, low-20s, the film could be looking at a total domestic gross of less than $50 million, which again would be far less than the previous record-low of $65 million by, you guessed it, last year’s “Dark Phoenix.”
That being said, the idea that “The New Mutants” is going to set these records is far from shocking. In fact, you could argue that Disney is probably anticipating nothing more than those numbers. After the long, dramatic post-production cycle that saw the film delayed from April 2018 to now, the studio is probably happy to make any money off of one of its Fox purchases.
Remember, “The New Mutants” finished principal photography well before Fox and Disney were made into one studio. That means Fox is on the hook for the money spent, so it’s not like Disney is going to lose a ton of money on “The New Mutants.” (Obviously, the studio will spend millions on marketing and whatnot, but that pales in comparison to the budget.) We should also keep in mind that the massive reshoots that Fox was planning for the film, which was rumored to include a brand-new CGI character and a complete overhaul of the plot, were never completed.
Or, as director Josh Boone has stated, this version of “The New Mutants” is in line with his original vision. Whether or not fans will agree with Fox that the vision needed some adjusting is left to be determined.
So, all of this to say— “The New Mutants” is not going to be a huge blockbuster film. If anything, there will be plenty of folks talking about how the film performs poorly compared to previous ‘X-Men’ films. But those takes, while hot, are not completely true. Disney is clearly dumping its last remaining Fox/Marvel project, hoping to recoup any money it can with a minimal marketing campaign that will likely not emphasize the Marvel of it all. And if it makes some cash, then cool.
“The New Mutants” will hit theaters on April 3.