I’ve grown kind of numb to behind-the-scenes drama. I’ve seen movies that had no leaked drama turn out to be terrible and movies with lots of behind-the-scenes drama turn out to be good. It doesn’t really seem to indicate anything either way, but it makes for an interesting story. That’s why I wasn’t really moved when we reported last week that 50% of The New Mutants was going to be reshot. For some, this signaled trouble, especially when paired with the movie getting delayed again, this time to summer 2019 when it was originally set to open next month. But these things happen, and now The Tracking Board has specified what’s going down with the film.
According to TTB, the original pitch for The New Mutants was straight horror, but when it came time to make the film, Fox was little reluctant, and had a whole squadron of writers tweaked the script to tone it down. The studio wanted a PG-13 movie that was more like a cross “between John Hughes and Stephen King”, and co-writer/director Josh Boone was a good soldier who agreed to that compromise. But then two important things happened: It became worldwide hit at the box office, and people really dug the trailer that Fox cut where The New Mutants looked like a straight-up horror movie.
At that point, Fox decided that instead of doing the three days of additional filming required to complete the YA movie that everyone had initially agreed to go make, the studio would change course and make a new version of the movie that was straight-up horror, which was what Boone and Lee originally wanted to do in the first place. It’s a little like a diner sending back a meal at a restaurant — not because there was something wrong with it, but because they simply changed their minds and wanted to order a different entrée, or movie, in this case.
Additionally, Boone reportedly shot an end-credits scene of Jon Hamm as baddie Mr. Sinister, but now that’s been cut. Antonio Banderas is now on board to play an unspecified villain (not Mr. Sinister). Additionally, early scripts included the mutant Warlock (a mutant who can assume any shape), but Fox deemed the character was too expensive.
So that’s where things currently stand with The New Mutants. Does this mean it will be a good movie or a bad movie? No one knows! The drama behind the scenes doesn’t really indicate anything either way, but I’m glad that Fox has at least warmed to letting Boone make a movie that’s in line with his original vision.
The New Mutants opens August 2, 2019.