Is It a Good Thing That “Dark Phoenix” and “New Mutants” Have Been Delayed?

Matthew Loffhagen
20th Century Fox
(Photo: 20th Century Fox)

20th Century Fox is having a reshuffle of its upcoming “X-Men” movies, and both “Dark Phoenix” and “New Mutants” will be delayed.

Where “Dark Phoenix” was meant to debut in theaters this November, it will instead be pushed back to February 14 2019, a little under three years after the release of the abysmal “X-Men: Apocalypse”, and two years to the day after the release of “Deadpool”.

Meanwhile, “New Mutants”, an attempt at bringing horror to this universe, is sliding back from February 22 2019 to August 19.

There’s no specific reason given for these delays, but it’s easy to guess – likely, the production schedule for the two films was initially too ambitious, and reshoots are needed in order to fix the story in both cases.

This is enough to set off warning bells in the heads of anyone who follows the movie industry. Reshoots are a typical part of any film’s development, but generally speaking, the lengthier the reshoots, and the more of the movie that needs to be reworked, the less coherent the finished film will be.

New Mutants
Source: 20th Century Fox

“Suicide Squad” had lengthy reshoots. So did “Justice League”. Fox’s “Fantastic Four” reboot famously suffered from such horrendous post production that the entire film’s cohesion fell apart.

Considering how desperate Fox is to get these two movies done right, and avoid the problems from “X-Men: Apocalypse”, it’s logical that the studio will be trying to micromanage things in order to make a movie that stands the best chance of connecting with audiences.

In practice, this almost always ends in disaster. Sometimes, a bad movie is better than a Frankenstein attempt to stitch in completely new parts of a second story in order to make the original narrative more engaging.

At the same time, it’s great news that Fox isn’t rushing these movies. The studio is taking the time necessary to get things right for the two big tentpole films, and that could result in far better movies, if it means that things aren’t being thrown together in a haphazard fashion to meet tight release schedules.

New Mutants Havok and Cannonball
Source: 20th Century Fox

Besides, it’s not always the case that a reshot movie will tank. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is the rare exception that proves that, every now and then, a Frankenstein film can work out just fine, even if it doesn’t make any lasting impression on moviegoing culture as a whole.

It’s too soon to tell whether Fox has made the right call in delaying these films. Considering the erratic decisions that the studio’s heads have made in the past, this doesn’t seem like good news, but there’s every chance that things could work out for the best.

This may all be irrelevant either way. With Disney poised to buy out the entire company, these movies might never actually kick off new “X-Men” franchises after all, making all this additional work a little less worthwhile.