After closing down unilaterally back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, movie theaters have begun to reopen around the country. AMC's grand reopening was the weekend of Aug. 21; more will join in on Aug. 28. Along with them, movies are starting to have theatrical debuts again. Unhinged opened along with AMC's return, followed by New Mutants at the end of August. The latter is a 20th Century Fox film made in 2017, now under Disney's control since the merger. The long wait has made fans itchy to check it out, but one of the film's stars, Maisie Williams has advice for watching The New Mutants that's a reminder viewers need to be cautious.
The saga of The New Mutants' road to theaters is one worthy of its own film. Fox originally envisioned it as a "genre film that happens to star X-Men characters" in the vein of success stories like Logan and Deadpool. But a small delay from the original premiere date of February 2018 to April suddenly stretched years when Disney and Fox went into merger talks. As Disney had bought out Marvel years before, the situation was complicated, creating conflicts of interest with Fox's releasing of licensed films under that franchise banner. It forced both New Mutants and Dark Phoenix to be shelved for the time being.
Dark Phoenix finally made it to theaters in 2019, but New Mutants was rescheduled for April of 2020, a traditional time for horror films to hit theaters. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic had other ideas, pushing the film back to the end of August, where it's just so happened to have selected a date just after theaters reopened.
But though theaters are open, the pandemic isn't over. Williams, who stars in the movie as Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane, admitted she is glad the movie is getting a theatrical opening instead of being consigned to streaming. But she wants fans to be careful if they choose to go see it.
Speaking to Variety in an Aug. 27 interview, Williams said:
I just hope that people wear masks and that cinemas are clean. 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.
Theaters have made mask-wearing mandatory, and websites like AMC's tout safety precautions. Even so, pandemic conditions still vary widely state by state, and fans have to consider whether the circumstances are right for them. Williams is right; eventually, New Mutants will be on streaming and DVD. So, if you don't feel comfortable sitting in a theater with strangers, the best choice is to wait to watch it from the comfort (and safety) of home.
The New Mutants premieres on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.