“The New Mutants,” the long-delayed superhero movie from 20th Century Studios that’s set in the X-Men universe and stars Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy, made $750,000 in Thursday night previews as audiences returned to the box office in earnest for one of the first times in months.
In all, just 62% of the domestic marketplace of movie theaters is open across the country, and “The New Mutants” did not play in California, New York, New Jersey, Arizona (partial), North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, New Mexico and in major cities such as Seattle, Miami, Portland and Philadelphia. The film did however open in some drive-in theaters, including in a special showing on Thursday evening at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Not to mention, Hurricane Laura making landfall in Houston as well as in Louisiana and Arkansas further limited the number of theaters that were open.
And these numbers are of course with additional social distancing protocols in place, including theaters that are at most 50% filled to capacity.
Disney notes that these are historic circumstances for opening any movie but points to other recent releases such as “Stuber,” which made $750K in July of last year and went on to an $8.2 million opening weekend. The horror film “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” also opened in August of last year and made $500K in previews before having a three-day opening weekend of $8.4 million.
Anticipation is also high for “The New Mutants,” as fans will tell you that the movie has been delayed multiple times dating all the way back to 2018 before the Disney-Fox merger, with some wondering if the film would ever be released, if not just debut online during the pandemic.
Current polling suggests that 40% of moviegoers are comfortable returning to theaters immediately, and for those that do, their options will be limited to “The New Mutants,” the Russell Crowe thriller “Unhinged” that opened earlier in the month, and “Bill & Ted Face the Music.”
“The New Mutants” is directed by Josh Boone and is a horror-twist on the superhero genre, focusing on five teenage mutants who are discovering their powers while being held in a secret facility, only to find out that they’re being held against their will and the intentions of the staff there are not what they seem. The mutants then work together to use their powers to fight back against the facility and against their past sins.
Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga and Alice Braga star in the film. Disney did not make “The New Mutants” widely available to critics, but a few enterprising critics, 12 in all, have saddled the movie with just a 25% score on Rotten Tomatoes at time of writing.