Late Monday night, 20th Century Fox announced new release dates for two of its upcoming X-Men movies. According to the Tracking Board, X-Men: Dark Phoenix was shifted from Nov. 2, 2018 to Feb. 14, 2019, while New Mutants was delayed for a second time, from Feb. 22, 2019 all the way to Aug. 2, 2019 — and this after the movie was originally supposed to open next month.
New Mutants, which is directed by Josh Boone, has been going into major reshoots but that still doesn’t explain why audiences will have to wait another six months to see it. Even rumors that the movie — which stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Maisie Williams and Alice Braga — is in a lot of trouble don’t necessarily explain the protracted wait for its release.
The release date shift for Dark Phoenix — directed by Simon Kinberg and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Sophie Turner and Jessica Chastain — is not as drastic but is still fuel for speculation about what exactly Fox is doing with the X-franchise at this point.
Could Fox be pushing the movies farther into the future so that they fall under the purview of Disney, should the sale of Fox to the Mouse House go through as proposed? If the merger clears federal regulatory hurdles, Fox could be folded into the Disney empire by early 2019 — right when Dark Phoenix is now slated to arrive. The Tracking Board even suggests that New Mutants could end up premiering on Disney’s new streaming service and bypass a theatrical release altogether.
While the news may be disappointing to X-fans , there is a silver lining if you’re eagerly anticipating Fox’s Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. That film, starring Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) and formerly directed by Bryan Singer (Dexter Fletcher has now taken over), will now open on Dark Phoenix’s old release date of Nov. 2 later this year, moving up from Christmas Day.
All this could be the earliest ramifications of the Disney/Fox sale, but it remains to be seen whether these moves impact the quality of the films themselves. All we know now is that after Deadpool 2 opens in April, it’s going to be a long wait until we see the next X-Men-based movie from Fox.