Late last night, Deadline revealed that 20th Century Fox was in the midst of an extensive Release Date Shuffle, moving multiple films around the horizon without much explanation. Included among the casualties: Simon Kinberg's X-Men: Dark Phoenix (which we learned was being bumped to Valentine's Day of next year) and Josh Boone's long-in-the-works The New Mutants (now bumped, yet again, into next August).
Both pieces of news were met with much side-eye, and no small amount of speculation. Was The New Mutants really reshooting a chunk of the film to incorporate a new character? Had something gone wrong with Dark Phoenix, which is the first directorial effort from Kinberg? Thanks to our friends over at Collider, we now have an explanation.
In the case of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Collider says that a test screening revealed the need for additional photography, which turns out to be quite the tall order when you're wrangling together a cast of high-profile names:
"The earliest availability for everyone to return was August or September of this year, which would leave just a couple of months to complete necessary visual effects for the new scenes. That wasn’t enough time, and so Fox decided to push Dark Phoenix’s release date to February to give everyone the time necessary to complete the needed additional photography."
And as for The New Mutants, well...we'll let them tell you:
"When the film was initially delayed, it was reported that Fox wanted to do some reshoots to make the movie scarier, even going so far as to add a new character. That still holds true, and while we hear the film tested well, it’s not “scary” enough. Director Josh Boone delivered a cut of the film that he was happy with, but Fox wants this movie to stand out as tonally distinct the same way Logan and Deadpool did.
The reshoots that the studio wants are now even more significant. We’re hearing that at least 50% of the movie may be reshot, and they’re adding one or two new characters who will be present throughout the entirety of the film—this isn’t simply adding a cameo."
So, X-Men: Dark Phoenix sounds like it's dealing with the standard scheduling conflicts and time management issues that seem to impact many big-ass tentpole features, whereas The New Mutants seems to be struggling with something else entirely: creative differences, seriously extensive reshoots ("50% of the movie may be reshot") and - according to this report - an issue with Fox's first big horror-flavored X-movie not being "scary" enough.
Lots to chew on here. What do you folks think? You can read more over at Collider, or just head on down to the comments section to place your mildly-informed bets on how this is all gonna turn out.