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New Mutants Opening Weekend Box Office Is Biggest Since U.S. Theaters Reopened


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Disney's New Mutants has debuted with the biggest opening weekend box office since theaters reopened following the coronavirus pandemic. The long-delayed movie, shot in 2017 and originally scheduled to be released in 2018, finally got its cinema release on Friday. Unfortunately the behind-the-scenes drama seems to have affected the final outcome of the movie, with critics mauling it. So far New Mutants is the worst reviewed X-Men movie released to date, beating out franchise killer X-Men: Dark Phoenix for that dubious honor.

The drama didn't start there though, with reports that Fox was so disappointed in the first cut that some executives floated the idea of reshooting the entire movie. In the end, major restructuring took place, with director Josh Boone saying that he tweaked the movie further once Fox was acquired by Disney. The drama has continued following the movie's release, with Bob McLeod, who co-created the characters for Marvel, slamming New Mutants for not only whitewashing the role of Sunspot but also for spelling his name wrong in the credits. However, there is some good news for the movie among all the doom and gloom.

Early reports, via Deadline, suggest that audiences came out to see New Mutants in unexpected numbers. The movie made $3 million on Friday, making it the biggest opening day haul of any new release in North America since theaters reopened. By comparison, Russell Crowe's road rage thriller Unhinged, which was released two weeks ago, made just over $600,000 in its opening weekend. There were less theaters open at the time, but the uptick in ticket sales is significant. UPDATE: New Mutants has since posted $7 million at the weekend box office, according to 20th Century Pictures.
 

New Mutants' haul might seem small when compared to major hits of previous years, where films like Avengers: Endgame made over 100 times the amount in its first weekend. However in the context of the time, with many theaters operating with reduced capacity, and major markets like California and New York still enforcing the closure of cinemas, the $3 million opening is actually something of a victory for the superhero movie.

It's also a sign that fans, frustrated by being stuck at home throughout the summer, are willing to get out and watch new releases in theaters, despite the inherent risks. The news is positive for the industry at large, and predicts a solid opening for Christopher Nolan's Tenet next weekend, which will open on more screens than New Mutants and has a bigger built-in audience thanks to the popularity of the visionary director's work.

The record New Mutants just set is likely to be broken next week, then, considering how well Tenet has done in other countries, but the signs are promising that the cinema experience is still alive and well. Of course, that comes with the downside that the unexpected influx of audiences to cinemas may cause a second wave of coronavirus cases across the USA. We'll have to wait and see if it has an impact or not.

New Mutants (2020)
Release Date: Aug 28, 2020

 

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