Three years after it was shot, the X-Men spin-off New Mutants was released to timid buzz and rotten reviews on Friday. There was a point during its production, however, that 20th Century Fox was so disappointed in the film that the studio was contemplating restarting from scratch.
A report by Vulture takes us into the troubled production, which serves as the final X-Men film from Fox, after its takeover by Disney. “Once principal photography was finished, Fox was so displeased with the initial cut the studio discussed throwing the entire movie out to ‘start over’ with a total reshoot,” the report says. “It was understood this was going to be X-Men at a price,” the report quotes a source as saying. “Deadpool had come out and was such a hit. It was sort of like, ‘What would an X-Men movie look like if it was hard-R, broke down some walls, was kind of meta, but it was also like a teen-horror flick with a John Hughes sensibility?’”
Director Josh Boone’s pitch frequently left executives scratching their heads. An early draft of the script subverted famous characters. “She was their sadistic jailer,” said one source about Storm. “It felt like the kids were being tortured. If the X-Men are holding [the young mutants] there, it can’t feel different from the mental furniture that audiences bring into the theatre knowing that the X-Men are good guys. Storm like that made no sense.”
To course correct a project that the studio sensed was going off the rails, it hired everyone from Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber — the writers of Boone’s previous film, The Fault in Our Stars — and Chad Hayes and Corey Hayes, the writers of The Conjuring. Boone continued to reject new suggestions. “There was this pattern where it would be Josh, then someone. Then Josh, then someone. Then Josh. That went back and forth,” the source said.
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Boone and the studio have gone on record to say that no reshoots were held on the film. He told EW, “I’ll tell you this: If there hadn’t been a merger, I’m sure we would’ve done reshoots the same way every movie does pickups. We didn’t even do that, because by the time the merger was done and everything was settled, everybody’s older.”
But the studio wasn’t pleased with the film. “You could throw the movie out, start over, and it would still be the least expensive X-Men movie so far,” three sources recalled a high-ranking executive as saying. The film, starring Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton and others was not screened for the press in the US, and currently sits at a 22% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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