‘X-Men’ spin-off movie ‘The New Mutants’ is reportedly in limbo as the Disney-Fox merger looms

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“The New Mutants”
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Fox

  • The “X-Men” spin-off movie, “The New Mutants,” is in limbo just five months ahead of its scheduled theatrical release as the Disney-Fox merger looms, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • The movie faced a troubled production and its release was pushed back twice (it was originally set for April 2018).
  • If the movie’s theatrical release is in danger, could it debut on Disney+ or Hulu?

“Dark Phoenix” isn’t the only “X-Men” movie expected to hit theaters this year, but you may not have heard of the second one.

“The New Mutants,” an “X-Men” spin-off directed by “The Fault in Our Stars” director Josh Boone, about a group of teenagers struggling to adapt to their mutant powers while trapped in a secret facility, is scheduled for release on August 2. The release date has been pushed back twice after a troubled production. Originally set for release in April 2018, it was moved to February 2019, and then moved again to August because of reshoots.

But new questions have been raised about its fate as the studio behind the movie, Fox, prepares to merge with Disney. Disney bought Fox for $71 billion last year, and the deal is anticipated to close early this year.

READ MORE: ‘Dark Phoenix’ could transition the ‘X-Men’ franchise into the Disney era, but don’t expect a teaser in ‘Avengers: Endgame’

The expected reshoots haven’t yet been completed, and “things seem to be in the hands of Boone,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, which cited anonymous sources. THR also wrote that the movie “appears to be in limbo currently.”

Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The first and only trailer for the movie was released in 2017, and is the only footage released so far. The movie’s social-media accounts have also been silent since early January. The last posts on its official Instagram and Facebook pages were January 8, and the last tweet from its Twitter was on January 11.

The signs suggest that the theatrical release for “The New Mutants” is in danger. So what happens then?

In a perfect world, “The New Mutants” could be an ideal transition from Fox’s 20-year-old “X-Men” franchise to the Disney era, which will likely see the series rebooted with a new cast (though it remains to be seen how Disney and Marvel will utilize the characters). “The New Mutants” follows a brand-new cast of characters audiences haven’t seen before, including “Game of Thrones” star Maisie Williams as Wolfsbane and “Stranger Things” actor Charlie Heaton as Cannonball.

But it also features a tone and genre new to the franchise. Heaton has described it as a “full-fledged … horror X-Men movie.”

Disney is launching its own streaming platform later this year called Disney+, which could serve as a home for the movie if the theatrical release doesn’t pan out. But the prospect of a movie like this potentially debuting on Disney+ goes against the image Disney is expected to promote for the service.

The New York Times reported last year that the service would feature family-friendly content and no R-rated movies in an attempt to break out in a crowded field of streaming platforms.

That doesn’t mean Disney will abandon the project. Disney CEO Bob Iger recently said that Disney would be open to making R-rated and mature movies, like “Deadpool,” after the Fox merger as long as they were branded correctly. It just might not release them on Disney+.

With the tone described by Heaton, the movie might be a better fit on Hulu. Disney will own 60% of Hulu once the Fox deal closes, and the service is already in the Marvel business (it’s the home of Marvel’s “Runaways,” and just landed a deal for four animated Marvel TV shows).

The movie’s producer Lauren Shuler Donner isn’t a fan of that possibility, though.

“I want to see it released,” she said during a Television Critics Association panel last month. “I’d hate to see it thrown at Hulu.”

Have a tip about Marvel, the Disney/Fox merger, or anything else? Email the author at tclark@businessinsider.com.