April 29: Drop A Bomb — Please share your favorite critical and financial flop with us!
The thirteenth and final X-Men movie before Disney took over the franchise, New Mutants feels like an orphan, a movie that had no chance and that kept coming up against a corporate buyout, COVID-19, three years of off and on production and reshoots.
For what it’s worth, Disney claimed they never saw any box office in this movie, a film that TheFaulty In Our Stars director Josh Boone and writer Knate Lee called “Stephen King meets John Hughes-style horror.” To be fair, Boone was a big fan of the original comics, remixing his own comic book using panels from the Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz era of New Mutants as a proof of concept for what a film trilogy could be. He even sent a copy to Sienkiewicz, who said that the director had it figured out and wasn’t just ripping off his work.
Boone also saw the film’s Demon Bear villain as one he had real emotional ties to, as he was Evangelical Southern Baptist parents: “…they believed in the rapture; they believed the devil was real; they believed in demons.” Another influence that made me laugh was A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, because if anything, that movie completely rips off the feel of the New Mutants comics, which came out four years before Craven’s movie.
The New Mutants who show up are Danielle Moonstar / Mirage, who is played by Blu Hunt and the film’s lead; Anya Taylor-Joy is Illyana Rasputin / Magik, the daughter of X-Man Colossus, yet the comic connections are downplayed; Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) is Rahne Sinclair / Wolfsbane; Henry Zaga is Roberto da Costa / Sunspot and Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers from Stranger Things) is Sam Guthrie / Cannonball. They’re guided by Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) yet trapped in a facility that they believe is provided by Professor X. The truth is much more sinister. Literally, as she’s working for the Essex Corporation, which is probably X-Men villain Mr. Sinister.
It feels like this movie had no chance, but I really liked it. I mean, Lockheed the dragon shows up, Magik’s Soulsword looks great and the horror story works. I wish the sequels — Warlock would be played by Sascha Baron Cohen and the Inferno storyline would be the third movie — had been made, but as Disney took over the property, no one seemed interested in the success of this movie.