At one point, 20th Century Fox was planning on releasing three X-Men movies this year, The New Mutants, Deadpool 2 and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. But now it will only be one. Earlier this year, the studio pushed The New Mutants from April 13, 2018 to February 22, 2019, and now it’s getting pushed again to August 20, 2019, while X-Men: Dark Phoenix is pushed from its plum November 2, 2018 slot to a Thursday slot on February 14, 2019. The studio has also pushed the highly-anticipated Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody from its Christmas Day release to November 2, 2018.
As of now, that leaves Christmas Day rather wide open, with just Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns slated for release on that date. Warner Bros. also set that date as a placeholder for an untitled “event film” but since there is no indication as to what that may be yet, it may ultimately just get taken off the schedule. A musical biopic like Bohemian Rhapsody going up against a sequel to an iconic musical like Mary Poppins on Christmas Day may not have fared well for the former, so its push to November 2 may be a wise move, although it faces another Disney musical, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms on that date. Still, Bohemian Rhapsody would also have to contend with a competitive holiday season that also includes Universal’s Mortal Engines, Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on December 14, and 20th Century Fox’s Alita: Battle Angel, Warner Bros. Aquaman, Paramount’s Bumblebee and Sony’s Holmes and Watson on December 21.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which wrapped production last October under first-time director and longtime X-Men producer/writer Simon Kinberg, will now go up against Warner Bros.’ Isn’t It Romantic and an untitled Blumhouse project on Valentine’s Day 2019, with Paramount’s Instant Family arriving on Friday, February 15. There will be less competition for Dark Phoenix on this date, and, as Marvel’s Black Panther ($631.3 million domestic, $1.239 billion worldwide) and 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool ($363 million domestic, $783.1 million worldwide) have proven, superhero movies can succeed in February. Dark Phoenix is set in the 1990s, a decade after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse, bringing back X-Men prequel trilogy stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, along with franchise newcomer Jessica Chastain.
The New Mutants delay is perhaps even more surprising, considering it was already pushed by 10 months from April 2018 to February 2019, but now in its new August 2, 2019 date, it will go up against Paramount’s Dora the Explorer and an untitled Warner Bros. event film. It will also be sandwiched between two highly-anticipated projects, Universal’s Fast & Furious Spin-Off and Paramount’s Terminator sequel on July 26, 2019, and Disney’s Artemis Fowl and Sony’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the ninth film from director Quentin Tarantino, on August 9, 2019. Director Josh Boone has gone through heavy reshoots, with a cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, and Alice Braga.
20th Century Fox has also taken its crime thriller The Force off its release schedule, having previously been scheduled for March 1, 2019. This move isn’t entirely surprising, since Scott Frank was recently brought on to rewrite the script, which reunites him with Logan director James Mangold, who is attached to direct The Force, based on Don Winslow’s best-selling novel. Variety reports that the studio has moved The Kid Who Would Be King from its previous date of February 14, 2019 to The Force‘s slot of March 1, 2019.