‘The New Mutants’ is Never Coming Out, But How Important are Theaters Anyway?

Disney has delayed The New Mutants, the final Fox-produced X-Men film yet again, this time because of the coronavirus. This is the fourth time the titles has been delayed, and it was originally scheduled to come out in April 2018. By the time this movie is seen by the public its spunky teen stars like Maisie Williams will be geriatric.

If you’re not familiar with the property, The New Mutants was sort of like the junior X-Men when the X-Men had become adults (except Kitty Pryde). The movie features most of the cast from comics, notably Magik, the sister of Colossus from the Deadpool films. The only character missing is Karma, one of the most high-profile LGBT characters in the X-Men comics, even though the film centers on a lesbian love story.

We have been waiting two years to see this film and in that time there have been plenty of rumors that the film would skip a theatrical release altogether. This is seeming like a much better idea with the coronavirus looming. But it makes me question why we even have theatrical releases for movies at all.

I’ve all but stopped seeing movies in the theater and frankly, I’m happier this way. What movie is really enhanced by getting in a car, driving to theater, paying $12 and sitting in a crowded theater with a bunch of people who may or may not be having sex in the back rows? Wouldn’t you rather just stay in your pajamas and watch that film on Netflix?

Sure, it’s all about the experience, but the main thing people are seeing in theaters are Marvel movies and I have had that experience literally twenty-three times so far. I don’t need the experience anymore. We all had the experience of seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in the theater and much preferred watching The Mandalorian on Disney+.

The movie theater experience has been outdated for a while now, but the advent of 4K HD home streaming should really be the final nail in that coffin. Movie theaters weren’t even really built to sell you movies; they were built to sell you air conditioning. That’s why they showed cartoons and Republic serials between films and you could just buy a ticket and stay as long as you wanted. Sure, the movies were always a part of the appeal, but a big part of theaters was that they were a cheap place to go and be comfortable in a time when home air conditioning wasn’t very widely available.

Now that we can get the air conditioning and the movies at home, why are we going to the theater at all? Especially to see The New Mutants? Casting the girl from Game of Thrones and one of the guys from Stranger Things just highlights that we are no longer getting anything out of this experience that wouldn’t be cheaper, safer and ultimately more enjoyable to just do at home. Did anyone watch The Irishman on Netflix and say “well, that was a great three hours, but I really wish I could have spent it cramped next to a fat guy stuffing his face with Raisinettes”?

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