Movie Critics Refuse to Review ‘New Mutants’ on Disney’s Dangerous Shot

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The only way for film critics to see “The New Mutants” again is to attend a public screening, but it remains a serious health risk.

Film publications such as The AV Club, The Boston Globe and RogerEbert.com will not review Disney’s “The New Mutants” this week after the studio did not make screening links available or offer screenings of social distancing press to film critics. IndieWire is also refusing to review the film for these reasons. The only option Disney is giving critics to rewatch “The New Mutants” is to attend public screenings, which remains a health risk amid the coronavirus pandemic. Most theaters allow moviegoers to not wear masks when eating or drinking concession items, for example.

AV Club AA Dowd Movie Review published an essay the morning of August 25 explaining the publication’s decision not to review the film, noting scientific experts who confirm that going to the cinema remains one of the most dangerous activities to do during the pandemic.

“[Science experts] didn’t mince words: there’s a good chance you’ll get sick. And it’s a risk the AV Club won’t take to review a movie, any movie,” Dowd wrote. “We are, in fact, adopting the official policy of only reviewing films that our writers can safely watch, whether in a socially distanced press screening or with a digital screen. And yes, this applies to all of our writers, even those willing to risk an assignment, because we don’t want to monetize that risk either.

Brian Tallerico, Editor-in-Chief of RogerEbert.com, followed up with his own statement, writing on Twitter, “We also won’t have a review of ‘The New Mutants’ because there’s no sure way to do that. . We will look at theatrical releases when presented with a safe way to do so – screening or social distancing screening – but that is not an option in this case.

Tallerico noted that RogerEbert.com may review the film once it becomes available on VOD platforms. Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr also took to Twitter to announce that the publication would not be reviewing “The New Mutants” this week.

It’s not unusual for movie studios not to screen movies in advance for reviews, especially titles that the studios know are destined for poor reviews. That seems to be the case for the much-delayed “The New Mutants,” an X-Men spinoff from writer-director Josh Boone that stars Charlie Heaton, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Maisie Williams. Before the coronavirus, film publications would have had no problem sending reviews to public screenings in order to rewatch “The New Mutants.” As Dowd noted in his essay, “these are not normal times” and such a decision is dangerous.

Unlike “The New Mutants”, Warner Bros. held socially distanced press screenings for ‘Tenet’ in London and thus a handful of reviews posted online in the past week. Even then, however, publications such as The Los Angeles Times and IndieWire attached warnings to critics encouraging moviegoers “to follow safety precautions provided by the CDC and health authorities” before going to the movies.

IndieWire has contacted Disney for further comment.

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