Critics refusing to review The New Mutants because of unsafe viewing options

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

THE NEW MUTANTS is FINALLY hitting screens this weekend after years of delays. While some critics have weighed in on the film, most notably "The Hollywood Reporter", a growing number of publications are refusing to have their critics review the film until safer screening options are made available.

"The A.V. Club", "The Boston Globe", and "" are among some of the sites who have stated they will not be reviewing THE NEW MUTANTS ahead of its release. This has to do with the fact that Disney is not offering socially distanced press screenings in advance, nor are they sending out review links for the movie to be viewed at home. The only options available to these publications are to have a critic sent to a public screening which would put them out with crowds, albeit at a limited capacity, at chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark. Brian Tallerico of "" had this to say about the matter:

"We also will not have a review of 'The New Mutants' because there's no safe way to do so. We will review theatrical releases when presented with a safe way to do so, screener or socially distanced screening, but that's not an option in this case."

A.A. Dowd of "The A.V. Club" was the first person to be vocal about the lack of safe viewing options to have a review of THE NEW MUTANTS up and running. Disney hasn't revealed why they aren't offering socially distanced press screenings or review links for reviews, although with the latter they could be worried about leaks. Whatever the reason, Dowd didn't mince words when it came to their stance at "The A.V. Club:"

"Science experts did not mince words: There's a very good chance you could get sick. And that's a risk the A.V. Club will not be taking to review a movie, any movie. We are, in fact, adopting the official policy of only reviewing films our writers can safely watch, whether in a socially distanced press screening or with a digital screener. And yes, that applies to all our writers, even those willing to take the risk for an assignment, because we're not willing to monetize that risk, either."

Although THE NEW MUTANTS is being used as the example here, this could be an issue for any major release moving forward that doesn't offer up safe viewing options for their films ahead of their release for critics. Some critics in the country are having trouble viewing TENET ahead of its release and while a lot of reviews of the film have been posted, a lot of them are from overseas publications where TENET rolled out earlier. It seems like seeing TENET is far easier than seeing THE NEW MUTANTS since there hasn't been a ton of complaints about this issue until now but studios may want to look at what Disney is doing here and do what they can to get critics an option to review their films in the safest way possible. It's not like Disney hasn't sent out review links before. The Mouse House has been doing so for Disney+ releases so why not do it for THE NEW MUTANTS? I guess these could save any studio from bad reviews being published but you also miss the boat on glowing reviews that may make reluctant moviegoers more willing to go see the film. 

I also thought that this portion from "The Hollywood Reporter" review was very telling. Their critics did not see the film in the States and the review does point to Disney not providing the proper screening options to see the film during a global pandemic:

"To further complicate matters, Disney did not provide screening links or a COVID-safe screening room for U.S. critics, some of whom are now refusing to review it. (In my case, I saw the film in a movie theatre in central Paris on the morning the French Prime Minister announced that masks would now be mandatory in cinemas. Most people wore masks at the screening — protective masks and not X-Men masks.)"

I'm still rooting for THE NEW MUTANTS though and if critics don't get to see it and review it, I hope moviegoers that come out for the film this weekend share their thoughts, good or bad, across social media. At this point, the film deserves to just finally have its chance to be viewed. THE NEW MUTANTS, directed by Josh Boone and starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga, hits screens this weekend on August 28, 2020.

NOTE: Our review of THE NEW MUTANTS will be up tomorrow as our primary reviewer is not located in the U.S. and circumstances to view the film are a bit different. That being said, whether you're a critic or just a casual moviegoer, do what's best for you when it comes to viewing films during this crazy time. Stay safe and stay healthy!

Do YOU agree with the critics refusing to review the film until safer options are made available?

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