Both films were announced years ago and released three months apart, but The Croods: A New Age made twice as The New Mutants on opening weekend.
By typical movie standards, The Croods: A New Age and The New Mutants both had insane delays in production, yet the Croods sequel has already done far better at the box office than New Mutants. The Croods sequel was first announced in 2013 – the same year that the first Croods movie was released. The New Mutants was picked up by Fox in 2015, with Josh Boone set to direct the X-Men comic spinoff film. The two films premiered just a few months apart, with New Mutants hitting theaters on August 28th, 2020, and Croods 2 having premiered almost exactly three months later on November 25th, 2020. But even though the two films had similar production timelines, they were delayed for different reasons and had very different opening weekends at the box office.
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New Mutants, which was re-written after the failure of X-Men: Apocalypse, began filming in July 2017 with a release planned for April 2018. During production, director Josh Boone was reportedly “forced to tone down the violence,” but after the success of It, Fox decided to allow Boone to make his horror-filled YA film [via The Tracking Board]. However, the reshoots planned for 2018 were delayed and then Disney acquired Fox in March 2019, causing yet another shakeup in production, and leading to speculation that The New Mutants might enter the MCU. When all was said and done, no reshoots were completed for New Mutants, and the film was finished on March 7, 2020 – right when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S, closing theaters and delaying the release of New Mutants yet again. Croods 2 faced a similar shift in ownership, with NBC Universal’s purchase of Dreamworks in 2017. Croods 2 was originally scheduled to release later that year, but the film had actually been canceled in 2016. Universal brought it back in September 2017 and gave it a new release date of September 18, 2020, meaning the film was technically only delayed by another three months – it just took forever to make.
After both films were finally released in late 2020, one film clearly outperformed the other at the box office in their opening weekends. The Croods: A New Age more than doubled The New Mutant’s U.S. opening, making $14.22 million and $7 million, respectively. It should be noted, however, that the numbers being reported for Croods 2 includes the film’s first five days in theaters, versus the opening weekend numbers for The New Mutants, which appear to include only the first three days at the box office. That said, even if two more days of sales were added to The New Mutants’ total, the film’s opening would still not break $8 million or come close to competing with Croods 2, though New Mutants is doing well on streaming platforms and could make up some of its box office losses.
The New Mutants had hoped that its three-year delay might have built anticipation for the film, but it underperformed even the reduced expectations of an opening during the pandemic. On the other hand, Croods 2 always had the benefit of being a children’s animated film, which tends to do well at the box office simply because they’re always in demand. Croods 2’s strong opening weekend was likely bolstered by the Thanksgiving holiday – a weekend when family films have historically done well – and it’s even on track to beat Tenet over the course of its box office run.
Despite high box office hopes from both of their production companies, Croods 2 has managed to surprise analysts with its strong opening weekend while The New Mutants was largely a disappointment. Though the critical receptions for both films have been mixed, Croods 2 seems to have a slight edge on that front as well. However, some reviews for both films sound strikingly similar, with the consensus being that The Croods: A New Age and The New Mutants are both passable films that aren’t as bad as one might expect when considering the incredible delays they both faced.
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