It actually, finally happened: The New Mutants arrived in (some) theaters last weekend, approximately three years after production began on the final film in Fox’s X-Men universe. After enduring repeated delays, release date changes, having its parent studio acquired by Disney, and a global pandemic that forced the shutdown of movie theaters, Josh Boone’s horror-inspired comic book film was put out of its misery with a $7 million opening weekend and a plethora of negative reviews—and honestly, it could’ve done much worse. (On the other hand, this tweet from co-star Maisie Williams suggests The New Mutants has yet to truly suffer its final indignity. A GIRL SPILLS THE TEA. A GIRL HAS NO ALLEGIANCE.)
Now, it would stand to reason that since the film is official property of Disney, that The New Mutants would make its streaming debut on Hulu—which the company has been using as a repository for more adult-friendly content, as evidenced by the radical anti-butt stance taken by Disney+. But a report from The Wrap reveals that The New Mutants will actually debut first on HBO Max, and the reason is probably along the lines of what you’re assuming: HBO and Fox have a contractual agreement that grants the former first-run TV rights to the latter’s film releases. That deal doesn’t expire until 2022, which means The New Mutants—like Deadpool and Dark Phoenix before it—will eventually premiere on HBO and HBO Max. So there’s that.