HEAT VISION

How 'New Mutants' TV Spot Shifts Its Marketing Direction

Is the film more of a superhero movie that it has appeared?

With just weeks remaining before its release, 20th Century Studios has released a new TV spot for the long-delayed New Mutants — one that significantly changes the tone of the movie’s promotion, making it look far less like the horror movie of earlier trailers and far more like…well, a superhero movie.

It’s not simply that the 30-second spot, titled “Attitude,” debuts the characters using their powers for the first time — although longtime fans of the comic book version of the characters will be thrilled to see Sam blast off, Bobby transform into (a surprisingly fiery) Sunspot form, and Illyana use her soulsword — but that the ad leans far more into action and quips, such as they are, than any earlier promotion for the feature.

The shift is so sudden that, just last week, the “Awaken” and ”Escape” TV spots were still positioning the movie as a horror show, complete with creepy kids singing “Another Brick in the Wall” heavily drenched with reverb.

While it’s a surprise to see what feels like they should be big reveals within the movie spoiled, not even by a full trailer but instead a TV spot, the repositioning makes a lot of sense, if only from the point of view of reminding people that, at its heart, New Mutants is a superhero movie. Yes, there are horror overtones — the movie draws from the “Demon Bear” storyline in the comic series, which is as 1980s horror a story as any Stephen King novel — but the New Mutants was always a superhero comic book with occasional diversions into other, weirder, genres. This spot, then, feels curiously closer to the source material than anything that’s come before.

(Admittedly, the movie appears to be entirely missing either Doug Ramsey or Warlock, but let’s hold out hope that both characters are being saved for a sequel that will, despite all evidence to the contrary, appear should the movie be a massive hit. Some things, and some characters, are too important to be abandoned forever.)

With just over three weeks remaining before the April 3 release of the movie in theaters, it remains to be seen whether “Attitude” is closer to the actual tone of the movie or an aberration crafted to help people think of New Mutants as something closer to the successful Marvel movies than it actually is, in an attempt to help opening weekend. If the latter turns out to be the case, at least fans will have this 30-second spot to look back on as a glimpse into an alternate, brighter world.

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