The future of the Fantastic Four franchise is not bright. 20th Century Fox spent 120 million dollars to produce a reboot of Marvel’s longest running superhero team. Early estimates put the opening weekend box office at well below $40 million.
Director Josh Trank has spoken out against the studio meddling with his vision of Fantastic Four. As reported at comicbookmovies.com, Fox cut out 3 action set pieces days before filming, took over the third act from Trank and removed the director from the editing room.
Currently, Fantastic Four (2015) is scoring 9% on Rotten Tomato’s critical consensus, the audience score is at 28%. I’ll reserve judgement on the movie until I’ve seen it myself.
Here are five options on how the studio can handle the Fantastic Four property. We’ll discuss the pros & cons and the probability of each option.
1. Put the Fantastic Four Out of its Misery
Fox has proven multiple times that they just can’t get the Fantastic Four right. Could it be time for the studio to cut their losses? Three strikes and you’re out? If Fox doesn’t produce another Fantastic Four film, the cinematic rights will eventually revert back to Marvel and parent company Disney. It’s unlikely Fox would let go of this property, which in the right hands could be a potential blockbuster franchise, but it’s not unprecedented. After passing on a Daredevil reboot, Fox relinquished the rights to Marvel who went on to produce a critically acclaimed and fan favorite Netflix series.
2. Roll the Dice on a Sequel
A sequel to Fantastic Four is scheduled to be released on July 9, 2017. With a fresh vision, great script, and the right director, Fantastic Four could be the franchise fans want to see. And if given good material, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller are great, potential A-list actors. But isn’t that what the 2015 reboot was supposed to be? Another big problem is that each of the Fantastic Four films have had progressively weaker box office openings. To invest another $120 million to produce a respectable sequel, properly market it this time and turn moviegoers’ sentiment around is a long stretch. Fox is already dipping deep into their pocket books by investing over $150 million to make Channing Tatum’s Gambit movie. Let’s hope Gambit doesn’t explode in their face. Don’t be too surprised if the sequel date is pushed back and becomes stuck in studio limbo.
3. Team Up with Marvel Studios
Fox working with Marvel Studios will not happen. There is no love loss between the two companies. Fox has painted themselves into a corner because it doesn’t make a whole lot of economic sense to go all in for a direct sequel or another reboot at this time. Movies fans make their voices heard the most at the box office and they have spoken. The best case scenario for Marvel is that they get back the rights to Fantastic Four. There is little if no upside for MCU to crossover with Fox’s Fantastic Four. Even if Marvel had a working relationship with Fox like they do with Sony, they would want to put their own stamp on the Fantastic Four without interference.
4. Fantastic Four Crossover with X-Men
On the strength of Days Of Future Past, Fox’s X-Men franchise is currently bankable and generally well received by fans. Fox could use a positive rub off effect by introducing the Fantastic Four team into the X-Men universe in the hopes that movie fans will become more accepting of the former. The idea would be to use Fantastic Four similar to how Quicksliver was used in Days Of Future Past. Give Fantastic Four a couple of scene stealers and get fans wanting to see more of them, eventually building up to a true epic crossover movie. Unfortunately, X-Men movies are already crowded with characters that don’t have a lot to do. There’s also the thought that if the Fantastic Four can’t stand on their own two feet, why risk diluting both franchises? X-Men: Apocalypse could fall short and it would be an unenviable task for the next X-Men follow up film to have to fix Fantastic Four along with addressing it’s own challenges.
5. Human Torch vs Iceman Movie
Now we’re in comic book pipe dream territory, meaning while a Human Torch Vs Iceman movie could appeal to hardcore comic fans, the likely hood of it happening is next to nil. Instead of a big X-men crossover, try a smaller more personal one. The idea would be to do a character-centric story focusing on the coolest Fantastic Four member. The script can also take a page from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. At first Human Torch and Iceman can be at odds but eventually realize they have a lot in common and work together to defeat a big threat. The rest of the Fantastic Four could be in a supportive background role. While the average movie goer are interested in Batman battling Superman, unfortunately there wouldn’t be much hype in who would win between Human Torch and Iceman.
Overall, I would sleep well at night if there was never another Fantastic Four movie. But if you were a studio exec, what would you do with the Fantastic Four franchise that doesn’t involve a four letter word?
This post is written purely for your amusement/bemusement. Flame away. 😀