At this point, Josh Trank and Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot is almost certainly going to be a huge loss for the studio this year.
Just how bad did it turn out?
To put it lightly, reviewers absolutely trashed it, to the point where it’s become the worst reviewed Marvel movie of all time with a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans and general audiences didn’t like it either, giving it a C- CinemaScore, the worst grade any superhero movie has ever received (for reference, Batman and Robin had a C+).
All of this was reflected in the movie’s weekend box office take, debuting at #2 and making just $60 million internationally, against a reported budget of $120 million (not including marketing). According to THR, Fox will likely end up with a $60m write-off on this film.
So considering all of that, is there any chance for a sequel?
Normally, no. In most cases, when a big franchise film like this falls flat on its face (see John Carter), it basically kills any momentum for future installments, even if there’s a good chance that a second film in the series could improve on the original.
That being said, HitFix has the surprising report that Fox still wants a second Fantastic Four movie.
Agreed. Despite everything we’ve seen so far, apparently the studio is still committed to the world and the characters, which is sort of admirable in a sense.
Fox’s domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson told THR that, “While we’re disappointed, we remain committed to these characters and we have a lot to look forward to in our Marvel universe.”
If you’ll remember, before the film came out, Fox had already greenlit a sequel, and scheduled it for a June 2017 release. A potential crossover with the X-Men movie universe was also teased.
As Fantastic Four got closer and closer to release though, and it became more and more evident that they had a potential flop on their hands, we stopped hearing too much about these proposed followups.
Despite that, and while director Josh Trank will almost certainly not be returning, Fox likely penned contracts with the core cast to keep them available for any potential sequels. So theoretically, it’s not impossible that another film could get off the ground in time for 2017 (or possibly later, if they delayed it). It’s just… really, really, really surprising.
What about a reboot?
That seems even less likely to me, considering it’s only been eight years since the last reboot (and fans haven’t yet forgotten Rise of the Silver Surfer). At this point, if Fox wants another Fantastic Four movie within the next decade, it’s more likely that it will be a sequel of some sort.
That being said, Spider-Man went through three reboots in the span of nine years… but that seems like the exception, rather than a precedent.
Speaking of which… what about a Hail Mary pass into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
That seems to be what all of the fans are clamoring for in the wake of Fantastic Four‘s disastrous opening weekend, and after the Sony/Marvel deal, it actually feels like a real possibility.
Here’s the thing though, it might make sense for Fox, given they clearly can’t quite figure out how to handle these characters… but does it make sense for Disney/Marvel? Phase Three has already been mapped out, and will take the MCU through May 2019. That’s a solid four years of movies, where exactly would Fantastic Four fit?
Unlike a character like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four are a heck of a lot more difficult to simply slot into the background of ongoing events. Their origins (which in most versions, involves space travel) should have huge ramifications on the world they exist in. Much like the Avengers team-ups, they’re not a group of characters designed to be going after small-time villains.
If it does happen (and I’m not saying it will), I think we’ll see one more Fox-backed Fantastic Four project before then. If that bombs, then I think Marvel’s first family could make an interesting addition to Phase Four (or even a focal point of that arc).
Alternatively, and this is a real long-shot, but if Fox and Marvel are both interested and manage to come to terms, it’s possible that we could see the Fantastic Four introduced without an origin story, a la the new Spider-Man. What if they were simply astronauts sent into space before the events of the MCU’s Phase One, and now they’ve returned… changed.
I think that could be a pretty interesting angle, one that wouldn’t bump up against anything already established about the MCU, and could get the group involved before the events of Infinity War.