Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Toaster's Ramblings - The Fantastic Flop!

It looks like I got my wish. The new Fantastic Four movie is a massive failure, likely to be remembered as the big budget flop of 2015, the worst major studio super hero film ever and a bomb on par with Lone Ranger and (sadly) John Carter. The big question is... now what?

As of right now, Twentieth Century Fox seems to be trying to push ahead with the planned sequel to Fantastic Four, despite the estimated $60 million loss and the overwhelmingly negative reviews (an incredible 9% on Rotten Tomatoes!). Nobody is sure if this is out of the stubborn will to force a square peg into a circle hole or if Fox just really wants to stick it to Marvel Studios. I think it might be a combination of both.

As I said before, Fox clearly wants to make their own 'super ensemble' film like Marvel's Avengers movies. They are hoping to have the Fantastic Four crossover in some bizarre fashion with the X-men... possibly to fight Galactus. Personally I think fighting the Shi'ar would be better, but the whole idea is sketchy to me. The two sides don't have much in common. The biggest crossover between the two teams that I know of in the comics involved Reed and Sue Richards' mutant son Franklin, a character that is a far way from even being born yet in the films, especially with the reboot.

I honestly think Fox should cut their losses and either outright sell the property or make a deal with Marvel Studios to co-own the movie rights to the Fantastic Four the way Sony and Marvel did with Spider-man. Selling the property could recoup the losses from this latest reboot folly, while a deal would potentially lead to a Fantastic Four film that works and still brings money to Fox. As a fan, I would be far more interested in a crossover with the Avengers than one with the X-men.

I think Fox is far better off just focusing on the mutants. There are hundreds of characters to choose from, many teams to create and many villains to face. Plus, as I said before, the mutants existing in their own world makes more sense anyway. Why would the public love Spider-man and Thor but fear Colossus and Iceman? That said, if a possible deal involved Marvel being able to use mutants, that could be amazing. Wolverine could join the Avengers! Deadpool could mess with every hero from Spider-man to Iron Man!

One critic's review brought up something that Fox should really consider. He asked whether moviegoers were actually eager to see a Fantastic Four film after the last two movies in 2005 and 2007. This is a really good question. I would also add, who is really excited for a movie where the Fantastic Four meets the X-men? It's like a bizarre Abbot & Costello experiment gone wrong. The Avengers works as an ensemble film because they are an established super team in the comics; people want to see big names like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Hulk team up and battle super villains. However, if people don't really want to see your Fantastic Four movie, why would they turn out in droves to see them alongside the X-men? Sure, you will likely get the crowd that was already going to see an X-men movie, but that isn't what Fox wants, now is it? They want their own Avengers-like cash cow where people will cram the theaters to see. But if people don't give a crap about the Fantastic Four, then Fox will be pretty much just showing us an X-men movie featuring four new mutants with the powers of super-stretching, invisibility, fire and being a big rock monster.

Yes, the argument can be made that Guardians of the Galaxy may not have had a big fan-base salivating over a live action film (for note: I was), but Marvel was well aware of this. They knew the risks, but placed faith in their script, the director and the finished product... all things that based on the rumors Fox never did. Plus, Guardians never took itself too seriously and preferred to be seen as a comedy-action film. Fox clearly wanted their Fantastic Four film to be a super-team version of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, something that doesn't really work with the source material.

I also want to point out that Marvel Films got lucky with Ant-man, another lesser known property that turned out to be a hit for them. If you recall, they had a falling out with their director and had to find a new one as well as do script rewrites. This often spells disaster, but Marvel was able to pull it off for the most part (Jonny and I think the movie was a little uneven at points). Now Marvel had the advantage of more time to work with, something Fox never gave themselves when forcing reshoots and edits to Fantastic Four. If Fox had given themselves another six months to a year, maybe the movie would have turned out better... maybe not.

As Jonny Prophet reminded me, after Amazing Spider-man 2 under-performed, Sony held firm to the idea of moving ahead with a Sinister Six movie, Amazing Spider-man 3 and a bunch of other spin-off movies. Less than a year later, Marvel Studios is having Spider-man make a cameo in Captain America: Civil War. Pride can be a difficult thing to swallow, but over time things can change. I definitely think it is in Fox's best interest to either sell the Fantastic Four film rights back to Marvel or at least cut a deal with them. They should just focus on making their mutant movie universe the best it can be and stop wasting time and money on a failed franchise. It's time to let go, Fox. It's just better for everyone that way... better for you, better for Marvel Films, better for the legendary comic book that deserves a great film franchise and better for the fans.

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