We’re a few days into the Fantastic Four opening weekend, and it looks like the worst fears of those who were hoping for the best have been realized. The first wave of critic reviews have been brutal, it’s at Batman and Robin level on Rotten Tomatoes, and all the fanboys who have been sharpening their keyboard knives for a year are striking (after paying to see the movie they swore they were going to boycott, but let’s not focus on that ok?) The reviews I’ve read pretty much fall into two camps:
- Worst movie ever like I knew it was going to be, hopefully it will fail and Marvel will get the rights back.
- It’s not very good but nowhere near deserving of the trashing it’s getting.
I haven’t seen it yet myself but when the best reviews look like number 2 above, then there isn’t much of a chance that I’ll go in there and come out raving about it. I may ultimately pass on it because to be honest with you I’m not a big Fantastic Four fan and my only interest in the movie was for having some more review material for you guys. But I can still hit back at some of the stupidity that continues to be bandied around. Namely the Marvel Studios wishful thinking.
If you’re hoping the movie tanks so that somehow Fox will sell the rights back to Marvel or let them lapse…..just stop it already. There is almost zero chance of that happening. I addressed that in my last post and in the few days that have gone by since I’ve seen a deluge of comments expressing that hope. No matter how many times I or some other level headed person knocks it down, the hope persists. But it needs to die already. Here’s the scenario in which Fox would sell the movie rights back to Marvel:
Fox, in extreme financial peril and badly in need of cash to survive, sells the movie rights to all it’s Marvel properties to Marvel.
That’s the boat Marvel was in when it sold off the rights to the X-Men, Spider Man, etc. That’s what it would take for the reverse to happen. Fox is nowhere near in that kind of situation, and it’s movies are profitable. Even the really bad stuff like X-Men: Last Stand and Wolverine: Origins were profitable. When you factor in the limited opening weekend competition, international box office and future sales on DVDs, digital downloads, etc. Fantastic Four will be profitable as well. And that’s all that matters to Fox, not whether you think it was awesome or it sucked. (Because after all, you guys that spent a year ragging on it still went on opening day to see it.) Even a small profit is still several million dollars for the company. And that previously announced sequel, the one you think won’t happen now, will still be on. And if that one crashes and burns…..they’ll reboot in a few years to ‘get it right this time’.
But just for kicks let’s say the miracle happens and Marvel did get the rights back. You think that’s going to result in that yet to be made totally awesome Fantastic Four movie you’ve been waiting for? Don’t hold your breath, ace. Marvel Studios is already scheduled out to fall of 2019, and if the origin films they have lined up do (particularly Black Panther and Captain Marvel) well there will be sequels. That’s not even including making room for Sony’s Spider-Man films. That’s a long line to wait in for real. There’s nothing from a financial standpoint Marvel can achieve through a Fantastic Four movie that they couldn’t get from what they already have. They made a deal with Sony to use Spider-Man because Spidey adds value and is still one of the best sellers among the it’s comics. On the other hand the Fantastic Four book was just cancelled this year thanks to low sales.
And then there’s the matter of fitting the characters into the MCU. The most usable Fantastic Four characters for Marvel Studios are the surrounding affiliated characters like the Silver Surfer, and the villains like Dr. Doom, Galactus, Kang, etc. Reed Richards is an All-Time Great Marvel character but in the MCU he’d be yet another prickly super genius alongside Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Hank Pym, and soon T’Challa, and they aren’t going to go back and read decades of comics to learn the differences between them. In terms of powers and fighting style there isn’t enough daylight between the Hulk and the Thing to matter to average filmgoer. Sue Storm? Get in line behind Black Widow, Scarlett Witch, the Wasp, Captain Marvel, and Madusa of the Inhumans. And Johnny Storm….who cares, really?
Look people, the best bet for a good movie that fully explores and realizes the character of each member of the team is with some company other than Marvel Studios. My advice to you is to totally blow off the sequel when it drops in a few years and get vocal afterward about what you want. You blew your chance already with this one; enough of you have gone or will go this weekend to make it successful. But for crying out loud please let go of the Marvel Studios pipe dreams because they just aren’t going to come true.