Well it’s official, Fantastic Four has bombed. On the heels of awful reviews by both critics and fans, and some really bad PR, the movie bowed to a pretty anemic $27 million in it’s opening weekend. Ouch. Fox was expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million so there’s no way to spin this as other than a huge disappointment. And now it looks like it won’t be profitable even though it had a pretty modest $120 million budget. The overseas proceeds aren’t going to save it either, as it reportedly took in a pretty meek $34 million internationally. It’s probably going to fall off the cliff next weekend, even though there isn’t much competition coming. By every estimation it is a remarkable failure.
So what does Fox do? Do they do a complete housecleaning and start over? Do they keep the cast and the storyline going but plug in a new director? Or do they…gasp….sell the rights back to Marvel and call it a day? I know a lot of you are hoping for option three, but until it actually happens I’m going to continue to say that Fox will not sell the rights back to Marvel. Fantastic Four done right can still be lucrative for Fox; it won’t ever do Avengers money but it can be profitable. And as long as that’s the case and Fox isn’t hard up for money I think they’re going to keep it. My guess is that they’re going to wipe the whole slate clean and reboot again because that’s pretty much the studio thing to do. Sony blew everyone out when they made the deal with Marvel even though Amazing Spider Man 2 made over $700 million worldwide, so more than likely Fox will do the same after Fantastic Four spectacularly failed. The whole thing is a mess.
We’re in a climate right now where a very vocal section of comic book movie fans who want Marvel to do all the movies with Marvel characters and give a major side eye to anyone else doing them, be it Fox or Sony. The success of the MCU has rendered any other company’s efforts null and void with the exception of the X-men films, and that’s only because the last two have been very well received. If the suspicions of Age of Apocalypse turn out to be correct, then the X-Men films will be in the crosshairs as well. Against that backdrop, Fantastic Four had to be excellent and apparently it is not (I haven’t seen it yet so I got no personal opinion yet). They were going to lose points off the top regardless, and they added self inflicted wound after self inflicted wound all throughout the production and PR process.
So now they start over, and we can only hope they get it right next time.