By Alexandra Wilson
“Fantastic Four” has a nine percent rating on RottenTomatoes.com. It has the lowest CinemaScore for a superhero film in history. Drama between Director Joshua Trank and Fox Studios has been brewing for months and culminated in a mysterious subtweet. Any way you look at it, last week’s “Fantastic Four” was a total summer flop.
Why? Tons of reasons. The film was overly dramatic. There were no fun action sequences. It lacked humor. Poor storytelling. Uneven CGI. The reasons go on and on. There’s no arguing that “Fantastic Four” was a bad movie, but believe it or not – there are upsides. For starters, we’ll hopefully stop seeing movie studios announce sequels to films before a film even premieres. Did you know that there is a release date for “Fantastic Four 2”, and that it was announced years ago? (In case you’re curious, it’s June 9, 2017.) Why Fox got so cocky, we don’t know, but based on box office performance along, it’s looking like “Fantastic Four” won’t need that sequel date after all.
Another bonus of a “FF” fail? Maybe we’ll get the chance to see new superheroes on the screen. The 2005 “Fantastic Four” film did not do spectacularly at the box office, and the sequel did worse, so with this recent failure, maybe Fox will take this opportunity to give other FF-related heroes their own films. Some examples? Silver Surfer, She-Thing, Namor, and even Doctor Doom could star in a stand-alone film (though the rights to Namor were last owned by Universal Pictures). How much fun would it be to watch Silver Surfer and Galactus travel across the galaxy together? (And no, we don’t mean the weird cloud-eating Galactus that we saw in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”)
“Fantastic Four” has drawn a lot of comparisons to the new Spider-Man film planned for 2017. Many saw both film announcements as attempts for studios to hold onto their highly coveted movie rights, and studios are (rightfully) getting flak for continuing to pump out reboots on a too-often basis. Yet, while the planned Spider-Man film will not be an origin story, “Fantastic Four” was. Is this flop a sign that audiences are over origin stories? Probably. It’s 2015! We’ve seen dozens of superhero origin films – if you’re reading this, Fox, it’s time to give us something new. Your recent “Fantastic Four” film was not that.
Rumors have been swirling for years that Fox wanted to add the Fantastic Four to their universe of X-Men films, thus creating a Marvel Cinematic Universe of their own. From a business standpoint, that’s not a bad idea, but creatively it’s nothing like what we’re expecting from “Captain America: Civil War.” There are no notable X-Men/Fantastic Four team ups in recent comic book history, so it’s difficult to think of a potential storyline that feels natural for both franchises. Plus, at the rate the X-Men cast is expanding, it would be incredibly difficult to fit everyone into a film comfortably. Look at how “Avengers: Age of Ultron” turned out.
If you make three attempts in a 10 year period to bolster a film franchise and it doesn’t work, it’s time to call it a day. We’ll never know if “Fantastic Four” was a superhero property that just isn’t meant for the modern superhero era or if it was just mistreated by a movie studio. Regardless, hopefully the flop that was “Fantastic Four” means more original films and creative choices for the future.
“Alexandra Wilson is a freelance writer based in New York City. She writes about geeky pop culture and wishes she could fly. Follow her on Twitter @AlexKnowsWords.”