Fantastic Four Is a Fantastic Failure


The above title isn’t an attempt at a mere pun for fun’s sake. For anyone watching the web over this past week, it’s been article after article about how fantastically terrible this movie is doing. It’s critical response is atrocious, it’s box office takings are pathetic, and audiences are hating it. Let’s break it down some.

Earlier last week, a handful of sights and reviewers broke embargo to post their reviews for the Josh Trank directed superhero reboot of Marvel’s beloved ‘first family,’ early. Since then, the critical concensus has dipped to an impressively low 8% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That makes it the worst rated big budget superhero movie of all time. Even Catwoman (9%) and Elektra (10%) were rated higher.

The director has also publicly disowned the film on Twitter, stating “A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though.” Right. The tweet was almost immediately taken down. The director, who’s only other film to date was Chronicle, a low budget superhero origin movie, apparently could not handle the pressure put on him from the higher ups, and according to his comment above, the studio interfered plenty.

So what exactly does that mean for the film? Word of mouth in the geek community was strong. Box office analysts are claiming that Trank’s tweet cost the film $10M on its opening weekend, so says The Wrap.

The opening weekend box office numbers were also something so fantastically bad it has to be noted. Initial early estimates placed the film at grossing over $50M. But when it came down to it, Fantastic Four couldn’t even take the number one spot away from Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (which opened at number one last weekend), making a humiliating $26.2M. The only other major studio superhero adaption to get an even lower opening weekend debut was the Ghost Rider sequel, Spirit of Vengeance, which earned $22.1M back in 2011. For a film that cost Fox an estimated $120M to make and tens of millions to advertise, this is a horrible loss.

Overseas wasn’t much better. Some 43 markets only grossed $34.1M internationally, making the global opening weekend haul a horrendous $60.3M.

It can’t really get much worse, can it? Well it’s one thing for critics to hate it. It’s another thing for the general moviegoing audience to agree with them. CinemaScore, which aggregates audience reception, gave the film a C-, the lowest grade for a major Hollywood studio superhero title ever. Catwoman and Elektra received B’s, to give you some semblance of comparison.

This is undoubtedly a total failure for Fox to reboot their franchise. I think, and I’m sure many fans will agree, it’s high time they gave the keys back to Marvel. There’s no way a sequel can be greenlit amongst such terrible press and numbers. It’s doubtful these characters will ever cross over into the X-Men or Deadpool films either. But alas, time will tell. I don’t think I’ll be seeing this flick. How about you? Have you seen it? Give me all the dirty deets in the comments below!

[UPDATE] After 17 days in theaters, it’s totaled only $49M domestically. This is less than both previous Fantastic Four films made on their respective opening weekends.

34 thoughts on “Fantastic Four Is a Fantastic Failure

  1. Was there high expectation for this film? Sure…even if no one actually asked for another reboot. It never ceases to amaze me that studios still think they can tack an unearned or senseless ending onto a film without earning it along the way — and I don’t mean with a single line of throwaway dialogue, either.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was going to write about this too but never got around to it. I find the whole thing fascinating, but what I really find fascinating is how much behind the scenes workings is starting to become an everyday thing for the movie industry. People are becoming more aware of how the sausage is made to speak, and good behavior and public handling is more important than ever now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remain confused. I’ll see this whenever it hits cable, because that’s what I do… but everything I saw from trailers tells me this is an adaptation of the early issues of the Ultimate Fantastic four comic. Are people who claim this “isn’t the Fantastic Four” not at all familiar with that comic series? Now, it’s fair if you didn’t like Ultimate FF that you wouldn’t like this movie… The Ultimate Universe was a very different take on the FF characters. But some reviews I see act as if the story for this movie came out of nowhere.

    I expect I might actually like it, because I happened to like the Ultimate FF comic. One could argue it was a mistake to make a movie based on that version and not the traditional FF… but then those earlier FF movies were based on traditional FF comics and weren’t well received either.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. And this is why studios should play to the strengths of the source material.

    You CANNOT make a dark, gritty and realistic FF film. You can with Batman, with Daredevil, with Punisher. If Fox is really so hell bent on having something with this tone, why don’t they use one of the countless Anti-Heroic X-Men that they have ownership of? The FF is conceptually ridiculous, adventurous and fun so they might as well capitalize on that and make a move that follows those ideologies. And we don’t need anymore origins. Just STOP with the freaking origins.

    You want to make an FF movie? Here’s a 20 second pitch:

    “The Future Foundation is run by a reclusive group of scientists out of the Baxter Building in downtown New York. In the past these four were heroes that fought villains but have since retired from super-heroics to focus on scientific endeavors to better humanity. After the head scientist, Reed Richards, discovers how to create and stabilize a worm holet he inadvertently opens up a portal to the negative zone from which Annihilus emerges to reign terror upon the Earth and it is up to the retired heroes to band together and stop him.”

    It’s that frigging easy. Want more ideas? I can give you more ideas Fox. Want Dr. Doom involved?

    How about Doom creates the portal in Latveria instead of the FF because he is trying to harness power from the negative zone and he accidentally releases Annihilus who seeks out the Baxter building because it houses a bunch of powerful scientific artifacts that draw Annihilus towards them. The FF have to reluctantly join forces with Doom to defeat Annihilus only to be betrayed in the long run.

    The movie can end with the FF returning to New York just in time to find a giant monster bursting through the streets with the Mole Man and his army or something. “FLAME ON!” and “It’s clobberin’ time!” as the Torch and Thing leap into action. Sue and Reed look at each other, smirk and shrug, and follow after. /rollcredits

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Movie was really bad. I can’t add to the other posters regarding the bad story, poor characterization, and total lack of chemistry between the actors, but I will say even the final showdown between Doom and the un-named FF was forgettable. Even my nine year old son who loves every superhero movie ever made hated this one. Absolutely horrible waste of my time and money in seeing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Man, this is really disappointing. I was looking forward to Fantastic 4. You’ve got to really feel for the actors, being in a superhero movie you would expect to have it made…. now you’re one of the few in recent years that has bombed. It can’t be a good feeling!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Distributors love me. I’m one of those people that has to get their own opinion and therefore will give money anyway to see a film I know critics hate just on the off chance that I’ll like it.

    Fantastic Four is the worst comic book adaptation I’ve ever seen.

    The fact that it made as much money as it did is something I can only humbly credit to people such as myself who really will see any film if it has superheroes in it. In fact, I know one of the ushers at my cinema, who questioned me about my decision, and I said to him “I have faith”. When he came in at the end, I was the only one remaining, and apparently he could “see the hatred in [my] eyes”. And since, as you said, you won’t be seeing this, let me give you those details. Spoilers from here on out:

    The first act is way too slow. Initially, it’s about building the transporter, and this takes about fourty minutes. And not even during that time were the characters or relationships really established. There was never a sense of Sue and Johnny being siblings (she’s from Kosovo by the way, and hides her accent – what?), and Reed and Ben only come across as friends because of the prologue. At no point, did anyone seem like they knew each other. Johnny’s only there to help his dad with the project because he wrecked his car street racing. Anyway, so once they’ve built the machine, NASA want to be the ones that use it because they, you know, probably know what they’re doing. There’s this guy, Victor. He wants to use the resources there to help save Earth. Sue calls him Doctor Doom. But Victor figures that since they built it, they deserve to make the trip first. And since there’s literally no security around this place, they sneak in at night, and – I’m not shitting you with this – Reed… Reed gets so pissed off his head that he says “let’s use the machine ourselves”. So he calls Ben to make the trip with him simply because the plot requires it and they go to the “Planet Zero”. Sue stays behind working the machine and listening to a band she says you won’t have heard off through her headphones. Again – not joking. They get to Planet Zero and find a lake of green goo. Victor decides to touch it simply because the plot requires it, and a thing happens, Victor dies, and the other three make it back with the machine, which then sprays the goo everywhere, infecting Sue. They wake up in a government facility, and Reed… Reed runs away.

    So then we cut to one year later. Yep.

    Sue, Johnny and Ben are being used by the military, although nothing we see in the trailers is there. Meanwhile, Reed’s somewhere in the Middle East on the run, warping his face so he looks Asian. That’s actually in the film. He’s tracked down, there’s a really brief fight scene in the forest, and he’s taken back to the military base. Everyone pretends to have great chemistry, and then – my god – then, they go on another trip to Planet Zero. It turns out, Victor’s alive. And has a weird cape and hood now. They never explained that. He comes back to our reality (half an hour before the end), and explodes people’s heads by just looking at them. And he’s wearing a mask. That’s just his face.

    What happened next was kinda incomprehensible. A big wormhole opens, stuff gets sucked into Planet Zero. Victor starts throwing rocks at people. And then he’s defeated in some way I can’t remember. After the ordeal, Reed says – this IN THE MOVIE! – “we need a team name”.

    AND THEN – THIS IS IN THE MOVIE – Reed says, “how about…”

    And then it says “Fantastic Four” and it’s over. (Don’t tell Joss Whedon.)

    I absolutely hate this film. I hate even thinking about it. I hate that it exists. I hate that it was released. I hate that I was convinced by it. I hate the fact that I spent £7 on it. I hate that I wasted 100 minutes on it.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. I wasn’t planning on seeing it, especially after some local news reports came out about people walking out of the movie and asking management to move their ticket costs over to another movie so they don’t contribute to F4’s box office gross.

    Liked by 1 person

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