September 1, 2009 / by blake
The first two films of that Fantastic Four franchise did decent business, but they weren’t the blockbuster that Spider-man was. Although Fantastic 4 has never been as popular of a comic as Spider-man has been. Sure there is appeal there, but not as much as the high flying web-slinger. So it makes me wonder why 20th Century Fox is bothering to reboot the series so soon.
While Disney lays down a $4 billion bet on the future of Marvel’s superheroes, 20th Century Fox has already begun overhauling one of its big Marvel franchises, “Fantastic Four,” to take the property beyond the two films already made.
Akiva Goldsman has been hired to oversee the reboot as producer. Michael Green, the co-exec producer of TV’s “Heroes” who co-wrote “Green Lantern,” will write the script for the new “Fantastic Four.”
Fox wouldn’t comment on its plans, but the moves are evidence that Marvel franchises do have enduring lifespans.
As “Spider-Man 4” moves toward an early 2010 production start, Columbia Pictures recently hired James Vanderbilt to write a fifth and sixth installment with the understanding that one or both of those films would give the franchise a makeover with a new director and cast (Daily Variety, Aug. 16).
More than one option
The 2005 “Fantastic Four” and 2007 sequel “Rise of the Silver Surfer” were directed by Tim Story and starred Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis. Since the deals for the reboot are just getting made, it is unclear if any of them will return.
Though Marvel Entertainment owns and finances properties like “Iron Man” and “Thor,” Fox controls “Fantastic Four” in perpetuity — as long as it continues making the films. Fox has the same arrangement on Marvel Comics properties “X-Men,” “Daredevil” and “Silver Surfer.” Marvel is a producer and financial participant through a licensing agreement.
Though the related Silver Surfer character soared in the “Fantastic Four” sequel, that iconic personality has remained a priority project for his own film at the studio.
Fox has so far done one “X-Men” spinoff in “Wolverine.” The studio is working on a sequel to that film and has scripts for “X-Men Origins: First Class,” and “X-Men Origins: Magneto.” Potential spinoffs for the Gambit and Deadpool characters have also been discussed.
As producer, Goldsman is involved with several DC Comics transfers, including “Jonah Hex,” “The Losers” and “Teen Titans.” He was also producer of the Will Smith-Charlize Theron superhero film “Hancock,” for which a sequel is being developed.
I don’t think studio execs will ever learn. They license these properties and expect all of them to be the next Spider-man or Dark Knight, which almost none of them will be. I think the Fantastic Four films could have made much more money if they had been given a decent script, but I don’t know if they’ll go around setting any records. Also, don’t forget the backlash against the franchise. Batman Begins had a solid beginning, but not as good as it might have been if the public hadn’t soured on Batman from the last films. The insanely quick reboot Incredible Hulk also suffered because of the inferior Hulk starring Eric Bana a few years before.
It isn’t that they shouldn’t do a Fantastic Four film, they just need to make sure they get it right.