"Fantastic Four," 20th Century Fox's attempt to reboot the superhero team-up franchise, debuted with just $26.2 million at North American theaters over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The overwhelming flop for "Fantastic Four" is a rare humbling for a Marvel superhero film, which often gross more than $20 million in just one night. The film has been savaged by critics and was dogged by reports of creative difficulties. Director Josh Trank even distanced himself from it Thursday in a tweet he soon-after deleted in which he alluded to studio interference: "A year ago I had a fantastic version of this," he wrote.
"Fantastic Four" was Fox's attempt to revive a franchise just 10 years after its launch. But those earlier films — neither of which critics or fans much liked — opened twice as well. The 2005 original debuted with $56.1 million and the 2007 sequel, "Fantastic Four: The Silver Surfer," opened with $58.1 million.
The reboot, made for $120 million and with a massive marketing budget, was designed with a youthful bent, enlisting Trank (who had only 2012's "Chronicle" under his belt) and a cast of Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell. A sequel, already scheduled for 2017, now seems very unlikely.
I can see why this movie flopped so badly. To put it kindly: it just sucked. None of the actors seemed to be putting their hearts into their characters. There was no excitement from the actors, everybody spoke in monotone, and they looked like they were completely bored from scene to scene. Making changes like having Sue Storm being adopted and changing the ethnicity of Johnny Storm weren't the problem. Having Mr. Fantastic too young was a major problem. It didn't work.
The musical score was boring and slowed down the movie's pace.
Marvel studios comes up with great scripts. Fox studios, on the other hand, came up with a generic and boring script with a horrible storyline for its villain Dr. Doom. The battle scenes at the climax of the film could have been written by a kindergartener. I take it back, a kindergartener probably would have come up with a more exciting script. There wasn't anything "Fantastic" about the script at all. No humor. At least, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and even Loki would say and do things that are humorous. These characters were as dull and stiff as the rocks that the Thing is made out of.
Hell, there wasn't even a post credit scene. I think the studio sensed this was going to be a dud.
I don't think the movie studio will have to worry about anyone illegally downloading this movie. I strongly suggest people avoid seeing this one at the theater and when it comes out on DVD, don't purchase it. It will quickly become a $5.00 cheap bin movie and you will be able to find it at pawnshops and Goodwills for years to come.
Derek Ailes is the author of four horror anthologies: Zombie Command: A Horror Anthology, Journey Into the Unknown: Deluxe Horror Edition, Catfurnado Zombies and One Killer Doll and Musings From A Demented Mind (coming September 7). He lives in South Haven, Indiana.