Reports of Disney possibly purchasing a majority of 21st Century Fox's film and TV properties come as a relief to many Fantastic Four fans, as these characters have been integral components of the Marvel roster yet have never been able to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Additionally, the most recently released Fantastic Four film was a financial and critical disappointment, with even the director, Josh Trank, removing the film from his biography on Instagram.
The director's bio now reads, "Chronicle ********* **** Fonzo," with the first film being his debut and the last film being his next project. Interestingly, rather than completely remove Fantastic Four from the bio, he replaced the title with the appropriate amount of asterisks, likely as a joke that he would rather not talk about that project than completely forget about it.
The cinematic history of the Fantastic Four has been complicated, to say the least. The very first film was completed in 1994 with a budget of $1 million, a small amount for a superhero film even 20 years ago. Reportedly, the film was only made so producer Bernd Eichinger could retain the rights to the heroes to potentially craft a larger storyline further down the line. The film never earned an official release, yet has been pirated and distributed across the world in the years since it was completed.
A more proper film release featuring the characters hit theaters in 2005, following the success of X-Men, Spider-Man, and Daredevil. Not quite a critical success, Fantastic Four still went on to earn $330 million worldwide and earn a sequel. While actor Chris Evans is known for his compelling portrayal of Captain America in the MCU, playing the Human Torch in these Fantastic Four films was his first superhero gig.
Much like their first theatrical endeavors, many believed Trank's Fantastic Four was created merely as an opportunity for Fox to retain the rights to the characters. The film went on to earn $167 million worldwide, a paltry number compared to even the weaker MCU films.
Sadly, the vision of the film's writer differed from that of Trank's, while Trank's vision differed from the studio's. Virtually everyone involved with the project is disappointed in the final product, so it's no surprise that Trank is attempting to distance himself from the debacle to the best of his abilities.
Hopefully being incorporated into the proper MCU will deliver audiences the Fantastic Four film they deserve.
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