After taking a drubbing from critics before opening last weekend, scoring just a 9% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Fantastic Four went on to under-perform at the box office, earning just $26.2 million during its opening weekend, finishing in second place behind Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. This obviously wasn't the result that 20th Century Fox was hoping for, after spending a reported $122 million to produce the superhero movie, but a 20th Century Fox spokesperson said earlier this week that they are still "committed" to the franchise, which means that the already-announced sequel The Fantastic Four 2 may still be moving forward. While we wait for any concrete confirmation on the sequel, The Hollywood Reporter has a new report that reveals some details about the chaotic production, that may even result in some sort of legal action.
Shortly before the movie opened in theaters, director Josh Trank sent out a tweet that was later deleted, where he essentially blamed 20th Century Fox for the spate of negative reviews, stating that he made a fantastic version of Fantastic Four that he inferred will never see the light of day, thanks to studio interference. While there had been rumors of trouble on the set long before the big budget remake hit theaters, this latest report claims that things were even worse than the rumors let on. Josh Trank has reportedly even hired high-profile lawyer Marty Singer, perhaps expecting some sort of a legal spat with the studio.
This latest report claims that Josh Trank sent a letter out to his cast and crew right before Fantastic Four opened, claiming it was "better than 99 percent of the comic-book movies ever made." The site reports that one unidentified cast member replied back, "I don't think so." Sources claim that the studio felt the director could deliver a "grounded, gritty version" of this superhero team, but the director kept trying to instill a very dark tone, while also reportedly refusing any help whatsoever. Here's what an unnamed source had to say.
"He holed up in a tent and cut himself off from everybody. He built a black tent around his monitor. He was extremely withdrawn. (Between setups), he would go to his trailer and he wouldn't interact with anybody."
Another crew member claimed that he would tell cast members when to actually blink and breath, trying to get the flattest performance as possible. A report surfaced in May that the director and his dogs caused more than $100,000 in damage to a rented home he was staying in during the Baton Rogue, Louisiana shoot. After the homeowner, Martin Padial tried to evict the filmmaker, photographs of the landlord and his family were found defaced. Padial filed a civil lawsuit that was settled and sealed. While 20th Century Fox reportedly stood idly by for a majority of the shoot, trying to get ride of their reputation of micro-managing filmmakers, by the time they tried to fire him and find a new filmmaker, it was too late for a switch to be made, since shutting down the production likely would have meant losing the whole cast.
This report reveals that producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker scrambled to come up with an ending at the last minute, with some cast members unavailable. Several shots were filmed in Los Angeles, with Miles Teller against a green screen. The producers also assembled a "dream team" of writers, including Drew Goddard, to fix the damage that had been done. Josh Trank was still present for this part of the production, but he was, in effect, neutralized by a committee. We don't know exactly what those writers worked on, or how it may have been different from Josh Trank's take, but the damage is still already done. Other sources claim that Josh Trank shouldn't be entirely left to blame, claiming that 20th Century Fox made the movie for the wrong reasons, which obviously didn't pay off at the box office. Here's what one unnamed crew member had to say.
"To me, it is a classic indictment of the entire system. Give Josh Trank a $20 million movie. Groom him. But they don't make those movies anymore. Nobody should escape scrutiny on this one. Everyone should take a good look in the mirror, myself included. Even I probably did the movie for the wrong reasons."