It will be interesting to see how the new Fantastic Four fares throughout the weekend. It is one of the worst reviewed Marvel superhero movies in quite sometime. No one loves it. And that was expected. The film has had a rough go, with numerous behind-the-scenes stories that have long claimed the production was in trouble. On the night of it's 7:00 pm Thursday previews, director of the movie, Josh Trank, sent out a Tweet in his defense. He fully blames the train wreck on the studio. Not himself. Though his comments were later deleted, someone preserved the Tweet for all to see for an eternity. His exact words were as follows.
"A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would have received great reviews. You'll probably never see it. That's reality though."
Bitter words thrown to protect himself from the incoming shrapnel from the bomb that is 2015's Fantastic Four. Perhaps. Or perhaps we're speaking too soon. The film does have some advocates. And audiences could show-up throughout the weekend. But longtime comic book fans have long been weary about this one. And none of the incoming trailers or TV spots ever seemed to help, as the tone of each new sneak preview was different from the next, and the marketing push behind it could never quite figure out how to sell the Marvel adventure, or figure out exactly what it should be. Is it a fun superhero movie? Is it an adventure? Is it a body-modifying horror show? Is it straight sci-fi with a dark twist and exploding heads? Leading up to the main theatrical release tonight, we've heard all those things.
There was a lot of negative hype heading into Fantastic Four's debut. And social media only helped to escalate that. All any director can do is put their head down and weather the storm. Something that was exceptional hard for Josh Trank to do. He was often described as a 'problem child' in the press. And he was even 'fired' from directing the spinoff Star Wars Anthology: Han Solo Movie. Though, he claims he quit. Anyone who's paid just a little bit of attention to the trials and tribulations of Fantastic Four know that it needed reshoots. It was considered a mess. And there were even rumors that another director had stepped into finish the job while Josh Trank was off hiding under a table somewhere. Right now, it's unclear how much any of these behind-the-scenes stories are true.
Fan anticipation for Fantastic Four grew steadily, though 20th Century Fox refused to release anything from the movie, including even behind-the-scenes photos. It became clear early on that the studio was hiding something. The first teaser didn't arrive until February of this year, just seven months before the film opened, which was unusual for a huge summer tentpole. On top of that, the first footage leaked before it was officially released. That initial footage was met with mixed reviews, but a lot of it was positive. The tides seemed to turn. But then subsequent reveals sent it down a much darker path.
It's clear that Josh Trank doesn't feel he is responsible for the version of Fantastic Four hitting theaters this weekend. He's implied that the reason for a delay on any marketing materials is because Fox was rushing to make a movie that was very different from the one he turned in. We probably won't have a much clearer picture on this until further down the road. Fantastic Four has never been a property that fared well at the box office. Most fans loathe the 2005 Fantastic Four. And there is a whole documentary called Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman's The Fantastic Four, which looks at how that low budget affair sank like a rock.
If you're gong to weather the storm and see Fantastic Four in theaters this weekend, we suggest you check out Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau before buying that ticket. It's streaming on Netflix, and tells director Richard Stanley's story. He, like Josh Trank and his well-received Chronicle, had two hit independent sci-fi thrillers that captured the attention of Hollywood. He was then asked by New Line to direct The Island of Dr. Moreau starring two of the most difficult actors in the world at that time, Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. Things wildly spin out of control, Richard Stanley gets fired. And he (almost) never works in Hollywood ever again. It's the prefect precursor to everything that is going on with Josh Trank and his Fantastic Four. And we may see the troubled director's story told in a documentary sometime in the next decade. Watch 'Lost Soul' Now. Then go see Fantastic Four. Maybe you'll have a better understand of who's to blame. Here's the Tweet from Josh Trank.