By Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)
Most critics who have seen Fantastic Four (including me) have agreed that it was awful, just stunningly awful. It’s been battered by critics so hard, that it’s “enjoying” a 10% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
One person who seems to agree with the critics over the new Fantastic Four is the director himself, Josh Trank, who tweeted his thoughts on the critical hammering the film has taken, and then deleted it a few hours later. Here’s what he said and a screen capture of the tweet (via Yahoo! Movies):
A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though. – Trank
This comes on the heels of months and months of bad press rumors about the project, which included alleged erratic behavior by director Trank, as well as extensive reshoots ordered by the studio. It’s been even rumored that all the problems behind the scenes of Fantastic Four led to Trank being fired from directing the second Star Wars Anthology film. Both Trank and writer/producer Simon Kinberg dispute this.
The fallout may even have affected Fox’s plans to produce an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover. X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer has already said that talks have already taken place to bring both properties together, but producer Simon Kinberg made it clear to the New York Daily News that the films are in separate universes, saying:
The Fantastic 4 live in a world without mutants. And the X-Men live in a world without the Fantastic 4.
Everyone seems to be distancing themselves from the film, but Fantastic Four is so tonally uneven that it’s easy to believe that the studio did interfere in a huge way. Star Miles Teller predicted that it wouldn’t be well received a few days ago when he spoke with BBC Newsbeat ,and offered an alternate reason:
We tried to make something coming from a more dramatic standpoint so we’re hoping that people enjoy it and recognize that we’re trying to do something original.
Rarely are films of this size critically well received… This is not a movie we’re going to go on (review website) Rotten Tomatoes and it’s going to be at 80 or 90 per cent. We did try to do something more than soulless, popcorn action. – Miles Teller
That may have been what they were trying to accomplish but the final product did not end up that way. It wouldn’t be the first time a studio has interfered with a director’s vision, and even Joss Whedon had issues with Marvel during Avengers: Age of Ultron. Max Landis, who wrote Josh Trank’s first film Chronicle, opened up about the behind the scenes process of a film on Twitter (via /Film):
HEY, it’s 1 AM. You know what, fuck it. Let’s be real here.
Chronicle was an incredibly rare and easy ride. I loved writing the script. I enjoyed our producer, John Davis, and our exec, Steve. I also loved collaborating with Josh, who I think is brilliant, and whose ideas inspired my script. I fought hard for him to direct. But Chronicle was a complete fluke. We had so much control because the movie was, in relation to other movies that year, TINY. Some holes opened up in Fox’s slate and Chronicle was cheap and unique, so they were kind enough to make it. Only took 6 months.
At the time, I was like “THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING.” I’d sold scripts, but it was my first greenlight. Josh, who’d been [a] for-hire editor and whose only experience behind the camera had been a web series, was a smart, fun collaborator.
During the shooting of the film, I had almost no input, but I was lucky in that the studio and Josh stuck astonishingly tight to my script. But again, even this is a fluke. It was an original idea, a dark character movie with a first time director. Fluke. Freak of nature. But I didn’t know that and I’m sure Josh didn’t know that either. In the five years since I sold Chronicle, I’ve learned the hard way.
You take huge hits in this industry, creatively, but that’s only after you’ve been given the opportunity to take huge swings, which is rare. A movie like Fantastic Four, an assignment with a lot riding on it, was always going to have a tremendous amount of cooks in the kitchen. People always ask me when I’m gonna write a superhero movie. I have. I’ve gotten those jobs. They’re very intense and stressful.
As a writer, I’ve been lucky to work on many, many projects, and seen how different and how hard each road can be, for five and a half years. Josh didn’t get that chance, and his second major project, after one with total freedom, was one with intense oversight. So I don’t think anyone’s wrong or right, necessarily, and I don’t imagine anyone cares about my opinion. But I do think it’s important to say that if you’re not prepared going in to not FIGHT like hell, but WORK like hell, it’s gonna get ugly.
No one is trying to make a bad movie. This job is only very occasionally romantic. Don’t let it own you, try not to let it hurt you. Because sometimes it’s so much fucking fun. But it’s still a job.
So is this the end of Fantastic Four at Fox? Will they just pack it up and throw it in a corner until Marvel Studios picks it up? I think that might still be unlikely, as the film is on track to pull in a middling $45 million this weekend. That’s less than 2005’s turkey Fantastic Four at $56.1 million, and 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer at $58.1 million, but it may make enough to make a profit, especially in the highly lucrative international market.
I like the cast and I like how the film started off, so what’s really needed is a major retooling for a sequel, which is already scheduled for 2017. Unless Fox wants to give up on this, like they did with Daredevil, you can expect that Fantastic Four sequel, or even another reboot, within the next few years.