Fantastic Four opens today (technically last night), and the reception that’s greeted the film has been venomous. I didn’t like it either, but I don’t think it’s “9% on Rotten Tomatoes bad”.

After seeing the film a week ago, the question that immediately sprung to my mind was: how much of this film represented director Josh Trank‘s original intent and how much was the result of studio demands?

To that point, and probably out of frustration due to the heat he’s been taking this week, Trank tweeted (and immediately deleted) the following:


*cue me pulling my collar like Rodney Dangerfield*

There were reports of reshoots on the film over the Summer, and that the filmmaker was erratic on set and difficult to work with, which in turn led to Screenwriter Simon Kinberg and Producer Hutch Parker stepping in to “pull the film together”.

On the other hand, Fox isn’t exactly known for being hands-off regarding these properties. One needs only look at Gavin Hood and the way the studio treated him during the production of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to get an idea of just how the sausage may be getting made over there behind the scenes.

I’ll just reiterate what I said in my review; in that I think Trank had some good ideas that he didn’t quite have the ability to execute, and the studio was just not on the same page at all when they came to pull the pieces together to get it ready for release. Trank was hired in July of 2012, at a point in time when the major studios all wanted a piece of that “indie director reinvents a franchise” phase of these films, post-Batman Begins, that also gave us Marc Webb on Amazing Spider-Man and the fairly dour Man of Steel. This was just before WB, Fox and Sony all decided they wanted to make their own “shared universes” akin to Marvel’s. Now that a wholly different approach than the one Trank was hired for is in favor, you can imagine the possible conflict that *may* have greeted this production.

Regardless, Trank has probably torpedoed his chances at another big studio effort, but given the response that’s greeted this reboot, that was probably the case anyway.


  1. I briefly worked for a trailer house in New York. They had product from every which way, but hands down the people they wanted to work with the least was Fox. Fox would return everything they made with piles of notes and requests for changes that often contradicted the last batch or one another. They executive micro-managed every last detail to oblivion.

  2. I saw “Fantastic4” last night, and Sucktastic4ever was not worth it…

    Isn’t that a mark of today’s anti-culture, as we are consumers that pretend to be ‘Americans’ / ‘humans’, saying “…You’ll probably never see it. Thant’s reality though”? Here we are as everything is made to break down and take our money, instead of work and last, while we sit in traffic, and have our dignity chipped away so we can push ‘corporate policy’ for a paycheck that has diminishing returns on purchasing power, and the concept of making even a great movie for something like LEE/KIRBY’S Fantastic Four is more about “consumer” disappointment and wasting our money, than it is about entertainment that inspires the imagination, incites intelligent conversation, and urges the viewer to want to go out and learn more about science, being around a group of people who are different and working together to have fun and adventure, and of course -the Fantastic Four.

    This goes for everyone from the people who walk around high school tracks and football fields for some charity cause to gain money and recognition for curing cancer (while companies like Monsanto have patents on genetic sequences, but will not use them as it is more profitable to treat than cure diseases, along with the congressmen they have in their pockets), to the lame corporate tools like us as we just sit in traffic, and have the nerve just to tell ourselves success is based on attitude, and ‘think positive’ (while we have no urge or idea as to how to enable cooperation and tolerance at work or in our neighborhoods, have no idea how to tell someone how to meet their city council members, how to have a peaceful non-violent protest against things like how we use gerrymandering or out-sourcing jobs instead of training Americans, or how to be involved in town hall meetings), to the ‘consumer’ that is willing to pay over $2.00 for a “comic book” that is mainly about “super heroes” band names (instead of cutting edge, and just plain quality sequential art / story telling) -Remember this when you make a decision fellow ‘Americans’, and overall Fantastic4 ticket buyers / ‘consumers’ / chumps :

    Live like a consumer get treated like a ‘consumer’.

  3. Interesting article here: the FF fiasco might put the brakes on Hollywood’s hiring of young indie directors to helm franchise movies:

    Writer Sam Adams points out that “unnamed sources have been working diligently for months to ensure that he (Trank) shoulders the brunt of the blame. Even comic-book fans, who are normally fiercely protective of their fellow geeks, have turned on him, swarming critics who gave the film even modestly positive reviews …”

    He adds that it’s “unnerving to see purported film fans with virtually no knowledge of what actually happened reflexively side with Fox and Marvel and against Trank, as if the corporation that’s already screwed up the Fantastic Four’s story multiple times is somehow blameless.”


  4. Entertainment Weekly investigation into what went wrong. Looks like there’s plenty of blame to go around.

    “Some who worked on the film say Trank broke, for sure, but was driven to the breaking point by the studio, and that his clash was not with Kinberg but Fox production president Emma Watts. According to several individuals who worked on the movie, the studio delayed casting and script approvals, slashed the budget by tens of millions from what was originally promised during the development phase, and tried to force last-minute script changes to the film just as principal photography was beginning.”

    Sources also say that, despite everyone’s denials, Trank was fired from the movie, apparently during the editing process.

  5. Interesting article. I ultimately think the blame has to go to Fox because they let themselves get swept up in the hype. Their first FF film had some serious problems but was a good bit of fun and a modest hit. They then rushed out a sequel just two years later that fixed none of the initial problems, added some more and was a failure, though not a bomb. Instead of taking a breath and trying to make a truly good FF flick, they shelved the franchise because the tone they had created wasn’t “Nolany” enough and then tried to come back with a reboot that added even more new problems while seemingly losing any sense of fun at all.

    I mean, besides the powers, in what way does this new film resemble the Fantastic Four? And don’t bring up the Ultimate version because no one in the general public even knows that book existed.


  6. If reports of Trank’s on-set behavior are true, he bears some blame. But I think the studio bears more blame. There seems to be a concerted effort on the Internet to hold Trank solely responsible for the film’s failure — to depict the FF movie as this decade’s HEAVEN’S GATE and Trank as his generation’s Michael Cimino.

    Looks like Ang Lee’s THE ICE STORM is still the best movie involving the Fantastic Four.

  7. Thanks for bringing that piece to my attention George, I love Sam’s writing and I think he’s spot on here.

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