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Why’d it bomb? Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) and Fantastic 4 (2015)

The Fantastic Four are Marvel’s first family. With that honor, you think they would’ve gotten a movie that was great, something that could rival Batman, Superman, and Spidey’s best. Yet the Four’s outings on the big screen have been rocky to say the least. It’s been so bad that the first attempt at a Fantastic Four movie didn’t even get released.

The second outing was a bit more promising, in that it did well at the box office, but it was panned by critics. Then came it’s sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which was a box office disappointment, and a reboot of Fantastic Four which bombed altogether. But why didn’t these movies do well? Let’s find out!

3. The word of mouth from the previous movie
While Fantastic Four ’05 might have been a box office success, I think it’s derision from critics and audiences made more people stay away from Rise of the Silver Surfer. When that movie also got a terrible response from audiences and critics, I think that turned off more people from seeing a Fantastic Four movie, which led to Fantastic Four ’15 bombing at the box office.

2. The Fantastic Four’s declining popularity
The Four haven’t been quite as popular as they used to be. Not only have their movies sales been declining but the comic sales have also decreased over time, probably in no small part thanks to both FF ’05 and Silver Surfer.

1. The backlash from fans
Before Fantastic Four 2015 even came out, there was a huge backlash against fans from it, thanks to the mediocre 2005 movies, them wanting the four to join the MCU, rumors about what the movie would’ve been like that didn’t sit well with fans, and the director making fun of the fans on twitter and apparently having caused a huge fuss on set (doing things like apparently abusing Kate Mara because he didn’t want her on the set and having his dogs trash a hotel room he was staying at while filming the movie, among other things). There are even videos detailing the whole thing.

Of course, there were also racist fans who didn’t like the fact that Michael B. Jordan had been cast as Johnny Storm, which unfortunately probably also had an effect on ticket sales.

Unfortunately, The Four just haven’t made a good movie yet and Rise of the Silver Surfer and Fant4stic didn’t change a thing. In the future, maybe we’ll finally get a good Fantastic Four film but, right now, Marvel’s first family has struggled on the big screen.

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Posted on April 12, 2017, in Movies, Why'd it bomb? and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Racist fans? Way to act like an SJW…. people were upset because Human Torch and Invisible Women were brother and sister. Makes no sense having a black actor playing him in this regard

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  2. Nostalgia Critic: Fantastic Four (2015)

    With the Fantastic Four constantly being botched on the big screen, is this the one that’s the absolute worst? The Nostalgia Critic reviews Fant4stic.

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  3. The “racist fans” thing is entirely uncalled for and has no basis in reality. FANT4STIC was a godawful movie that no one wanted–including, by the end, the director–and that was ground out after two previous creative abortions just so Fox could keep the rights to the property with which they were doing nothing worth the doing. This was happening in the shadow of the wild success of the Marvel-produced movies, when the fan community wanted the FF back at Marvel where they belong.

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    • There are a few issues to untangle here. One, Trank’s Fantastic Four was an objectively bad movie. It’s possible that without studio interference, it could have been worthwhile, but we’ll likely never know. Putting that aside, people were complaining about the casting of Michael B. Jordan when he was announced. At that point, not a frame of footage had been shot. So the movie’s eventual (lack of) quality had nothing to do with the reaction. Fans were upset that a black actor was cast as a character who has traditionally been portrayed as a white man.

      Was that racist? I won’t use that label although I think there is a degree of “white privilege” if not racism. I believe that most of the reaction was comic book fans who are resistant to change. I know plenty of Harry Potter or Twilight fans who got bent out of shape over relatively minor changes made to adaptations of their favorite books. But it takes on a different tone when Hollywood makes a rare move towards diversity and fans reject it. See also Feig’s Ghostbusters.

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    • Wow, did one sentence really deserve this much vitriol? If you read the whole article, you’d know that the reason you gave for the movie bombing was pretty much what I said was the main reason this movie bombed. I said that the criticism towards Jordan’s casting was a very small part. I could’ve worded it better, I’ll give you that, but I didn’t say it was the main reason whatsoever, like you seem to think I did.

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    • If you go back and look at articles written in the run-up to Fantastic Four’s release in 2015, you can find plenty of evidence that there was a subset of fans who were, in fact, upset with the casting of a black actor as Johnny Storm.

      This piece collects a number of Twitter responses which explicitly object to Michael B. Jordan’s casting on racial grounds:

      http://www.dorkly.com/post/59560/twitter-cannot-handle-the-human-torch-casting

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  4. jeffthewildman

    The reaction to Jordan being cast as Johnny Storm wasn’t an aberration. I recall that when the abysmal Wild Wild West came out in the summer of 1999, a lot of fans of the TV show were up in arms over the casting of Will Smith as Jim West.

    I didn’t mind the casting. To me, when you have fictional characters, be they Jim West or Johnny Storm, you have wiggle room. It’s not like casting Denzel Washington as Abraham Lincoln or Charlton Heston as Malcolm X. With real people, it’s another matter.

    So I had no problem with Will Smith as Jim West. but the movie would’ve been a lot better if they had just ignored the issue of race in the script. But we ended up with lowest common denominator lynching jokes and other things that weren’t anywhere near funny.

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    • I remember all of that about THE WILD WILD WEST. Initially, I preferred George Clooney for the part, but after the filmmakers said the race of the character wasn’t important – he was just an actor playing a part – I was fine with it. Then, while seeing the colossal piece of garbage, I was hit with the fact that the whole reason for the lead character’s motivation was based on his race. That made the movie even worse. This was in addition to not getting the characters personalities right. Terrible waste of time that movie was.

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      • ^Well, it was probably due to race and I guess the suits at Warner Bros. thought that if they got the director of Men in Black for the film then they had to have Will Smith back, in the hopes that people would want to see the director and star of MIB do another film

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  5. Comic book fans are resistant to change. Yeah. True in many regards. Saying that a black actor is cast as a character who has “traditionally” been white, and saying those people are racist for disagreeing with the casting is a bit much. The character is not “traditionally” white. The character IS white. Comic book fans get upset over costumes not being correct. You think they’re not going to have issues with the race of a character being changed for no apparent reason other than to bow to diversity? In addition to changing the race of one of the siblings, they had to account for the other being white, so she ended up – in the movie – being a refugee from an eastern European war. Huh? FANT4STIC was terrible for so many reasons. In the end, a black Human Torch was the least of them, but in the initial decision to cast completely against type, it was obvious that the filmmakers had no desire to stick to the Fantastic Four that the fans of the comics had known for 50 years prior. Heck, I remember when Chris Evans was picked as the Human Torch (and later as Captain America). I was incensed that they chose a brunette for the part. In the transition to movies from the visual medium of comics, we tend to expect a direct translation on the easy stuff (like how the costumes look and the personalities of the characters). We get upset when things that should be easy to transition over are not done as we feel they should be. So yes, people were upset that a black actor was cast as the Human Torch, but not due to racism (in most cases), but because the love for the character prohibited in those people the desire to see him changed in any significant way. The filmmakers botched the easy part.

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