Fox Studios attempt to reboot its Fantastic Four property was an abysmal failure at the box office and with critics as well. It earned 26.2 million at the domestic box office which placed it only above "Ghost Rider: Spirits of Vengeance" (22 million) as the worst performing Marvel movie opening ever. The difference is that "GR:SoV" always had zero chance of being good and wasn't hyped as the beginning of a new shared (with Fox's X-Men) universe. Some lessons that should be taken to heart by any non-Marvel Studios attempting to make a Marvel comics movie:
1. Respect the source material. Listening to Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan say over and over that they hadn't read the comics and didn't need to should have been a huge red flag. Coupled with director Josh Trank's ("Chronicle") decision to go with a more "realistic" take on the team, fans were not exactly buzzing with anticipation well before any footage was shown. I mean, how long does it take to read a comic anyway? And if you feel it was somehow beneath you to read a lowly comic book, why in the hell are you in a comic book movie? Knowing that Kenneth Branaugh was a huge Thor fan, did not guarantee he would make a great movie (it was OK) but it did ensure he would respect the material and the audience that made that material worthy of a movie to begin with. Trank and company failed at every turn to convince fans they would do this.
2. Nobody wants a "realistic" comic book movie. Fans want a good movie where characters they care about are presented in a world that they are willing to suspend disbelief for. Because if you look too closely at any superhero, you begin to ask uncomfortable questions like, "why doesn't Tony just open source the arc reactor and end the energy crisis?" Or "why don't Storm and Thor just make it rain everywhere that needs it?" Realism is not only not needed in a comic book movie, it's not really wanted either.
3. Fans will not open your movie well just because you made it. Predictions had "Fantastic Four" opening at 45 million despite the early negative buzz. The feeling was that fanboys would show up in numbers enough to hit that mark and the bad word of mouth wouldn't hit until week two. When the first "Fantastic Four" opened in 2005 with a 58 million dollar weekend, that was the prevailing vibe. "Holy shit, they made an FF movie. OK, Jessica Alba as a blonde is a little weird but we'll go see it because, holy shit they made an FF movie!" Even the sequel opened at more than 50 million despite a mopey Silver Surfer and a swarm of space locusts as Galactus. Also, this:
4. Changing a characters race or gender for no reason isn't progressive. Casting Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch begat a thunderous hue and cry from the Geek-erati. And pretty much anybody who was against it was labeled a racist idiot. That's not accurate. In this case, changing Johnny Storm from a white guy to a black guy served no story purpose other than to inject a black character into a story about a previously white family. Everyone who approved called it a progressive and positive change. It wasn't. It was stunt casting and nothing more. "Look, there's a black person in our movie!" It could be seen as progressive IF BLACK SUPERHEROES DIDN'T ALREADY EXIST IN THE MCU. The MCU has had James Rhodes on board since the first Iron Man. War Machine will be an Avenger in the next movie. Sam Wilson will join him after 3 appearances in the MCU. The Black Panther gets his own movie in 2018 starring the electric Chadwick Boseman. Luke Cage will get his own Netflix series in 2016. So black people are hardly underrepresented in the MCU. DC has the whole Milestone catalog to choose from if you're looking for exciting black superheroes to put on screen. And if you're asking what the Milestone catalog is, don't worry. Nobody knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy were before Marvel Studios made a good movie about them either. If Marvel can make a talking tree and heavily armed raccoon work, someone should be able to get "Icon", "Hardware" or "Static Shock" to work somehow.
5. Don't trash the movie you just directed the night before opening weekend.
Yeah, don't do that at all.