The Fantastic Four, Fox's third attempt at a movie based on Marvel 's first superhero family, came out last weekend. It released with... less than stellar reviews. In truth, Fantastic Four was doomed from the start. Ever since it was announced many years ago, bad rep circled around the production of this film like planets to the sun.
I'm in the minority of moviegoers that actually liked the film. It had flaws, like a rushed final act, tons of obvious cuts and re-shoots, and behind-the-scenes issues between the director and the studio - but it had a good story, a great cast of characters, and an amazing villain! With that being said, it's clear that Fox has lost a ton of money making this film.
The film made only $26.2 million at the box office, with fans verbally trashing it on social media - including the film's director! Josh Trank, the director of Chronicle, also directed the latest Fantastic Four, and was more than a little displeased when the reviews came rolling in. Expressing his disappointment on Twitter, Trank tweeted out (and then quickly deleted) a response seemingly blaming studio interference for the film's poor performance.
Trank's tweet, posted a day before the film's release, is rumored to have cost Fantastic Four MILLIONS of dollars - proving once and for all that bad word of mouth is very effective in killing a movie. Now, it's no secret that Trank clashed with Fox execs over his vision of the film. Studios interfering in a film's production is nothing new, especially not when it comes to superheroes. The MCU, a carefully pre-planned out film universe, is not without its fair share of "creative differences" stories.
Edgar Wright was originally set to direct Ant-Man, before creative differences caused him to leave the project. Similarly, Selma director Ava DuVernay was rumored to be in talks to direct the upcoming Black Panther, until she announced that she had passed on the film due to her and Marvel not seeing eye to eye story-wise.
So while there hasn't been any confirmation that Trank was telling the truth in his tweet, it's more than likely that Fox having a specific plan for the F4 franchise had a part in how the movie came out in the end. But regardless of how this version of Fantastic Four came to be, it's safe to say that it bombed. So what is Fox going to do now?
Well, while the future of the Fantastic Four franchise is still unclear, it seems as if Fox - despite many wanting the Fantastic Four to return to Marvel- will be keeping the franchise, and continuing on with plans for a sequel. Personally, I think this is a great idea. I'd hate to see the F4 rebooted again, and as I said, I didn't hate the film. It certainly warrants a sequel in my opinion, but that's only my opinion. The general consensus on this film is that it was a grade A stinker, so will people actually go and see a sequel? If it looks good, sure, they might. But even if the sequel looks good and performs well, it's still going to have the failure of the first film holding it down even after it releases. So what can Fox do to instill audience's faith back in the franchise? I have a pretty interesting idea.
Remember [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](tag:203942)? I mean, it came out only a year ago, so I would hope that you do! Featuring a cast of heroes larger than the Avengers (so pretty large!), DofP brought back a lot of the familiar faces from the early films, as well as some new heroes, like Evan Peters as the show-stealing Quicksilver!
But one player that was noticeably missing from the film was Rogue, portrayed by Anna Paquin in the original X-Men trilogy. She had a small cameo in the movie, but being a fan-favorite character, that wasn't enough for Rogue! Last month, a special edition DVD of Days of Future Past was released. Titled 'The Rogue Cut', this version of the film featured 17 extra minutes of deleted footage, centered on Anna Paquin's mutant character.
It was a huge hit with fans, with a special screening at this year's San Diego Comic-Con welcomed with a full house! It was reported that Rogue's scenes were originally cut from the theatrical version of the film because the filmmakers felt that they distracted too much from the main storyline. While this decision didn't negatively affect the film too much, the decision to add the scenes to the DVD definitely raised the film's popularity!
So what does the Rogue Cut have to do with Fantastic Four? Well, I believe that Fox's other superhero team can benefit from a "Rogue Cut" of their own!
No, I'm not suggesting that Fox add Rogue to the movie, although that would be pretty cool. What I am suggesting, however, is potentially much cooler! Let's say that Josh Trank is telling the truth, and his version of the film was cut and tampered with - resulting in the film we have today. Again, it has neither been outright confirmed or denied that this is true, but it's clear that Fox had a big hand in making the finalized version of this movie.
But if it's true, and there is a version of the film out there that we haven't seen, how long until we can see it? After all, it can't be lost forever...can it? In a world where every back-up is backed up, and that back-up's back-up is backed up, the data can't be gone for good. Somewhere out there, in the data cosmos, there's got to be Trank's version of the Fantastic Four hovering around!
If that's true, I think that Fox should absolutely get started on making a Director's Cut version of the film. But can an uncut version of Fantastic Four really save the film, and possibly, the franchise? Yes! Here's why!
DVD Sales Could Skyrocket!
When X-Men: Days of Future Past came out, it was met with high praise. Everything about it was incredible; the story, the action, the Wolverine (obviously), and even newcomer Evan Peters managed to wow audiences with his stellar performance as Quicksilver! Like I said before, the exclusion of Rogue -though noticed- wasn't really a big deal because the film was already really good. But when the Rogue Cut DVD came out, the film's popularity and sales skyrocketed! It was as if the film had just come out!
DVD sales, though not as important as box office numbers, are still a big deal. Even after the movie comes out, it can benefit well from a successful home release. Now, I'm not saying that DVD sales alone would be enough to make up for all the money that Fantastic Four lost Fox, it certainly won't. But releasing a DVD with a special Director's Cut version of the film is a great start.
Even all of the people who hated the theatrical version would be interested in checking out the uncut DVD, if for no other reason than to just compare and contrast the two versions. Even if the finished product ends up being three hours long, releasing an uncut Fantastic Four on DVD would certainly help with sales, and possibly spark some good word of mouth for the sequel!
It Might Solve Fantastic Four's Biggest Issue!
Remember this scene in the film? Where Sue Storm is crying over what looks to be her dying or critically injured brother Johnny? If you answered yes, you might be a compulsive liar. Sadly this potential emotional roller coaster of a scene was cut from the film, and it's not the only one. Now, as I've said before, and I'll continue to say because people still think I'm joking, I liked this film. But I am not blind to the clear edits and re-shoots that this movie went through.
At times, the movie feels rushed, and other times it feels like it's going too slow. The first 60% of this film is great, with a couple of minor, barely noticeable errors or nit picks. But the final act, as action-packed as it was, was kind of underwhelming. It just didn't match with the rest of the film, and what's worse is that it seemed to go by so quickly. For a 100 minute long movie, the whole ordeal ended rather quickly, likely due to scenes not connecting well or going by so fast.
The Director's Cut of this film could (potentially) fix all of that! How? By adding even more scenes, and making the whole experience feel more smooth and seamless. The final version of this film is VERY different from the version that was advertised. A fine example of just how different the film turned out to be, can be found on the posters for the film.
Most of the posters feature the Fantastic Four in one of two locations - on Planet Zero during the final act, or in New York City as fiery comets rain down on it. Planet Zero is featured heavily in the film, but a NYC in peril is noticeably unseen. This would have been such a cool scene! Doom likely made his way to New York City at some point, and rained fire down on its citizens.
This would have probably been the scene where the Four are forced to learn how to work together to stop Doom, and save the innocent civilians running frantically on the streets below. Now, posters are usually just used for promotion, so it's possible that this scene was never filmed at all, and that the fiery NYC background was just used as an eye-catcher in the posters.
But there are scenes that we know were in the movie at some point during production. In fact, most of the scenes found in the trailers before the film's release are nowhere to be seen in the movie! Not just that one with Sue and a possibly dying Johnny! Don't believe me? See for yourself. I have to admit, they all look like pretty cool scenes.
Reed Talking To Doom
This scene would have definitely added some much needed tension between Reed and Doom, whose rivalry was presented but hardly shown after Victor von Doom's transformation.
Funnily enough, in the final version of the film, Reed does mention wanting to talk to Doom after they find him, but the sinister Dr. Allen insists that he talk to him first. Bet you he wishes he had listened huh? I guess he just didn't think...aHEAD! It's...it's funny if you've seen the movie...
Ben Grimm Playing Baseball
Here's a scene I really wish could have made it into the final cut. Ben was apparently going to be a much more intriguing and compelling character in the film. He has dreams of playing baseball professionally, and his transformation into The Thing is even more sad when you realize that he can never achieve them.
A couple of scenes like this, with Ben practicing his swinging, would have been incredible and really emotional. Then again, you have to wonder why he doesn't just go ahead with his baseball dream? A ten foot rock monster with a killer pitching arm? The Mets might actually win the series! That's all the baseball humor I know!
Some B-roll footage of the movie has recently started to circle around the Internet, and in a few scenes you can see what appears to be the FantastiCar! The FantastiCar is essentially just a means of transportation for the team, and while this makeshift version of it isn't anything to scream over, it's certainly worth getting excited about!
It also means that the team was going to have more time to become...well, a team. While the final version of the film did a good job of showing the team work together - mainly for the final act- they didn't really feel like that much of a family throughout the film. This scene with the FantastiCar shows that the original cut of the film had them working as team more, possibly using it to solve other crimes, or just cruise around the town. That's what I would do with my superhero team if we had a car named after us!
So that's why I think a Director's Cut of Fantastic Four is definitely needed. While the final version of the film wasn't as bad as some reports have made it out to be, it certainly wasn't without its fair shares of flaws. But that's just my humble opinion. Either way, Fox is going ahead with the sequel, so let's hope they've learned from this and strive to make it a better film!