Fox and Marvel have been at each others throats for over a decade now and while Marvel has found a successful superhero formula, Fox is still trying to figure it out. They found success in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Deadpool, but their failures outweigh the successes.
Their latest installment in the X-Men franchise, X-Men: Apocalypse, has received early reviews and currently...it looks like the film falls in line with the rest of their blunders:
Disappointingly [succumbs] to an exhausting case of been-there-done-that-itis.
-Geoff Berkshire, Variety
Despite the undeniable presence of a huge amount of action, X-Men: Apocalypse is decidedly a case of more is less.
-Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
While critics have become a highly debated subject when it comes to superhero films, you cannot deny that critic opinions affect the box office, and the box office affects the movie studios. We saw how critic opinion hurt Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at the box office, so it's easy to predict that if the same lackluster reviews continue to pour in, then we may see another box office fail from Fox.
There is an option for Fox though. This is a horse that has been beaten well past dead, but I think it would be fair to keep the discussion going with this latest news. Fox needs to do something if Apocalypse fails, because add that along with the Fantastic Four failure and Fox could be in such a large hole with moviegoers that Deadpool 2 wont even be enough to save them.
If Apocalypse does fail, I think Fox will start to consider sharing the film rights of both X-Men and Fantastic Four with Marvel. There are going to be obstacles in the way of this possibility, but I think I can weed out most of them.
What About the Currently Planned X-Men Films?
Many fans will say it is impossible that Fox will sell the X-Men franchise when they currently have Wolverine 3, Deadpool 2, and four other films lined up through 2019. Fans need to remember that even though they have films scheduled, it does not mean that plans wont change. Until Fox officially starts filming and putting money down on a film, they do not HAVE to do anything. Sony originally had multiple Spider-Man films and spin-offs planned up until their announced deal with Marvel, and the reason being because they knew they could not compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and realized they would profit more from having Spider-Man in the same universe as the successful Avengers franchise.
Another interesting link between both Sony and Fox's situation is that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 garnered the same kind of negative feedback that X-Men: Apocalypse is receiving currently. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is standing at mediocrity with a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and currently X-Men: Apocalypse sits with a 49% rating. This rating will of course fluctuate over the coming weeks though, so Fox still has some hope.
How Could This Work?
Many fans would ask the obvious question of how could you fit the X-Men into an already crowded Marvel Universe? Do the X-Men travel from an alternate universe into Marvel's own or does Fox/Marvel do a complete reboot with the franchise?While the alternate universe idea would be interesting; personally I am leaning towards a complete re-haul of the property. Reboot the entire X-Men franchise within the well established Marvel Cinematic Universe.
How are they going to do this?
This is just one man's humble opinion, but is it not possible that the X-Men could have been living right under our noses in the MCU the whole time much like Spider-Man?
In Captain America: Civil War, it is stated multiple times that super human beings are growing at an alarming rate since Tony Stark announced himself as Iron Man back in 2008. Is it really out of the realm of possibility to believe that some of these beings were mutants in hiding that are ready to come out and face the world whether they be hero or villain?
Where were the X-Men from Iron Man - Civil War? What if they were hiding in San Francisco at Charles Xavier's school for Gifted Youngsters? They were hiding from society and Dr. Xavier was keeping them safe from how civilization would treat their abilities. But now the world has plenty of superheroes, so why not let the X-Men out to play? That is just one idea, but it proves that if a deal ever were to get done, Fox/Marvel could find a way to make it work.
What About Deadpool?
This would probably be on the minds of every superhero fan as soon as this hypothetical news broke, and it is a fair concern. Ryan Reynolds did an amazing job and Deadpool was one of the best superhero movies to date, so there is no way Fox could just scrap it and reboot the property; but maybe they wouldn't need to.
Deadpool featured little references to the actual X-Men films outside of jokes about Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and James McAvoy so it's possible to build the film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Deadpool is already known for his fourth wall breaking and making jokes about the inner workings of movie studios, so in a way it would almost make sense if the current Deadpool was transferred over to Marvel. It is in the characters nature to be flexible in that way. There have already been talks about finding a way to bring Fox's Deadpool and Marvel/Sony's Spider-Man together on the big screen, so Deadpool would easily be safe from any reboot talks in the Marvel Universe.
This is obviously a little premature considering X-Men: Apocalypse has not even been released to the general public yet, but I think this discussion has been building up for a while now, and the early reviews will bring the discussion up anyway. The point of the article is that IT CAN WORK, if both Fox and Marvel come together and decide to build something that could truly be incredible and give fans the dream they have had since 2008: a complete Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the current MCU is amazing, most Marvel fans will always feel it is missing something, and X-Men plus the Fantastic Four could fill that void.
While Fox does not take fan interest into consideration, they do take the fans' money into consideration. If X-Men: Apocalypse is a box office bust, then I expect Fox to take a good look at the money Sony will be making with Spider-Man being a part of the MCU.