The long-awaited Fantastic Four did not so fantastic at the box office this Friday, a direct result of fans’ disappointment in the latest film from the Marvel universe. You won’t see many people talking about how much they loved the film, which is perhaps the reason that it only grossed $11.3 million on its opening night Friday.
This is crushing for 20th Century Fox, since the pre-release poll showed that the film should make a minimum of $50 million on the first night alone. The polling didn’t come close to reality, since the film ended up with a C- Cinemascore from those who saw the film.
The poor showing puts 20th Century Fox in quite a predicament since it spent more than $125 million on the film’s production. For their sakes, the film had better do extremely well overseas if they ever want to see the green.
The $11.3 million opening night is not something Marvel is used to seeing. Avengers: Age of Ultron alone made $84.5 million on opening day in the United States, and 20th Century Fox’s last Marvel production, X-Men: Days of Future Past, made $90 million in one night.
There are a couple of reasons that critics expect it was such as flop. To begin with, the marketing for the film was a lot less aggressive than other comic-based movies. There was much less hype for this film than a lot of others in the comic universe.
Another reason could be that it wasn’t produced by Disney and Marvel Studios, like most of the beloved films in the Marvel universe. Disney seems to understand the comic-loving audience perfectly, allowing them to play to those strengths. Twentieth Century Fox is in a different dimension when it comes to this type of film. Even though they successfully produced the X-Men franchise, it has not made as much of a killing in the box office as Marvel Studios.
The reason that Fantastic Four will continue to see a not so fantastic turnout at the box office is the lack of plot and climactic buildup in the story. The characters are shallow, with very little character development, and many of the plot turns are left with holes or unanswered questions.
It’s extremely anticlimactic as well. Because of the lack of character development, the tension does not build to a logical conclusion like it should. When [spoiler alert] a main character dies, there is very little feeling because the viewer doesn’t ever have a chance to bond with that character.
At the final battle, the heroes come to a conclusion way too quickly with very little fight. There was no series of battles leading up the biggest and final battle like the traditional structure of superhero films that we have all come to know and love. Even though the good guys win, it’s an extremely unsatisfying victory. To top it all off, there was no after-the-credits scene to get you excited about the next part of the Marvel series.
In the end, many movie-goers left the theater a little more than disappointed. This not-so-fantastic debut had me driving to the movie rental store on my way home from the theater to pick up a copy of the 2005 version of the Fantastic Four in order to remind myself why I loved that Marvel comic series in the first place.
[Image via 20th Century Fox]