The Fantastic Four flop at this week’s box office was inevitable. This movie has been riddled with controversy from the beginning. Fan backlash at casting, problems on the set, and the director slamming the movie all before the first showing helped contribute to what has become the worst-reviewed Marvel movie. It is as if someone was trying to derail Fantastic Four, and that may not be too far from the truth.
On the surface, this may seem like conspiracy theory at play, but there are certain events that have happened which just can’t be overlooked. It is no secret that Marvel has wanted control over their properties for Marvel Studios’ purposes since the beginning. This includes Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Spider-Man. Marvel has a lot of dollars backing them through their parent company. With Disney having two possible billion-dollar films in 2015, they could afford to make some decisions that might be beneficial to them in the future.
In October 2014, 10 months before Fantastic Four hit theaters, Marvel announced that they were canceling the Fantastic Four comic. The Fantastic Four has been known in the past as Marvel’s First Family. Why then do you shut them down two months before the movie reboot is to be released? Marvel used the excuse that sales for the comic have not been very good, but by those standards, there are a number of books that should be canceled.
Of course, Disney officials were quick to come out and say they had nothing to do with it. The chairman of Walt Disney Studios spoke with the Hollywood Reporter, and he confirmed Disney was not part of it.
“Fully independent decision, by the way, I didn’t even know about it. I mean, honestly, we don’t even [shrugs his shoulders].”
Horn offered up more than he should have, which can make you wonder.
Summer blockbuster movies usually have their fair share of merchandise that is released right along with it. Action figures, calendars, underwear — you name it. Most of the time it is hard to walk down any aisle in your local big box store and not find something pertaining to the movie. However, there is no merchandising at all. Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort was very clear, Forbes reported, when speaking about the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises they would not consider backing these movies with merchandise.
“If you had two things, and on one you earned 100% of the revenues from the efforts that you put into making it, and the other you earned a much smaller percentage for the same amount of time and effort, you’d be more likely to concentrate more heavily on the first, wouldn’t you?”
In both of these instances, the blame has fallen to Marvel Studios, but who really is pulling the strings on this. The obvious answer is Disney. The Fantastic Four flop was planned and executed by the House of Mouse, and it is working out just how they wanted it. Sony has already buckled and all but handed Spider-Man back to them. If Fox is smart, they might want to start negotiating with them about the X-Men before it is too late.
[Photo from Comic Vine]