Is ‘Fantastic Four’ Cursed?

The latest film version of Marvel’s Fantastic Four comic book franchise took a clobbering during its opening weekend, and the beat down has more than a few people wondering if the project is cursed.

The Washington Post was just one of many media outlets to note the rebooted Fantastic Four failed to achieve any kind of success at the box office. The paper reported that Fox’s latest version, Fantastic Four, took in around $26 million dollars, less than half the box office from Marvel Studio’s Ant-Man, released a month earlier.

Fantastic Four also did much worse than Fox’s previous attempts at the franchise. The studio made $56 million on the domestic debut of 2005’s Fantastic Four and $58 million with 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and neither of those films were considered box office gold.

The Washington Post noted that the poor reception fans gave Fantastic Four could have it replacing Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern film as the “go-to title for the easy superhero-trainwreck punch lines.” The Washington Post article is also among those that note that the Fantastic Four reboot seems to be sharing the same cursed fate as its predecessors.

According to the Washington Post, it is possible that Fantastic Four might recover its $120 million production cost if it does well in the overseas markets, but it has a long, uphill battle.

In examining why the film did so poorly, the Washington Post notes that Fantastic Four was a project with a number of difficulties in production. There are conflicting reports as to the relationship director Josh Trank had with producers, and how much input he had in the final version of Fantastic Four fans got to see.

What is known is that on the eve of the release of Fantastic Four, Trank did a “tweet and delete” where he essentially disavowed the film that theater-goers were about to see.

As the negative reviews rolled in, Cinelinx took a look at all the Fantastic Four films, asking why Hollywood had so much trouble with a title that, as a comic book back in 1961, launched Marvel to the top of the industry.

Among the reasons cited by Cinelinx is the fact that studios seem to be making Fantastic Four movies for the sake of making them. In the case of the 1994 adaptation (a film so bad it was never released in theaters) and perhaps the most recent Fantastic Four, studios were at risk of losing their licenses on the Fantastic Four characters. Rather than let that happen, movies were made that lacked the full budget and vision that the project needed. Many critical reviews of the most recent Fantastic Four cite lackluster special effects as one of the film’s drawbacks.

Cinelinx also notes that none of the films feature Fantastic Four nemesis Dr. Doom in the manner he is presented in the comics. His film versions all make him younger, more Americanized, and ignore the comic version’s use of sorcery.

[Image via 20th Century Fox]