There is no hiding the fact that Fantastic Four did not meet anyone’s expectations, unless those expectations were failing ones. Fox stands to lose up to $60 million dollars due to its underwhelming $26.2 million dollar debut, and things could get worse if they continue to progress the way they are now.
Because of director Josh Trank‘s volatile and revealing tweet, we were shown the ugly side of studio interference. But it’s not as though Trank is without blame. Throughout the production of the film, the filmmaker has been hostile to both the cast and creative team, even to the homeowners who rented the house to him. Through great effort, PR tried to make it seem as though there was no validity to any of these rumors with exclusive interviews of Trank and Kinberg sitting together as if they were friends, but word was getting out, and there was no stopping the inevitable.
The Fantastic Four reboot then confirmed what we all knew, there was a huge shift in tone and wigs in the final third act of the film. On Monday, we learned of the many problems that plagued the production of the film were aired out. Now a new report is out revealing just how problematic Trank has been during the filming process, and it is supporting previous reports of his strange behavior. More on this below.
THR says that during the film’s press junket, Trank apparently tried to get the cast members to hype Fantastic Four by sending them e-mails telling them to say that the film was “better than 99 percent of the comic-book movies ever made.” But an unnamed cast member said “I don’t think so.”
Of course, with word already spread about what many already knew, Trank tweeted out his frustrations towards his very own film. Which wasn’t a wise decision on his part as it apparently has angered Fox executives. But it gets worse. Not only is what is being reported now just the tip of the iceberg, now Trank has hired pit bull lawyer Marty Singer to protect him from whatever may be coming.
With the first 2/3s of the film being reasonably entertaining, the site is revealing that Trank “did not produce material that would have opened the way to a salvageable film.” In fact he resisted any help at all, isolating himself from everyone by building a black tent around his monitor. Trank’s deleted tweet tried to shift the blame on the studio, but with everything that is coming out now, it is only supporting the previous reports of his erratic behavior, which first broke when he was let go from the young Han Solo Star Wars standalone movie.
But it wasn’t as if Fox wasn’t in complete control, in fact they liked Trank’s initial idea of a more grounded and gritty Fantastic Four. From THR:
Sources say Fox believed in what one executive calls a “grounded, gritty version of Fantastic Four that was almost the opposite of previous versions” — and initially thought Trank could deliver that. Several sources say Fox stood by Trank as he pushed a gloomy tone on young stars Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell. “During takes, he would be telling [castmembers] when to blink and when to breathe,” one person says. “He kept pushing them to make the performance as flat as possible.”
In fact, Fox had believed in Trank at first because he was able to deliver Chronicle, a $127 million dollar movie made on a $12 million dollar budget. “Insiders say Fox executives thought they had found an ‘in-house director,’ a young talent who could become another J.J. Abrams.”
Wishful thinking, and what can now be considered a fluke. While Fox is doing damage control, they aren’t completely without blame. According to the report, the studio’s plan to rush Fantastic Four in order to keep the rights completely blew up in their face.
A crewmember acknowledges that Trank bears much of the fault for the film’s problems but also says the Fox studio should not escape blame. The movie was “ill-conceived, made for the wrong reasons and there was no vision behind the property,” this person says. “Say what you will about Marvel but they have a vision.”
As Fox hurried to put the project into production before rights to the material reverted to Marvel, the studio was scrambling with multiple rewrites and delays in starting the film. They “were afraid of losing the rights so they pressed forward and didn’t surround [Trank] with help or fire him. They buried their heads in the sand.” Fox declined to comment.
In fact as production came to a close, Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker had to scramble to come up with a satisfying ending. Problem was that production had reached a point where some of the cast had become unavailable. Much of the scenes were shot in Los Angeles, with doubles having to take the place of the absent actors while Teller had to stand against a green screen. Trank himself was “neutralized by a committee.” Eventually they had to bring in World War Z scribe Drew Goddard to salvage what was left of this mess. But we won’t know how much of a positive impact he had on the film, if any.
Now, what we do know is that Trank and Fox had a plan, but somewhere along the way there was a disagreement, which lead to hostile relations, which lead to a terrible film shoot, which then lead to reshoots, rewrites, etc. And finally it all leads us to today, with the Fox and Trank taking all sorts of blame.