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Trivia / Fantastic Four (2015)

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  • Ability over Appearance:
    • Akin to the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall in Thor, African American actor Michael B. Jordan's casting as the traditionally-Caucasian Human Torch was based solely on his acting ability. More critical viewers have argued that he received the role because he was friends with the director, possibly evidenced by the interviews that confirmed that he had a part in the movie before the full cast was even hired.
    • In the comics, the Thing was a bulky guy even before he turned into a living golem. In this movie, he's played by the fairly lean Jamie Bell, who bulks up through motion-capture. Bell was most likely chosen for his ability to act over physical attributes.
  • Adored by the Network:
    • Even after the movie flopped at the box office, Fox apparently insisted that theaters keep playing the movie in spite of the low attendance. This got to the point they were very vocal about still going through with a sequel, until they quietly shelved it before the home video release.
    • It appears to be getting this treatment with FX.
  • Approval of God:
  • Ashcan Copy: The movie was made primarily so 20th Century Fox could keep the rights to the characters. The rights were retained, but the movie itself was a nuclear flop, killing the possibility of a sequel or another Fox-helmed reboot. Ironically, it's entirely likely that Fox would have actually made a lot more money if they had simply sold the rights back wholesale before entering production than they would in making a deal after the movie's release. In any case, this became entirely pointless when Disney bought 21st Century Fox's TV and film divisions and the franchises associated with them, including the remaining Marvel movie rights.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Kate Mara joined the cast because she liked superhero movies and wanted to play a superheroine herself. It should be noted that Mara had been turned down for a number of roles in other comic book movies beforehand. This is rather ironic considering that the director was very mean to her on set and that she has a rather strong distaste towards the finished product. (See "Creator Backlash" below.)
  • Box Office Bomb: The movie made only $25.6 million of its $155 million budget on its opening weekend, and another $34.1 million internationally, bringing in a little under $60 million. Compare this to Ant-Man, which made $57.2 million just domestically on its opening weekend and earned another $55 million internationally that same time, and Ant-Man, while certainly the better-received of the two, still fell short of Marvel's usual standards. The opening weekend is also the lowest for a superhero movie released since The Green Hornet. Overall, the movie made $56.1 million domestically and $111.8 million internationally, which doesn't even cover the theaters' cuts of ticket sales into account, let alone the advertising costs.

    To put into perspective how bad this movie's box office draw is, the website Box Office Mojo compared this film to Green Lantern. Despite being one of the most critically panned superhero films out there, Green Lantern made double the money that Fantastic Four made on its debut weekend and four times as much after two weeks. Furthermore, Fantastic Four's third week made less money than Ant-Man did on its sixth, sitting at the bottom of the top ten when all was said and done. Fantastic Four is expected to cost 20th Century Fox $80 million to $100 million. In terms of domestic gross, the movie could not meet the first Tim Story movie's opening weekend gross until its tenth week, by which point it was playing in less than a hundred theaters.

    To make matters worse, the $122 million budget that this movie was said to have had did not account for what it cost to film the reshoots (which were later revealed to bring the total cost up to $155 million). The principles of Hollywood Accounting would indicate that the movie could be as damaging to Twentieth Century Fox as Green Lantern was to Warner Brothers. In fact, It was revealed that Fox suffered a whopping 28% decline in revenue during the 3rd quarter.

    Adding insult to injury, Deadpool (2016), which was infamously put through Development Hell because the man who greenlit this movie thought it wouldn't do well, ended up earning more on its opening weekend than the entire gross earnings of this movie. (Fant4stic was one of the last Marvel productions that Fox executive Tom Rothman greenlit; he was successful at running the company but was also notorious for his Executive Meddling. He exited Fox in 2012 and did not greenlight Deadpool due to his strong disdain for the character.)
  • California Doubling: Baton Rouge, Louisiana stands in for New York City. New York-style buses were even brought in to make the sets look more realistic.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: Josh Trank himself never once referred to this film as "gritty." That was actually Simon Kinberg.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Fox executives weren't particularly happy with the first cut of the film, necessitating all the reshoots. Furthermore, many employees were disappointed with the final product shortly before the film's release.
    • And it turns out that Josh Trank was not happy with the final cut. He tweeted the following on the night before release, although it was quickly deleted:
    • Kate Mara noted that she hadn't seen the movie a month after its release, and has been very unwilling to watch it due to the intensely-negative reception. She also expressed disappointment in Josh Trank's aforementioned tweet, and has poked fun at the film flopping.
      Sebastian Stan: "I didn't see [the film]."
      Kate Mara: "Neither did the rest of the world."
    • Toby Kebbell, like Kate Mara, also expressed disappointment. He claimed to understand why fans were disappointed and noted that he still saw his part in the movie as a learning experience.
    • Simon Kinberg stated in an interview that he was "disappointed" with the way the film turned out, but stopped short of blaming any one element in particular, saying that he still believes there is potential for "a great Fantastic Four movie" to be made with the cast and crew but for whatever reason this project just wasn't it. In another interview, he stated that the team got the DNA of the source material wrong.
    • Even former Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch expressed distaste for the movie, solely blaming it for one of Fox's fiscal quarters earning hundreds of millions lower than their expectations.
    • After Fox removed the announced sequel from their release schedule, Michael B. Jordan admitted that he'd rather move on from the franchise than do a second film.
      Michael B. Jordan: "That project is one of the those things, you've got to accept sometimes that you can give 110% and still not turn out the way you want it. Some things are just out of your control, they're bigger than me."
    • Miles Teller eventually noted that he wasn't even happy with the movie going in, but thought that there was potential for the movie to be good with a few revisions. To that end, he did commend the crew's efforts to salvage the film.
    • Disney/Marvel, who was not involved with this at all, was also dissatisfied with it. While Fox kept pushing the Marvel label on the film, Marvel was pushing back to put as much distance as they could between themselves and the film, especially after word of the Troubled Production reached the press. Marvel succeeded in getting away unharmed and immediately disowned the movie, forcing Fox to take all the blame.
  • Creator Breakdown:
    • Director Josh Trank had a surprising outburst after the film's release, following the (rumoured) incredibly Troubled Production. The two factors will probably severely damage his career, and it's estimated that Trank's vocal displeasure may have contributed to the film being a commercial bomb.
    • Numerous reports on the production have had sources talking about Trank displaying many signs of eccentricity, from nearly coming to blows with Miles Teller (a guy Trank pushed heavily for the project to begin with), to completely isolating himself in the video village (where the monitors are) with no other crew members, to he and his dogs reportedly causing $100K worth of damage to the mansion he was staying at. Consensus seems to be he was ill-suited for this large of a production in retrospect.
  • Creator Killer: No term would be better applied to what this film did for Josh Trank. Between the movie's disastrous production and multiple accounts of situational incompetence or outright directoral jerkassery on his part, the box office failure of his film and the scathing reviews that came with it, his vocal displeasure with 20th Century Fox and refusing to own up to his own mistakes, and him getting fired from an upcoming Star Wars film, it's pretty safe to say that this is the last major studio tentpole that Trank is going to work on as a director for a long while. This is made especially painful that it happened so shortly after his Breakthrough Hit, Chronicle - he went from being one of the most sought-after young visionaries in Hollywood to a Persona Non Grata. Now, Trank may very well be regarded as the 21st-century equivalent of Michael Cimino, a view that could only intensify in light of Disney's acquisition of Fox just over three years after the film's release. Trank's next film Capone was released Direct-to-Video and despite Trank getting final cut over Capone, its reception wasn't much better than this film, further cementing his diminished stature in Hollywood.
  • Creator's Apathy: According to Jeremy Slater, Trank was not interested in making a comic-accurate version of the Fantastic Four, and during the scripting stage, his enthusiasm ran out at the point when the team got their powers, and wasn't interested in the various action setpieces that Slater tried to pitch to him. As a result, the shooting script didn't have an ending, and Fox had to hastily cobble one together during reshoots.
  • Creator's Favorite: The marketing campaign made no attempt to hide the fact that Josh Trank likes the Human Torch (as played by Michael B. Jordan, an actor he was friends with), who was advertised much more than the other characters.
  • Darkhorse Casting: Josh Trank wanted to go for rising stars as opposed to safe bets in order to make the Younger and Hipper aspect of the film more believable.
  • Dawson Casting: While never explicitly stated, the timeline given in the film would put Reed and Ben at around seventeen or eighteen when Reed is recruited to the Baxter program; Miles Teller and Jamie Bell being about ten years older than that at the time of filming.
  • Disowned Adaptation:
  • Dueling Movies: The movie originally had the odds stacked against it by being wedged between three major blockbusters - it would have competed with Jurassic World, which was slated to be released in the previous weekend, Inside Out, which would be released the same weekend as Fantastic Four, and Ted 2, which was going to come out in the following weekend. Fox noticed this problem and pushed the release date back by two months, making it compete with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), and Straight Outta Compton. Unfortunately, the move didn't help the movie at all once the bad word-of-mouth came around, and it ended up lagging behind Rogue Nation on its opening weekend.
  • Dueling Works: With Ant-Man for the position of the more successful late-Summer superhero movie. It lost, leaving Ant-Man as the dark horse victor in the situation (as many presumed it would be a major flop due to the titular hero being something of a punchline among comic book fans).
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Kate Mara dyed her hair blonde. She put on a wig for the reshoots.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Josh Trank envisioned his film as being between 2 hours and 20 minutes long; Fox cut that down significantly to a little over 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus about 10 minutes for credits. Judging by Trank's now-infamous comment about the film, it also appears that the rumors that he wasn't very involved in editing and reshoots are true, meaning that the studio took over. Numerous reviews noted that the reshot scenes (in which Kate Mara wears a noticeable wig) are primarily in the second half, which feels like it belongs to a different movie than the first half.
    • Entertainment Weekly later revealed that Trank lost the dressing room because he was combative and abusive toward the cast, producers, and crew, at one point almost getting into a fistfight with Miles Teller. This, combined with personal issues (such as Trank trashing his rental house in response to a landlord's complaint), led Fox to pull Trank from the film's production prior to the reshoots. The same article also mentions that Fox insisted that Trank include Kate Mara as Sue Storm and as a result, the two didn't get along during principal photography.
    • Ironically, according to sources who have spoke out in articles about the production, Fox tried to keep their distance from the project as a response to the perception of Fox as micromanaging taskmasters due to X-Men Origins: Wolverine's own Troubled Production and just let their new auteur work. However, by the time the production was going off the rails and they started to interfere, it was too late to save the project, which now had a disorganized vision and executive meddling.
    • Trank has claimed the studio blocked him from hiring a black actress to play Susan Storm.
  • Executive Veto: Supposedly, Marvel's corporate heads (or possibly their lawyers) vetoed the possibility of an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover, which is why the initial plan to create a Shared Universe was shot dead so suddenly at the beginning of production. Regardless of whether or not they could make it work, the film's critical thrashing and subsequent nuclear box office meltdown torpedoed any future chances of crossover for this particular iteration of the Fantastic Four. It's been suggested that a crossover was only suggested in the first place in order to blunt the movie's bad word of mouth and to get X-Men movie fans to buy tickets.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • Victor Von Doom is being played by a British actor, though the character is from eastern Europe (Latveria borders Hungary, Serbia, and Romania). On top of all that, the actor has said his version is an Americanized European who still has a hint of an accent.
    • Also English-born Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm.
    • American-born Kate Mara is playing Sue Storm, who is Kosovo-born in this adaptation. She briefly uses an accent.
  • Fan Nickname:
  • Follow the Leader: It was one of the most recent entries into the genre that sought to do to its property that Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy starting with Batman Begins did for it's in trying to create a more serious and grounded version of the mythos. It (together with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice the following year) ultimately didn't help in seeing that movement continue.
  • Follow-Up Failure: The movie was meant to be better than the other attempts at making Fantastic Four movies. It was the worst-reviewed out of all of them and bombed heavily unlike them. In fact, the first two films were compared favorably to this one with reviews stating that while those movies didn't utilize all the potential they had, they at least had coherent stories and felt like comic book movies.
  • Franchise Killer: This would prove to be the very last Fantastic Four movie produced by 20th Century Fox before the film division was sold to Disney, allowing them to integrate the Fantastic Four, X-Men and Deadpool into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Genre-Killer: The failure of this film and the underperformance of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, combined with the success of goofier and more lighthearted works like Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and Fox's own Deadpool (2016), proved that the realism and more serious tone seen in the Nolan-directed Batman movies only worked if they were present in the source material. As such, it's likely that any future superhero movies that do contain that Nolan-esque brand of seriousness are going to be adaptations of works with said seriousness present in their source material.
  • God Does Not Own This World: Marvel had absolutely no creative control over the content of the film - it was entirely a Fox production. Stan Lee later mentioned that Fox did not consult with him at all about the project, and he also joked that the movie didn't do well because they didn't call him over to make a cameo. Fox tried to insinuate that this wasn't the case to people who weren't paying attention by prominently including the Marvel logo in the trailers, most likely to try to fool people into thinking it was a movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Fox had to chase Marvel, who did not want anything to do with the film and subsequently escaped Fox and the film's failure).
  • God Never Said That: No one ever told the cast not to watch the previous Fantastic Four movies.
  • Hostility on the Set: During production, Josh Trank was abusive with the cast, crew and the producers, and this was one of the major contributing factors to its Troubled Production. There is at least one report of Trank and Miles Teller nearly getting into a fist fight on set.
  • Invisible Advertising: Disney+ gave no advance notice of this movie's addition to their US branch; not even any "What's Coming to Disney+ in June?" articles listed it.
  • Mid-Development Genre Shift: After the studio was left displeased with a rough cut of Josh Trank's work — which was intended to be a Body Horror Genre Deconstruction — the movie was revised into a standard superhero movie narrative, featuring additional setpieces and jokes added to the script.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: A number of sequences were cut from the movie, but were still visibly advertised.
    • The sequence where Thing jumps out of a plane and leads a one-man assault against a military compound was removed from the film entirely.
    • The shot of Johnny looking down a hall before "flaming on" was also cut.
    • The Vagueness Is Coming line was completely removed, as is Doom's conversation with Reed. Dr. Allen is the one standing over Doom and questioning him in the final cut of the film.
    • In one of the trailers, Doom says "You opened a door you don't know how to close." This was not in the film.
    • In the second trailer, the Thing is standing over Doom and about to punch him; this never happened in the film.
    • In more than one of the trailers, a crying Susan is looking over her brother Johnny in the negative zone, as if he's injured and she's worried about it. This was not in the film.
    • Some shots from the final battle (Reed's controlling his punch and Ben's big punch) are there, but completely different from how they were in the trailer.
    • A few more mentioned here.
  • Not Screened for Critics: The movie was screened for critics a mere two days before it was released in the United States. However, the movie was intended to be premiered in several regions before then - which did not have screenings for critics either. And then the international premieres were delayed until after the United States premiere, which essentially means that the movie was only screened for critics at the eleventh hour, at which point it might as well not have been screened for them at all. The online embargo lasted until two days before the release date and the print embargo lasted until the release date.
  • Old Shame:
    • The cast playing the Fantastic Four in the movie seemed to be very sarcastic and generally despondent in interviews taking place right before the release of the film, indicating that they were unhappy with the final product and want to forget about it. Since the release of the film, the cast who have been interviewed indicate that they were unhappy with the state of the movie and wished that it could have been better.
    • Josh Trank made it clear that he saw the movie as this on its opening night. Later, an update he made to his Instagram page listing his credits actually censors the title of this movie, only keeping reference to Chronicle and Capone. Trank has since made jokes at his own expense about the movie on social media, and later wrote that he felt that he failed Stan Lee after he passed away. Years later, he decided to rewatch it, and while he doesn't hate it as much as he used to, his review on Letterboxd is still only two stars out of five, praising the cast and little else and saying that he was in over his head working on such a blockbuster as only his second feature film.
    • Conversely, Jeremy Slater and Simon Kinberg released more positive statements about the film right after release. Kinberg, however, later expressed disappointment with the film, outright stating "we didn't make a good movie" when pressed on the issue. Similarly, Slater apologized to fans on Twitter about his involvement in the film.
    • A slightly downplayed example for producer Matthew Vaughn, who hopes to direct his own version of the Fantastic 4 note  as an apology for this film.
  • Preview Piggybacking: The movie tried to do this with the trailer for Deadpool, although it didn't help the movie's box office numbers in the end.
  • Production Posse: Josh Trank and Michael B. Jordan worked together on Chronicle, and Jordan plays the role of Johnny Storm.
  • Release Date Change: The movie was originally scheduled to come out on March 6, 2015, but was later moved to June 19, and August 7 after that.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Josh Trank's on-set behavior cost him the dressing room for reshoots, a Star Wars movie, and potentially his career as a director at least where big-budget projects. The highly-publicized tweet he sent out slamming the movie certainly didn't help. He has, however, started work on a more modestly-budgeted film since then.
  • Romance on the Set: Apparently, Jamie Bell and Kate Mara started dating during the production. Eventually, they got married in 2017.
  • Saved from Development Hell: The movie started development in 2009 (around the time the Marvel Cinematic Universe was starting up), but did not go anywhere until Josh Trank was completely committed to the project by 2014.
  • Star-Derailing Role:
  • Stillborn Franchise: After the movie flopped, a planned sequel was taken off of Fox's release schedule. The killing blow was the announcement from Disney CEO Bob Iger, in the wake of Disney purchasing assets from 20th Century Fox, announcing that they intend to integrate the Fantastic Four and X-Men properties into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Streisand Effect: Fox's attempt to cover up information leaks about the Troubled Production — particularly, one rant allegedly posted by Josh Trank on an imageboard — invariably ended up increasing awareness of it in certain circles. The imageboard instance in particular is notable, as it seemingly confirmed that the poster was in fact Josh Trank and not just a troll, given the actions Fox took.
  • Troubled Production: As described in a thirteen video series produced by YouTube channel Midnight's Edge and on This Very Wiki, the film's production was quite chaotic. The script was extensively rewritten throughout production, director Josh Trank left production because of his on-set behavior and conflicts with the studio, and Fox conducted re-shoots in Los Angeles, ballooning the budget as a result.
  • What Could Have Been: Has its own page.
  • Writer Revolt: After being told that he needed to make further changes to the movie in post-production after the previous bout of Executive Meddling, Josh Trank stopped cooperating with Twentieth Century Fox. They proceeded without him.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: In the midst of filming, numerous changes to the script were made. Rewrites got so bad that by the time they finished production, they didn't even film an ending to the movie, and the ending was filmed during reshoots.
  • Written-In Infirmity: Miles Teller's scars were added to the child actor playing the younger version of Reed Richards, even though they could have been relegated to a Noodle Incident between the prologue and the present day of the story.


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