Fantastic Four grossed a disastrous $26.2 million this weekend on a movie that cost $120 million to produce, and even adding the $34 million it earned overseas, calling it a “flop” is warranted. It was worse than just about anyone predicted (many projected a $40 million opening) and the worst opening for a movie featuring Marvel characters (though it was distributed by Fox) since Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance‘s $22.1 million in 2012. As Forbes noted, “It would have almost been madness to predict that Fantastic Four was going to perform as badly as it did this weekend.”
The movie had pretty much everything going against it. Two previous terrible Fantastic Four movies from not that long ago already poisoned the brand, the marketing was bad (just look at this poster), and the movie wasn’t any good (my review). And there’s no need to dance on its grave, because whether it’s Josh Trank’s fault or Fox’s, everyone involved seemed to realize that this was a doomed project about halfway through production and washed their hands of it. Trank couldn’t stand behind it (understandably), and there are hints the studio weren’t big fans either.
For instance, let’s say you were marketing a huge movie called “Fantastic Four” that you spend $120 million making. What would be the most obvious thing to put in your press kit? A picture of the actual Fantastic Four, right? And yet 20th Century Fox put out just one picture of the four main characters together, and it’s with their backs turned: