Yesterday, when Disney announced their acquisition of Marvel Entertainment Group, we speculated that Disney would probably like to get back the number of superhero characters that Marvel had licensed out to other movie studios in the 1990s. Well, they’re going to have to wait a bit longer on getting the Fantastic Four back in the corporate stable as Twentieth Century Fox has announced that they have hired writer/producer Akiva Goldsman to spearhead a reboot of the franchise. Michael Green, who has scripted the upcoming superhero film Green Lantern, has been brought on to write the screenplay.
Fox has been closed-lipped about any further details, but if they are calling it a reboot, than it is doubtful that director Tim Story or any of the cast from Fox’s two previous Fantastic Four films will be back.
In Variety‘s report, they note that “Fox controls Fantastic Four in perpetuity — as long as it continues making the films.” However, they don’t specify under what conditions must Fox continue making films. Does one need to be in production every three or, more appropriately perhaps, four years or else the rights revert back to Marvel?
Although Fox’s previous two Fantastic Four movies grossed a little over a total of $620 million at the box office, critics and the comic characters’ core fanbase only greeted the franchise lukewarmly.
To say that I was one who only greeted the films lukewarmly would be a generous appraisal of my feelings. I found the tone of the films to be off, the stories lacking any of the scope that the material implies and the direction to be weak. From that standpoint, a reboot is most welcome in my view.
However, I am given pause at Goldsman’s involvement. Sure he has an Academy Award for scripting A Beautiful Mind, but that film and many others that have passed through Goldsman’s typewriter seem to have a way of falling about in their third act. Hopefully, he will stay on just the production side of things and let Green – whose Green Lantern script is rather good – do his stuff.
There has been no word on the fate of Fox’s in development Fantastic Four spin-off feature Silver Surfer. The studio has a screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski, but has not yet given a greenlight.