Box Office: ‘Fantastic Four’ Bombs With $26.2 Million Weekend

THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Scathing reviews and an indiscreet tweet left “Fantastic Four” on the slab after the franchise reboot flopped at the weekend box office.

Fox’s hopes of rejuvenating the comicbook characters and turning the super-team into a cinematic juggernaut to rival “X-Men” have flamed out given that the film debuted to a dreadful $26.2 million across 3,995 theaters. With a production budget of $120 million, plus millions more in marketing costs, the film will need to get a substantial boost from foreign crowds to avoid being a writeoff.

The studio was banking on a cast of up-and-coming actors like Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller and a wunderkind director in the form of “Chronicle’s” Josh Trank to push the Human Torch, the Thing, Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic into the modern era, but production difficulties may have doomed the project. Trank reportedly exhibited bizarre behavior on set that was so extreme it cost him his gig directing a “Star Wars” spinoff. He seemed to acknowledge those tensions, blaming studio-mandated reshoots for the poor critical notices in a tweet Thursday that he subsequently deleted.

“This turned into a nightmare for Fox,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong and the whole thing fell apart.”

“Fantastic Four’s” opening is well below the $40 million-plus debut that most analysts had projected and trails the $56 million launch of 2005’s “Fantastic Four” and the $58 million bow of 2007’s “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” It’s the worst opening for a movie featuring Marvel Comics’ characters since “Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance” debuted to $22.1 million in 2012. A C- CinemaScore means that word of mouth is going to be toxic.

“The confluence of clearly the decidedly negative reviews with the combination of social media did not help the cause,” said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson.

He was not willing to write off the “Fantastic Four” series yet, but stressed that the studio would be engaged in a rigorous postmortem about the film’s failure. The foursome’s future might be as supporting players in other comicbook characters’ movies.

“We have a lot to look forward to in our comicbook character universe,” said Aronson. “We may find different ways to feature these characters in the future, but it’s early and we’ll have to see what form that takes.”

The film’s opening weekend crowd was 60% male and 51% under the age of 25.

“Fantastic Four’s” anemic opening was good news for “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” which edged out the comicbook movie to capture first place on the box office charts. The Paramount sequel earned a strong $29.4 million in its second week in theaters, pushing its domestic total to $108.7 million.

It was a crowded weekend at the multiplexes with four new wide releases piling into theaters. Among the new entrants, STX Entertainment’s “The Gift” fared best, with the thriller picking up $12 million across 2,503 theaters and nabbing a third place finish. That’s a solid debut considering the film, which Blumhouse Productions co-financed and co-produced, cost a mere $5 million to make. It marks STX’s first theatrical release — the studio was launched in 2014 by producer Robert Simonds with the goal of making the kind of mid-budget films that studios have largely abandoned in favor of superhero adventures.

“This is an exceptional start for our company,” said Kevin Grayson, STX’s domestic distribution group president. “We got to battle test our marketing and distribution groups.”

Grayson said the film has been playing more like a psychological thriller than a horror movie, so he believes it should hold up well in coming weeks instead of fading quickly. The audience skewed older and female, with women making up 53% of the opening crowd and 73% of ticket buyers over 25 years old.

“We knew people were chomping at the bit to get more adult-skewing product,” Grayson said.

Sony’s “Ricki and the Flash” got off to a slower start, picking up $7 million from 1,603 theaters. The film stars Meryl Streep as an aging rocker reconnecting with her estranged family, and the hope is that the picture, which appeals to older crowds, will gradually build its audience in the coming weeks. It cost an economical $18 million to produce and is the first release from the rebooted TriStar, the label Tom Rothman was overseeing before he took the reins as head of Sony Pictures.

“It’s an audience that is probably going to come out over a period of time,” said Rory Bruer, distribution chief for Sony. “Films like this have a tendency to play for many, many weeks to come.”

The final new release, Lionsgate’s “Shaun the Sheep,” didn’t make much of a stir, opening Wednesday and earning $4 million this weekend and $5.6 million in its first five days in theaters. The studio paid roughly $2 million for the rights along with promotion and advertising costs. The break-even point is at approximately $15 million, making it a low-risk investment.

Among arthouse players, Sony Pictures Classics’ coming-of-age drama “Diary of a Teenage Girl” earned $54,525 on four screens, with a per-screen average of $13,631. IFC expanded World War II thriller “Phoenix” from four to 27 screens, where it generated $135,810, bringing its domestic total to $259,492. Focus World bowed thriller “Cop Car” in three locations and on-demand. It took in $27,000 for a per-theater average of $9,000 and is of particular interest to Hollywood as it was directed by Jon Watts, the man who just took over the “Spider-Man” franchise.

The top five was rounded out by Warner Bros.’ “Vacation” with $9.1 million and Disney and Marvel’s “Ant-Man” with $7.8 million, pushing their totals to $37.3 million and $147.4 million, respectively.

Final numbers are still being tallied, but the overall box office will be down steeply compared to the same weekend a year ago, as none of the new films could match the $65.6 million debut of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or the $42.1 million second weekend of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s the second straight week of declines, a sign that ticket sales are slowing down entering the dog days of summer.

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  1. okay so who’s bright idea was it to make johnny storm a black man…not that I have anything wrong with a black man playing the part, but really, come on. The comic books have as a white man and the younger brother of sue storm. he looks older than sue in the movie. I was not impressed. Do us a favor, and quit screwing around with the characters!

  2. Duder NME says:

    “He was not willing to write off the “Fantastic Four” series yet, but stressed that the studio would be engaged in a rigorous postmortem about the film’s failure. The foursome’s future might be as supporting players in other comicbook characters’ movies.”

    Y’see, Marvelites? Fox ain’t letting go that easily. Prepare to see the Four in X-Men spinoffs. Enjoy the suck.

  3. Chi M'Pout says:

    Can’t figure out WHY this tanked? Really? None of you geniuses have a CLUE? Here, let me help you out. Last I checked, ’twas the brother who became a brother, and the sister was set as an adopted, soon-to-be-mudshark. PEOPLE ARE TIRED of having this social engineering shoved down their throats!!! Do you NOT LISTEN TO YOUR FANS???????

  4. as a semi comic book nerd this story put a smile on my face..Hollywood needs to leave establish comic book franchises alone, stop trying reimagine things. stop trying to change storylines, characters etc to please the pc police. Obviously were not buying it or willing to drink the fool-Aid. you want more diverse super heroes come up with new ones or remake movies of established black super heroes like maybe spawn or green lantern etc etc. comic book fans are loyal to story lines and characters leave race out of it.

  5. Adam says:

    If I were running Fox studios I would dump the F4 franchise and sell it back to Disney/Marvel asap.

  6. Ono says:

    This is sad. Eventhough I never supported this movie, I never expected it would end up to be this low that I feel really sorry about it. Hoping for substantial boost from foreign crowds? Not likely. There isn’t even any buzz about this movie in my country, many people I know never even realized it has opened, and those that do (because they see the billboards on the theatres), chose to see Mission Impossible instead. Where did those marketing money go then? :(

    I think it’s high time for Fox to sell back the rights or just let it return to Marvel silently…

  7. Ima Right says:

    HOLLYWEIRD SUCKS! BUT WHAT MORONS PAID TO SEE CRUISE IN THAT CRAP? THAT’S NOT
    MISSION IMPOSSIBLE WHICH WAS A BRILLIANT CLEVER SERIES AND THE MOVIES ARE NOT!

  8. buffalobilly says:

    who hired that crumby director????

  9. BobC. says:

    ENOUGH!!! No more superhero movies!!! The glut is killing the genre (thank God).

  10. T M says:

    Ant the experts missed the projected #1 box office title by close to $20 million again this week. The 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and apparent public disinterest (despite a fairly sizable marketing campaign) made it obvious it wouldn’t do $45 million. Glad to see MI keeping it going and that The Gift did well.

  11. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED WEEK2 #1 says:

    I said all along that MI5 was strong enough to repeat. It is a phenomenal film! And I’m saying it now, MI5 has a solid shot at a three-peat next weekend. Next weekend’s drop-off will be even smaller than this weekend. The new releases look so unnecessary and so been there, done that decades ago. Basically we’re getting a retelling of BOYZ IN THE HOOD(SOMETHING THE African American COMMUNITY REALLY DOESN’T NEED RIGHT NOW IN THEATERS, and a 60s version of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

  12. loco73 says:

    Josh Trank is a “wunderkind” because he directed “Chronicle”?! A mediocre movie with a forgettable cast…that is what qualifies a self-important hack like Trank as a “wunderkind”…wow those are some low standards…

    How is that working out so far?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hahahah, this movie had disaster written all over it. Terrible casting, script, trailers, production problems, bad press. What a failure!

  14. Reblogged this on The Pop Culture Cafe and commented:
    Okay so I have not made my opinion shy about this film. Okay not on here but on my podcast. But I have no plans on seeing this film. I also have said I hope it flops. Well at this moment it seems to be doing just that. The film still has the overseas market to help it along. Of course that could save the film money wise.
    Honestly I hope not. I was never a fan of the idea for this film. It’s re-imagining of the original story. Yes I know the other 2 films were not that great but they were still a little closer then this. I believe this all has to do with people that have no idea of the characters or rich history to the FF.
    Please let if finally go back to the firm but creative hands over at Marvel. I sure Marvel sheds a little tear when their name is on the screen each time a FF movie is done. A tear of sadness and disgrace.

  15. EK says:

    Still “bombs” the headline. Really stupid when readers have pointed out its use as insensitive to say the least.

  16. Bill B. says:

    Good. Maybe this will put an end to this junk. One can only hope that this is the beginning of the public getting tired of endless & many times awful comic book movies.

  17. cadavra says:

    In fairness to SHAUN THE SHEEP, it’s already played the rest of the world and is out on DVD, so anyone with an all-region player could easily have seen it by now. Since that includes an awful lot of Aardman fans, that–coupled with the minimal marketing push here–guaranteed a low number, regardless of the 99% RT score.

  18. Paully says:

    I called it on F4 about 1 year ago.. All the fans knew that this would be a terrible film.. Hey here’s an idea if you don’t like comic books don’t direct a comic book film (Trank).. Also I was personally insulted that when I and other fans complained we were all called “racists”, no we are just fans of the original Jack Kirby genius. Fox give F4 back to Maevel/Disney and really this film was just an attempt for Fox to keep the rights .. Insulting to all comic book fans.

    • Max says:

      Whoever called you racist probably didn’t read the comic book and is probably under 25. I am black and grew up in the hood in the 70s watching and reading everything Marvel. I’m glad this movie tanked with the hopes that of Fox selling the rights over to Marvel. I worked at Fox and I think they are to arrogant to admit defeat just like they arrogantly pushed “their” interpretation of FF. I hope they don’t put this cast in a X-Man movie.

  19. jhs39 says:

    People don’t really need another Fantastic Four origin story–if they made a sequel with the right filmmakers and a reasonable budget given the first film’s failure it could still be successful. The G.I. Joe sequel took forever to make because the original wasn’t particularly well-liked and given its out of control budget probably not very profitable. But the sequel was made for a much more modest budget, added The Rock and Bruce Willis and became a genuine hit–unlike its pricey predecessor. I don’t think people are averse to a Fantastic Four sequel and even many critics said the new movie feels like a very long set-up for a much more entertaining sequel–maybe Fox should keep that in mind rather than write the whole thing off as a disaster. Maybe Bryan Singer of the Fox X-Men franchise could be persuaded to direct a Fantastic Four sequel. Given how popular his X-Men films are (and how much fans hated the third film which he didn’t direct) hiring Singer would likely give the film instant credibility that it wouldn’t otherwise have.

  20. Adverse To Hyperbole says:

    Trank a “wunderkind director”? Hardly, and careful with your terminology. Orson Welles and Steven Spielberg were “wunderkind directors”. Trank’s CHRONICLE was a reasonably diverting sci-fi thing with above-par tech credits. Easily digested and just as easily forgotten. Northing more than that, really.

  21. The movie is terrible.

  22. jones says:

    Its simple….Fox went not 100% in but 50% combine that with a director who has issues with the whole world…..and change the material…I am surprised it grossed over 25 mil…this weekend

  23. FF Fan says:

    I’ve been a Marvel Comics fan for over 25 years and I will not EVER watch another Fox produced Marvel movie in in theaters again. Do no count on me, or many others like me, being part of some kind of built in audience for these movies. NEVER AGAIN. The tickets purchased my my family and friends may not amount to much in the grand scheme of things, but I will not contribute to future movies made by this studio. I will make sure to tell everyone I know to avoid this Fox produced garbage. Fox looks at comic fans as a cash cow they can keep on milking but they will soon learn that the comics community is fed up with their treatment of these characters. The comics community proved they had a voice that could effect a box office and its time to carry that momentum to the X-Men franchise. Bring these characters back to Marvel!

  24. Neoxon says:

    Time to return the Fantastic Four rights to Marvel Studios.

  25. Chris says:

    I’d it not a psychological thriller???

  26. Mike H. says:

    I hate to wish bad upon a film, but in this case I can’t help myself. It seems like either Fox, the director, or possibly both had very little regard for long time fans of the F.F. . Changing up the origin was not a real problem but changing the race of Johnny Storm was a non starter for me. Say what you want about it being a fictional character but the one I read stories of from the 60es forward was white, and in my mind the character always will be. I really do not care if Fox thought it would bring a new audience. Obviously it did not. Also bothersome was making the character of Reed Richards way younger. Again, so much for attracting a youth market. Guess what. Young males which should have been the core market were not interested. Now in the end they have a movie that has failed and is not going to see a sequel In its present form. Again, I am glad to see it happen.

  27. jim says:

    As soon as word got out they were changing things form the source material it was over. PLus everyone kinda had their hearts set on marvel doing their version. Hell they even pulled off antman can you imagine how cool FF would have been.

  28. Eli Cash says:

    Do consumers of superhero movies really read reviews before they decide to go out and see the movie in theaters? My guess is that that “scathing reviews” bit had little to do with the lack of success of this franchise. Fantastic Four has never been a real hit with fans and casting the Mickey Mouse club does not help its case.

    • Paully says:

      It’s called WOM. As Comic Con has shown this is most important. If the Buzz is bad forget it…
      Also Trank has said , at every opportunity, that he hates Comic Books, CB movies, and the F4 in particular. No wonder Disney/Lucasfilm threw him off of Star Wars 8. Ha ha..

      • jayp00001 says:

        Exactly, I can’t understand why you’d let someone that hates the entire genre direct a comic based movie. For your next trick let Bill Nye direct “Genesis: A history of creation”

    • Richard says:

      The first FF movies had opening weekends that would be in the 70m range today …I am sick of hearing there is not an audience for this property do it right and the box office potential is huge . I gave it a chance but now is the time so say GIVE THE RIGHTS BACK TO MARVEL. Do a Sony deal or trade them for more mutant characters for movies or for the proposed TV properties but for gods sake stop pissing away any chance of a great true FF movie.

    • Mike Malcangio says:

      Personally — yes — in this case word of mouth and extremely critical reviews kept my whole family out of the theater. Movies are too expensive for a family of four to burn on “unmitigated garage fire.”

    • nerdrage says:

      I don’t think reviews count for a lot, but word of mouth does and the buzz on this movie was terrible for months. People were rooting for it to fail just so Fox will be forced to sell the rights to Marvel Studios, which has a much better track record. Movies need that fandom audience to kick-start things right away and get the word out to the rest of the audience. When fandom utterly rejects a movie, the process stalls out. However, we still haven’t seen foreign BO, where the quality of a movie doesn’t seem to count for much. This sucker has the Marvel brand and that might be enough…

      • Duder NME says:

        “Hokey old throwback”? Cap (1941) was created just after Superman (1938) and Batman (1939), when Marvel was simply known as Captain America Comics. Know your history.

      • nerdrage says:

        …but the fact that Fantastic 4 is not a huge comic book title should not matter. Iron Man and Thor are not big names either. F4 is a bigger title in the comic book world than either of them. And Captain America was a hokey old throwback. Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy weren’t even B-List, more like C-List. Marvel Studios turned them all into big names. They could easily do the same with F4.

  29. Derek StJohn says:

    Gosh, maybe this means that studios can’t shove a crappy story, with a no-talent director, and actors with no box-office appeal down the throats of the movie goers. Equals good news to me. For the $120 million (plus another $40 million or so in marketing) Fox could have made a half dozen smaller, original movies with people with a lot more talent than Trank will ever have.

  30. skep41 says:

    Wait…we adhered to The Formula in every way. How could this happen? Stupid script? Leaden acting? Eardrum-puncturing soundtrack? Explosions aplenty? What went wrong? Nobody knows why one horrible, trashy superhero movie succeeds and another fails. Being a Hollywood executive producer is like driving the nitro-truck to the mine; it pays good and you get a lot of respect but every so often you hit a bump…

    • Huh? NO ONE KNOWS WHY???? They shat upon the source material! THAT’S WHY!!! Put the property in the hands of those who care about it, not just about money. The writing was on the wall over a year ago!!! NO ONE KNOWS WHY???? Have you been under a rock?

      • Duder NME says:

        The source material? Thor’s world involves dialogue using iambic pentameter, and was more attuned to actual Norse mythos. Captain America’s Bucky was a little kid. Guardians of the Galaxy weren’t a bunch of Firefly hooligans who liked 70s tunes. Ant-Man was Henry Pym. They veered from the sources and did just fine. Fox’s movie simply had poor pacing, boring plotting, a lack of disbelieving suspension, a retelling of an origin that many people have already seen, and rejected, before – y’know, the kinds of storytelling pitfalls from which no movie could escape (unless played in China, the country that eats up Dan Brown movies for brunch).

      • nerdrage says:

        Turn it over to Marvel Studios. They’ll turn F4 into a hit movie and make it look easy. Everyone, remember why Marvel Studios doesn’t have the rights to X-Men, F4 and Spider-Man. That’s because those are the titles that are EASY to turn into hit movies.

        When Marvel was desperate for money, they sold their crown jewels and then started making movies from the leftovers that nobody wanted: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and The Avengers.

        With the exception of the last one, none of those are obviously hit movies if you just go by the comic books. How have they achieved this feat? By staying true to the source material, not running away from it or superimposing some stupid formula that has nothing to do with the source material.

  31. Bill says:

    Why do analysts insist on blaming low ticket sales on the time of year rather than the quality of content?

    I usually see a new release weekly and would have stayed home this week if not for “The Gift,” a film that doesn’t appeal to absolutely everyone.

  32. Notes From The Inside says:

    Dismal trailer and the pre-opening stink surrounding this movie aside, the “cast of up-and-coming actors” demonstrates how out of touch some studios are with which performers are actually up and coming and which were just lucky to have been in a hit or two. This cast has 0 appeal to the public. The casting was all wrong and the public knew it.

    • nerdrage says:

      The cast is good overall, just not in these roles. Kate Mara was the only one who was arguably well cast. Michael B. Jordan has breakout potential but being woefully miscast in a bad movie is not the way to do it.

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