Fantastic Four 2 has quietly vanished from 20th Century Fox’s list of 2017 movies. Originally scheduled for June 9th, 2017, there’s now no sign of it (or any other Fox movie…yet) on that date. Instead, Fantastic Four 2 now has the dreaded “TBD” attached to it.
Back on August 12th, Drew McWeeny at HitFix had sources who kind of predicted this. “It may not make that original 2017 date,” he said, “but they’re definitely planning to make it.” At the time, the idea was that “the next movie will be a reaction to this one,” which probably means that while it would retain the cast and general aesthetic of Josh Trank’s movie, it would feature more high adventure and sci-fi superheroics.
Things would have had to move pretty fast in order for Fantastic Four 2 to make that June 9th, 2017 opening, and since the first movie appeared to be in disarray right up through its disappointing opening weekend, a strong vision for a sequel was probably not in place. It’s a shame, because that cast deserved another shot, and perhaps a sequel could have righted some of the first films wrongs.
Some additional details follow in our original story from August 10th…
To say that the new Fantastic Four movie is a disappointment is something of an understatement. Despite a great cast and a talented young director, the movie has been hit hard by critics and fans, and the negative buzz certainly depressed this weekend’s box office numbers.
Opening in second place (behind last week’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) with a decidedly un-superheroic $26 million, Fantastic Four isn’t exactly anyone’s favorite movie at the moment, least of all at 20th Century Fox. Still, Fantastic Four 2 remains on the schedule, and speculation that this could finally be the moment when Marvel could swoop in and rescue their first family is premature.
While it’s not specifically an endorsement of Fantastic Four 2, 20th Century Fox’s domestic distribution chief, Chris Aronson, put the expected spin on things. “While we’re disappointed,” he told THR, “we remain committed to these characters and we have a lot to look forward to in our Marvel universe.”
Regardless of the current film’s performance, the rights to a property like the Fantastic Four remain enormously valuable. Failing to make another Fantastic Four movie within a certain period of time would allow those rights to revert back to Marvel, and it’s unlikely that 20th Century Fox is willing to just hand one of its competitors another potentially lucrative franchise.
On the other hand, remember how we were still promised a Green Lantern 2 by Warner Bros. execs and Geoff Johns for years before they finally gave up on that incarnation of the character? There’s something to be said about damage control. Essentially declaring this version of the franchise dead, especially when it has such a talented cast (who really aren’t to blame for this film’s problems), isn’t going to help its ticket sales going forward.
And what kind of plans do they have “to look forward to” for this FF? Bryan Singer recently hinted that he has an idea for an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover movie, but that was quickly shot down by Fantastic Four producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it’s clear that nobody has a clear plan right now.
Expect the saga of Fantastic Four 2 to be dragged out for quite some time. Meanwhile, Fantastic Four 2 is scheduled for release on June 9th, 2017. Something tells me that’s going to change…