Box office: 'Fantastic Four' 2015 bombs, 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' to pass $100 million mark
Derided by critics and fans alike, 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four is about to become one of 2015's domestic box office bombs. After earning a paltry $11.3 million on Friday – including Thursday evening shows – the Josh Trank-directed, Fox-meddled (and -muddled?) Marvel superhero flick will likely gross less than even the most modest, downgraded expectations. In fact, don't be too surprised if the Christopher McQuarrie-Tom Cruise actioner Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation tops the North American box office chart this weekend (Aug. 7-9).
Fox's only hope is that Fantastic Four lives up to its name at the international box office – despite the fact that this latest superhero entry is in old-fashioned 2D, whereas audiences in several key overseas markets prefer their CGI and explosions to be presented in (what passes for) three dimensions.
Not even $30 million?
Fantastic Four 2015 is expected to collect around $26-$28 million by Sunday evening. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation could end up earning about as much after grossing $8.2 million on Friday (without the newcomer's Thursday evening box office boost). With an estimated domestic cume of $87.45 million, MI5 will pass the $100 million mark sometime on Sunday.
Sun., Aug. 9, update: Fantastic Four 2015 raked in $26.2 million according to official studio estimates, thus trailing Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, which brought in an estimated $29.4 million.
Now, back to Fantastic Four. For comparison's sake:
Barring a miraculous surge on the weekend proper, Fantastic Four will trail the U.S. and Canada opening of every major, big-budget superhero movie released so far this century, including, of course, the two previous Fantastic Four movies. Even Michel Gondry's The Green Hornet, toplining Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, and Cameron Diaz, opened with more than $30 million back in January 2011 – $33.52 million to be (almost) exact.
I should add that another green superhero, Green Lantern, also turned out to be a major disappointment in relation to its exorbitant $200 million budget. Directed by Martin Campbell, and starring Ryan Reynolds in the title role, Green Lantern took in a total of $116. 6 million in North America after debuting with $53.17 million in June 2011.
True, Fantastic Four will remain ahead of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, but that Nicolas Cage domestic bomb cost a reported $57 million vs. the Fantastic Four price tag of $122 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses that likely pushed the film's total cost to (at least) around $180 million.
Josh Trank's film will also remain ahead of the costly Catwoman, although the title character played by Halle Berry was never a major superhero (or even a traditional superhero, period). Reportedly budgeted at $100 million, the Pitof-directed Catwoman debuted with $16.72 million (approx. $22 million in 2015) in July 2004. Also in the cast: Sharon Stone and Benjamin Bratt.
2015 box office bombs
2015 has had its share of major domestic box office bombs. Fantastic Four is joining an eclectic group that includes the following:
- The George Clooney star vehicle Tomorrowland, directed by Brad Bird.
- Andy and Lana Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending, starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis.
- The Sergey Bodrov-directed fantasy Seventh Son, featuring Oscar winners Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart).
- Johnny Depp-Gwyneth Paltrow's Mordecai, directed by David Koepp.
- Cameron Crowe's Aloha, starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Murray.
- Michael Mann's thriller Blackhat, with Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis.
Some – but not all – of these were greatly assisted by the international market. We'll see if Fantastic Four will be as lucky.
'Fantastic Four' 2015 cast and screenwriters
Fantastic Four 2015 stars Kate Mara (Heath Ledger's daughter in Brokeback Mountain), Miles Teller (Whiplash), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot). Some (many?) fans have complained that the leads don't look like the characters found in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's comic books; Jordan, in particular, was the subject of controversy because of his ethnicity.
Other cast members include: Toby Kebbell, Tim Blake Nelson, Joshua Montes, Reg E. Cathey, Dan Castellaneta, Kylen Davis, Owen Judge, and Evan Hannemann.
The Fantastic Four screenplay is credited to Josh Trank (who recently dismissed the film on Twitter), Jeremy Slater (The Lazarus Effect), and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Days of Future Past). Kinberg is also one of the Fantastic Four producers, along with, among others, Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn and former 20th Century Fox production chief Hutch Parker.
Fantastic Four 2015 cast info via the IMDb.
Miles Teller Fantastic Four 2015 image: 20th Century Fox / Marvel.
'Fantastic Four' 2015 box office: A costly domestic flop in the making?
Aug. 7: Fantastic Four 2015, a 20th Century Fox release “in association with Marvel Entertainment,” is about to become the biggest big-budget superhero(es) dud at the domestic office since at least The Green Hornet (not to be confused with the equally underwhelming Green Lantern) four years ago.
Directed by Josh Trank, who dissed the film's final edit on Twitter (see more details below), Fantastic Four stars Kate Mara (Sue Storm / The Invisible Woman), Miles Teller (Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm / The Human Torch), and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm / The Thing).
A while back, Fantastic Four became the subject of ardent arguments because of Michael B. Jordan's ethnicity: unlike the Fruitvale Station actor, the comic books' Johnny Storm is white. You'd have expected this sort of controversy to have increased interest in the film, but that hasn't been the case here. (Much like it wasn't the case with Andrea Arnold's 2011 film version of Wuthering Heights, which generated – much milder – ethnicity-related disagreements following the casting of black actor James Howson as Heathcliff.)
'Fantastic Four' 2015 fizzles
Anyhow, Fox's Fantastic Four 2015 opened with a mundane $2.7 million from 2,900 North American locations on Thursday evening. According to Deadline.com, early Friday box office indicates the $120 million-budget Marvel superhero flick will collect $10-$12 million today. And that should translate into around $28-30 million at 3,995 U.S. and Canada theaters this weekend (Aug. 7-9, '15).
Sat., Aug. 8 update: Fantastic Four 2015 opened with an estimated $11.3 million, including Thursday evening showings.
Box office prognosticators were expecting a domestic opening in the $40-50 million range. And bear in mind that marketing and distribution expenses may place the total Fantastic Four budget at $180 million or whereabouts. As a rule of thumb, studios collect around 50-55 percent of domestic grosses and 40 percent of international grosses.
Summing up, just don't be too surprised if the extremely well-received Christopher McQuarrie-Tom Cruise actioner Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation ends up once again taking the crown at the North American weekend box office.
Box office comparisons
How does the $30 million or so opening of Fantastic Four 2015 compare to those of its two predecessors?
- Starring Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Chiklis, and current Captain America Chris Evans (as The Human Torch), the Tim Story-directed Fantastic Four opened in July 2005, collecting $56.06 million (approx. $71 million in 2015) at 3,602 locations. The film went on to gross $154.69 million (approx. $196 million today) in North America, plus $175.88 million internationally.
- The 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, collected $58.05 million (approx. $68.5 million in 2015) on its June opening weekend, eventually scoring $131.92 million (approx. $156 million today) at the domestic box office. The overseas gross was $157.12 million.
Here are a couple of other comparisons:
- Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, and Christoph Waltz, Michel Gondry's $120 million-budget The Green Hornet debuted with $33.52 million (approx. $34.6 million in 2015) at 3,584 sites in January 2011. North American cume: $98.78 million (approx. $100 million adjusted), plus $129.03 million overseas.
- The more modestly budgeted ($57 million) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, debuted with $22.11 million in Feb. 2012. Nicolas Cage starred. Domestic cume: $51.77 million, plus $80.78 million elsewhere.
Director Josh Trank disses 'Fantastic Four' 2015
Director-coscreenwriter Josh Trank has himself dissed the final product. “A year ago, I had a fantastic version of this,” he tweeted on Aug. 6. “And it would've recieved [sic] great reviews. You'll probably never see it. That's reality though.”
Hell, who knows … whether or not it was actually any good and/or whether or not Trank's Fantastic Four cut will ever see the light of day.
Either way, Trank's tweet was swiftly deleted.
The filmmaker's sole previous feature film effort, the fantasy / sci-fi adventure Chronicle, toplining Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan, earned a surprising $126.63 million worldwide in 2012.
Earlier this year, Trank made entertainment headlines after abandoning – or, according to some, getting kicked out of – one of the Star Wars spin-offs. That has fed stories about serious problems on the Fantastic Four set.
Fantastic Four, which was partly reshot earlier this year, currently enjoys – or rather, suffers from – a dismal 6 percent approval rating and 3.4/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.
International figures haven't been made available as yet, but prospects for the already announced 2017 Fantastic Four sequel look iffy at best.
'Fantastic Four' 2015 cast
Besides the aforementioned Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell, the 2015 Fantastic Four cast includes Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Joshua Montes, Dan Castellaneta, Owen Judge, Kylen Davis, and Evan Hannemann.
The screenplay is credited to Josh Trank, Jeremy Slater (The Lazarus Effect), and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: The Last Stand, Sherlock Holmes), who also happens to be one of the film's producers. (Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn is another one.) The characters are based on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creations.
Box office information about Fantastic Four 2005, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Green Hornet, and other movies: Boxofficemojo.com. Some international figures may be incomplete.
Miles Teller, The Thing (Jamie Bell), Michael B. Jordan, and Kate Mara Fantastic Four 2015 images: 20th Century Fox / Marvel.