Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot was a box office disaster this weekend, and has been slammed by most critics (our review is a little more positive), and last week Trank took to Twitter to blame Fox for the mess that happened. Trank’s Tweet was quickly removed, but it is obvious director and studio fell out, big time.
Stories are circulating that a large amount of the films trailers were missing from the final film (I haven’t seen it yet), including the trailer money shot of The Thing heading on a mission by jumping from a plane down to a military base. Just how much more was removed from the final product we will never know, but there were four key scenes from the trailer not in the film. Trank himself declared that he had a fantastic version a year ago, indicating that Fox meddled too much with his film.
EW did some digging over the weekend to find out what happened, and they found a lot. In Trank’s case EW said:
“the rift on set was not about creative differences but rather combative and abusive behavior Trank demonstrated toward the crew, producers, studio and even the stars. It’s partly linked to Trank’s personal disputes – involving accusations of deliberate damage done to the house he was renting, as revenge over a dispite with the landlord – which sources say eventually manifested on set as hostility and frustration from Trank.”
And while Trank was clearly under pressure, interference from Fox caused further issues, and we must remember that Trank’s first film, Chronicle, was a low budget film with no pressure, and Trank had clear reign to do as he pleased:
“Some who worked on the film say Trank broke, for sure, but was driven to the breaking point by the studio, and that his clash was not with Kinberg but Fox production president Emma Watts. According to several individuals who worked on the movie, the studio delayed casting and script approvals, slashed the budget by tens of millions from what was originally promised during the development phase, and tried to force last-minute script changes to the film just as principal photography was beginning.”
“Fox executives desperately wanted to reboot Fantastic Four after the indifferently received big screen versions in 2005 and 2007, but they also bristled at many of the traditional comic book elements that defined the characters…
There was uncertainty about who should star. Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm was set from the start, but the studio wanted a different actor than Miles Teller for Reed Richards. Trank won that battle, even though he later developed a mutually disdainful relationship with the actor – but Fox insisted that Kate Mara be given the role of Sue Storm, and Trank treated her badly as a result. Some say he was cruel, others say merely cold. No one says they got along”
The more digging that was done, the more it seemed like it was not any one persons fault, and that both Trank and Fox were equally at fault:
“Different sources say Trank was indecisive, others say the studio was hemming and hawing on his choices. Either way, the script was not finalized until late in preproduction, and continued to change right through reshoots, which stalled crew workers who were trying to build sets, make costumes, props, and prep the movie. This created confusion and stress from the get-go that often boiled over among department heads trying to put together pieces of a movie that was still in flux”
It appears that Trank had a vision for Fantastic Four, and that vision was immediately taken away when he was hired by Fox, and budget cuts and Fox taking charge left Trank in a frustrated place. Stories say the budget for Fantastic Four was cut by tens of millions:
“They had agreed upon this vision for a film. And days before production began, Fox came in and made him pull 3 main action sequences out of the film. I was also told, the ending of the film was not even Josh Trank’s. At some point they hijacked the editing bay from him. To the point that the editing of the film was done without him.”
What would be really cool would be Trank’s original vision coming out as a director’ cut, but this will never happen.
So what’s next for Fantastic Four? Apparently Fox are still looking at making a sequel:
Fox Domestic Distribution Chief Chris Aronson told THR over the weekend:
“While we’re disappointed, we remain committed to these characters and we have a lot to look forward to in our Marvel universe”