Fantastic Four in film

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The fictional superhero team Fantastic Four featured in Marvel Comics publication have appeared in three feature films since its inception. The films are based around four main characters, known formally as Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm, and how they adapt to the superpowers they attain.

Constantin Film bought the movie rights for the characters in the mid-1980s. A low-budget film was produced in 1992 in order to retain the license. In 2004, with a distribution deal from 20th Century Fox, a second Fantastic Four film entered production. Fantastic Four was released in 2005 and the sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was released in 2007. Both films received mostly unfavorable reviews from critics, yet grossed over US$600 million worldwide at the box office. Due to 20th Century Fox's disappointment to the box-office return of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, a potential third Fantastic Four film and a Silver Surfer spin-off movie were put on hold.[1]

A reboot directed by Josh Trank is scheduled to be released on June 19, 2015.[2]


The Fantastic Four (1994)[edit]

Bernd Eichinger of Constantin Film purchased the film rights of the Fantastic Four in 1986 from Marvel Comics.[3] In 1992, Eichinger would lose the rights for the characters if he did not produce the film by the end of the year, so he hired Roger Corman's company to produce a low-budget film. In 1994, the adaptation, titled The Fantastic Four, had its trailer released to theaters, and its cast and director went on a promotional tour, but the film was never officially released. The film was accused of being an ashcan copy, meaning the film was made only to keep the license.[4] Stan Lee and producer Bernd Eichinger stated that the actors had no idea of the situation, instead believing they were creating a proper release.[5] Marvel paid an undisclosed amount of money in exchange for the entire film negative, so 20th Century Fox could go ahead with the big-budget adaptation. While the film was never released to theaters and home-video, it has been made available from various bootleg video distributors.[4]

The film focused on four astronauts that were bombarded with cosmic rays from a comet while on an experimental space craft. In the process, they acquired extraordinary abilities.

Fantastic Four film series[edit]

Fantastic Four
Cover of Fantastic Four - 2-Movie Collection, the 2007 DVD box set of the first two films
Directed by Tim Story
Produced by
Starring See below
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Country United States
Language English
Budget Total (2 films):
$230 million
Box office Total (2 films):

Fantastic Four (2005)[edit]

Main article: Fantastic Four (film)

In 1997, Peter Segal was attached to a script which had been written by Chris Columbus and Michael France. Segal later left the project in the same year. Phillip Morton worked on the script, and Sam Hamm did rewrites in 1998. The following year, Raja Gosnell signed on as director. Producer Avi Arad called the script "the biggest sitcom of all time," which lead to fears that the film would be developed as a campy action-comedy adventure.[6] Columbus, who was producing, explained the delays were in getting the budget down. "One estimate was as high as $280 million because every time the four characters walk into a scene, it will cost upwards of $100,000", he said. 20th Century Fox felt that production would depend on whether the X-Men movie would be successful at the box office. X-Men producer Ralph Winter joined the project in April 2000, and the project was announced in August 2000 as being aimed for a July 4, 2001 release date. Gosnell decided to leave the project to film Scooby-Doo. Peyton Reed was announced as his replacement in April 2001.[6] Reed contemplated making the movie as a period piece set in the early 1960s during the space race when the comic was first published.[3] He later dropped out from the film. In 2004, Tim Story was hired to direct, with Story being attracted to the aspect of the Fantastic Four being a family who don't always get along.[7] Principal photography began in August 2004 in Vancouver, Canada[8] and re-shoots carried on until May 2005. The film was released on July 8, 2005.

Fantastic Four starts as Reed Richards is forced as a last resort to go to Dr. Victor von Doom in order to get financed for an experiment, involving evolution and cloud storms in outer space. Upon making a deal, Reed and Victor go to Doom's space station, accompanied by Ben Grimm, Susan Storm, and her brother Johnny Storm. When aboard, due to a miscalculation they are unexpectedly hit by the space storm and are affected in very different ways by the radiation. The story follows them as they deal with these new 'powers' in their own ways, and how at one point Reed, Ben, Susan and Johnny become heroes by saving many people in a public predicament.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)[edit]

With Fantastic Four grossing $330 million worldwide, 20th Century Fox hired director Tim Story and screenwriter Mark Frost in December 2005 to return for the superhero team's sequel.[9] Don Payne was also hired to write the screenplay.[10] Principal photography began on August 28, 2006 in Vancouver, Canada.[11] The film was released on June 15, 2007.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer introduces the Silver Surfer, whose cosmic energy has been affecting the planet Earth and leaving mysterious craters around the planet. Set against an impending wedding between Reed and Susan, the U.S. Army recruits the Fantastic Four to help stop the Silver Surfer, and separately gain help from Doctor Doom, who returns, to the surprise of the Fantastic Four. Later, Susan learns that the Surfer is in fact the slave of an intergalactic world-eating entity known as Galactus, and has no choice but to abide by Galactus' commands. Doom double-crosses the army in an attempt to steal and master the Surfer's powers, only to be defeated by the Fantastic Four, who in turn restore the Surfer in time for him to face down his master and save Earth.

Due to 20th Century Fox's disappointment to the box-office return of the film, a potential third Fantastic Four film and a Silver Surfer spin-off movie were put on hold.[1]

Reboot (2015)[edit]

In August 2009, 20th Century Fox announced a reboot of the Fantastic Four film franchise. Akiva Goldsman was hired as a producer and Michael Green was hired as the screenwriter.[12] In July 2012, Josh Trank was hired as the director[13] and Jeremy Slater was hired as the screenwriter.[14] In February 2013, Matthew Vaughn was attached to the film as a producer,[15] and in June 2013, Seth Grahame-Smith was hired to polish the film's script.[16] In October 2013, Simon Kinberg was hired to co-write and produce the film.[17] In February 2014, it was revealed that Michael B. Jordan would play Johnny Storm / Human Torch and Kate Mara was cast as Sue Storm / Invisible Woman.[18] In March 2014, Toby Kebbell was cast as Doom[19] and Miles Teller confirmed that he would portray Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic, in addition to confirming Jamie Bell had been cast as Ben Grimm / The Thing.[20]

Principal photography began on May 5, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,[21] which will represent Central City, California.[22][23] Based on the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic, the film is scheduled to be released on June 19, 2015.[18][2]


A sequel for the 2015 film is scheduled for release on July 14, 2017.[24]

Recurring cast and characters[edit]

Character Film
The Fantastic Four (1994) Fantastic Four (2005) Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) Fantastic Four reboot (2015)
Reed Richards
Mr. Fantastic
Alex Hyde-White Ioan Gruffudd Miles Teller
Sue Storm Richards
Invisible Woman
Rebecca Staab Jessica Alba Kate Mara
Johnny Storm
Human Torch
Jay Underwood Chris Evans Michael B. Jordan
Ben Grimm
The Thing
Michael Bailey Smith / Carl Ciarfalio Michael Chiklis Jamie Bell
Victor von Doom
Doctor Doom
Joseph Culp Julian McMahon Toby Kebbell
Alicia Masters Kat Green Kerry Washington


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Reference
United States Outside
United States
North America Outside
North America
Worldwide All time
North America
All time
Fantastic Four July 8, 2005 July 6, 2005 $154,696,080 $175,883,639 $330,579,719 251 276 $100 million [25]
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer June 15, 2007 June 13, 2007 $131,921,738 $157,126,025 $289,047,763 351 342 $130 million [26]
Total $286,617,818 $333,009,664 $619,627,482 $230 million

The Fantastic Four film series is the fourth highest-grossing film series based on Marvel Comics characters after the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Spider-Man films and the X-Men film series respectively.[27]

Critical response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
The Fantastic Four 33% (6 reviews)[28]
Fantastic Four 27% (202 reviews)[29] 40% (35 reviews)[30]
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer 37% (166 reviews)[31] 45% (33 reviews)[32]


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  2. ^ a b Chitwood, Adam (November 12, 2013). "THE FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot Moving to June 19, 2015; ASSASSIN’S CREED and SECRET SERVICE Pushed; SUSAN COOPER Dated for May 2015". Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b David Hughes (April 22, 2002). "Fantastic Journey". The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-449-8. 
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  10. ^ Michael Fleming; Dave McNary (May 3, 2006). "Inside Move: Surfer may board Four". Variety. Retrieved December 9, 2006. 
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  12. ^ "Fox is Rebooting Fantastic Four". August 31, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Comic-Con: Fantastic Four Director Confirmed While Daredevil Director Exits". July 11, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  14. ^ Perry, Spencer (July 13, 2013). "Comic-Con: Fantastic Four Reboot Gets a Writer". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  15. ^ Lesnick, Silas (February 22, 2013). "Matthew Vaughn to Produce Fantastic Four". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  16. ^ Lesnick, Silas (February 26, 2013). "Seth Grahame-Smith Boards Fantastic Four". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (October 1, 2013). "Simon Kinberg Tapped to Write 'Fantastic Four' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (February 19, 2014). "‘Fantastic Four’ Cast Revealed". Variety. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Toby Kebbell to Play ‘Fantastic Four’ Villain Doctor Doom (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  20. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (March 8, 2014). "Miles Teller on What Appealed to Him About The Fantastic Four Reboot". IGN. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ Scott, Mike (May 5, 2014). "'Fantastic Four' reboot begins filming today in Baton Rouge; here's what we know so far". Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  22. ^ Lang, Brett (July 24, 2013). "'Fantastic Four' Reboot Moving Production From Vancouver to Louisiana (Exclusive)". Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ Kaye, Don (April 20, 2014). "The Fantastic Four Movie: Simon Kinberg Drops Origin and Story Hints". Den of Geek. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  24. ^ Couch, Aaron (March 20, 2014). "Fox Sets Dates for 'Wolverine,' 'Fantastic Four' Sequels". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
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  26. ^ "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Marvel Comics Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  28. ^ "The Fantastic Four". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Fantastic Four". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Fantastic Four". Metacritic. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer". Metacritic. Retrieved October 10, 2013.