|Fantastic Four series|
|Directed by||Tim Story|
|Written by||Michael France
(Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
|Music by||John Ottman|
(Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
|Editing by||William Hoy
(Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
Peter S. Elliot
(Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||212 minutes|
Fantastic Four is a film series consisting of two superhero films based on the fictional Marvel Comics team Fantastic Four. The series includes Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), both released by 20th Century Fox.
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. Each vary, as Reed feels responsible for their powers, Susan's dislike for the public attention the powers have given, Johnny's acceptance of the powers and the want to exploit this opportunity, and Ben's hatred of what he's become as he's the most visibly affected and now has to deal with the changes. In addition to these four, Dr. Victor von Doom, who is also affected, shows the dark route that the misuse of the powers can do, and how he feels more powerful because of these "gifts".
Constantin Film got the rights for the characters in the mid-1980s, and while a low-budget film was produced in 1992 so Constantin could retain the license, the first installment of the series only entered production in 2004. The Fantastic Four films received mixed reviews by critics, but earned over $600 million at the worldwide box office.
Bernd Eichinger of Constantin Film purchased the film rights of the Fantastic Four in 1986 from Marvel. 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. Also, the film was accused of being an ashcan copy, meaning the film was made only to keep the license. It has been reported by Stan Lee and producer Bernd Eichinger that the actors had no idea of the situation, instead believing they were creating a serious release. 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.
In 1997, Peter Segal was attached to a script which had been written by Chris Columbus and Michael France. Segal left the project but changed his mind that same year. Phillip Morton (Fire Down Below) worked on the script, and Sam Hamm was rewriting it in 1998. The following year Raja Gosnell signed on as director. "I really wanted to do a big action comedy thrill ride like Men in Black", he said, describing it as more comic than X-Men (2000). 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.
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 X-Men 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. Bring It On director Peyton Reed was announced as his replacement in April 2001. He contemplated making the movie as a period piece set in the early 1960s during the space race when the comic was first published. He sought to cast Renee Zellwegger as Sue Storm and George Clooney as Reed Richards. Although he left the project, he managed to use Zellwegger and the 1960s setting in his film Down With Love.
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". Fantastic Four started its production in August 2005 in Vancouver, and original filming ended in December, until Fox ordered for additional scenes. The reshooting carried on until May 2005. The film was released in 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 introduces the Silver Surfer, whose cosmic energy has been affecting the planet and leaving mysterious craters around the planet. Set against an impending wedding between Reed and Susan, the US Army recruits the Fantastic Four to help stop the 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.
|Fantastic Four||Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer|
|Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic||Ioan Gruffudd|
|Sue Storm Richards/The Invisible Woman||Jessica Alba|
|Johnny Storm/The Human Torch||Chris Evans|
|Ben Grimm/The Thing||Michael Chiklis|
|Victor von Doom/Doctor Doom||Julian McMahon|
|Alicia Masters||Kerry Washington|
|Willie Lumpkin||Stan Lee|
|Debbie McIlvane||Laurie Holden|
|Norrin Radd/The Silver Surfer||Doug
Laurence Fishburne as The Silver Surfer (voice)
|Frankie Raye||Beau Garrett|
|General Hager||Andre Braugher|
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|Worldwide||United States||United States||Foreign||Worldwide||All time domestic||All time worldwide|
|Fantastic Four||July 8, 2005||July 8, 2005||$154,696,080||$175,883,639||$330,579,719||#175||#180||$100,000,000|||
|Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer||June 15, 2007||June 15, 2007||$131,921,738||$157,126,025||$289,047,763||#249||#229||$130,000,000|||
|Film||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic||Yahoo! Movies|
|Overall||Cream of the Crop|
|Fantastic Four||26% (195 reviews)||27% (33 reviews)||40% (35 reviews)||C (13 reviews)|
|Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer||37% (161 reviews)||31% (32 reviews)||45% (33 reviews)||C+ (14 reviews)|
The main four cast originally signed three-picture deals, and Julian McMahon also signed for a third film. Michael Chiklis was told his character's relationship with Alicia Masters would have a greater focus in a third film. Jessica Alba expressed interest in introducing Franklin Richards, while Beau Garrett wished to return as Nova. Tim Story said he would like to direct a third and fourth film. Don Payne stated he had not discussed a sequel with the studio, but "I’ve always loved the Inhumans, the Skrulls, the Puppet Master, and Annihilus and the Negative Zone." As Rise of the Silver Surfer grossed less than the first film, 20th Century Fox was unsure of the series' future, and no script was in development. In March 2008, Chris Evans revealed, "I'm pretty sure we won’t do another one. I’m assuming that one is a closed book."
In the early 1990s, Bernd Eichinger of Constantin Film and Marvel Studios were interested in a Silver Surfer film, and approached George Lucas and Industrial Light & Magic, who found the project to be too technically challenging. Various filmmakers attempted different methods of making the Silver Surfer realistic through visual effects experiments. This included a process by which a black actor was painted with mineral oil, and filmed on Reversal stock, so that a negative image, with the intent that the dark portions would appear silvery. However, since the process inverts all light in shadows and vice versa, the resulting image was not usable. Sometime in 1992 Quentin Tarantino, fresh from critical success with Reservoir Dogs, came to Constantin with a script but was turned down.
Erik Fleming and Steven Robiner recruited a crew of friends from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and convinced Stan Lee, Marvel Studios and Eichinger to let them try their hand at a short film as a means to prove that computer-generated imagery (which was then in its infancy) could be used to create a photo-realistic silver man. Marvel agreed to let the project go forward. After filming began, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was released, featuring the chrome-like figure of T-1000. This proved that Fleming & Robiner's theories about the possibility of rendering lifelike humanoid figures with quicksilver-like bodies were correct. The Silver Surfer short film was finished in 1992 to rave reviews. major film studios invited the crew into their offices, simply amazed as to how they completed the film with virtually no budget. When the studios found out they didn't own the rights to the comic book, they were turned down and the studio's interest turned to Marvel. Fleming stated, "It's suddenly an A-list project, and they have to bring in an A-list writer, an A-list director. That's really just how Hollywood works. We should have signed a deal ahead of time, but we were just too young and naive. A studio's word is no good in Hollywood. All that matters is a signed piece of paper." Upon viewing the short film Oliver Stone became interested in directing.
The success of the short film prompted Fox and Eichinger to hire John Turman to write the script, and eventually Richard Jefferies to rewrite Turman's script. Geoffrey Wright became attached to direct Jefferies' script that included the Silver Surfer in the company of a twelve-year-old street prostitute, similar to Jodie Foster's character in Taxi Driver. Rudy Gaines and John Rice were hired to write a completely new script, which showcased the Silver Surfer crash-landing on Earth and being romantically involved with a Brooklyn waitress. He's accidentally transformed into a human being by a secret scientific government project, while pursued by a psychotic United States Army General. Gaines and Rice wrote three drafts, which Fox liked the script but found too expensive to film, and Wright eventually left.
The project moved to Fox's children's division of 20th Century Fox Animation, which started the Silver Surfer television series. By July 1999, Andrew Kevin Walker was hired to write a completely new script. In May 2000, Marvel Studios brought Artisan Entertainment to co-finance the film. Vin Diesel expressed interest in portraying the lead role, while Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was approached to star. Baz Luhrmann was interested in directing, while Joshua Jackson was interested in portraying the lead role. Turman expressed interest in writing a new script in June 2003. By March 2005, an unnamed "Zen Buddhist with experience in special effects" was set to direct. However, the unnamed director was committed to another film, and also left because of the technical challenges of creating the Surfer on screen. Marvel and Fox opted for the character to be used in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, portrayed by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne. Don Payne, co-writer of Rise of the Silver Surfer, expressed interest in writing a new screenplay for Silver Surfer.
Silver Surfer was then put a higher priority than Fantastic Four 3. By June 2007, J. Michael Straczynski was working on a new screenplay, which was set after Rise of the Silver Surfer: the Surfer returns to Zenn-La, anxious that Galactus will consume it after he betrayed him. Straczynski described Galactus in a manner more faithful to his comics appearance in the script, revealing his cloud form from the previous film was a disguise. Jones is signed on for two more films, and hopes that Fox will option him to reprise the role, and would like the opportunity to supply his own voice for the character, as was the case with Jones' second portrayal of the character Abe Sapien, in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. A large amount of filming will take place in Australia. Fox was disappointed by the box office return of Rise of the Silver Surfer. In July 2008, producer Kevin Feige said Fox was waiting to see how successful the spin-off film X-Men Origins: Wolverine would be before putting the film in active development. Recently, it has been revealed that 20th Century Fox will be rebooting Fantastic Four. Even though Disney recently bought out Marvel, it still owns the comic properties it has bought from Marvel including Silver Surfer. It remains to be seen whether or not Fox will go ahead with the film.