Marvel‘s plan to dominate the comic book movie world has one major problem: rights to some of their key properties were sold back in the 1990s to other studios, with Fox taking crown jewels like “X-Men,” “Daredevil” and “The Fantastic Four,” and Sony landing perhaps the best-known character, “Spider-Man,” along with the less-celebrated “Ghost Rider.” And as long as comic book movies continue to bring in the big bucks, the studios have no plans to let the characters revert, which means that we’re likely to see X-Men, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider movies every few years until the end of time, or until they’re driven into the ground, whichever comes first.
Hence, we’re getting a “Spider-Man” reboot only a decade after the first Sam Raimi film. Hence “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” was green-lit on a low budget, despite a lukewarm reception for the original. And despite the originals being pretty much derided by most fans and general audience members, hence 20th Century Fox are moving ahead with a new take on Marvel’s quirkiest superpowered family unit, “Fantastic Four.” It’s less than seven years since Tim Story‘s first cinematic take, starring Ioan Gruffud as Mr. Fantastic, Jessica Alba as The Invisible Woman, Chris Evans as the Human Torch and Michael Chiklis as The Thing, landed in theaters, and less than five since sequel “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” but the studio are serious enough about bringing Reed Richards & co back to theaters that they’re eying a recent in-house favorite to direct the film.
Variety reports that Josh Trank, the debutante director of the imminent found-footage superpower tale “Chronicle,” is the first choice to direct the project, although no offer will be extended until after “Chronicle” opens. Clearly, the studio are high on his current project if Trank is being considered for a big property such as this, though maybe we shouldn’t read too much into that, after all, Story got the original ‘Four’ gig after “Barbershop” and “Taxi.”
Joking aside, there’s no reason that this film couldn’t erase the memory of the last two films in the way that “Batman Begins” did to the Joel Schumacher movies, and the good news is that the studio have just hired the screenwriter, in the shape of Michael Green, who was one of a number of credited writers responsible for the stunning “Green Lantern“…oh. Shit. Well, at least “Batman & Robin” scribe Akiva Goldsman, who was originally set to produce through his Weed Road company, is no longer involved, according to the trade.
Still, there’s no denying that “Chronicle” looks promising, and that Trank is clearly someone to keep an eye on. It sounds like we’ll find out whether he gets another superhero gig when “Chronicle” opens on February 3rd. In the meantime, Fox? Why not just save some money by paying Disney a licence fee and re-releasing “The Incredibles” with the costumes turned blue? It’d save everyone a lot of hassle.