At the moment, we’ve already seen trailers for many of the big ticket summer movies in 2015. “Avengers: Age Of Ultron,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Spy,” “Tomorrowland,” “San Andreas,” “Jurassic World,” “Inside Out,” “Terminator: Genisys,” “Ant-Man,” and “Pan” have all shown off their goods. However, , rumblings across the internet over the past few weeks about the lack of any promotional material for Fox‘s “Fantastic Four” has caused concern in geek corners. It’s a bit telling that this film has been singled out, considering that none of the other major movies opening in August have revealed any such promo either (except Warner Bros., which has shared one image from “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.“). But things took a more interesting turn this week when rumors started flying about reshoots and turmoil behind-the-scenes of the production. Well, there’s no need to panic just yet. Here’s what producer Simon Kinberg told Latino Review about the status of the film in response to the swirling rumors:
To confirm – Fantastic Four will be doing 3-4 days of additional photography with director Josh Trank and some key cast members. We are very excited about the film and can’t wait for you to see what we’ve been up to. And you will be able to do that very soon as I can confirm here that the teaser will be on Kingsman in theaters February 13.
Now that doesn’t mean Fox isn’t still worried about the film, or more precisely how to market it. Over at Badass Digest, Devin Faraci notes he’s heard both good and bad things from sources about the upcoming movie, but perhaps more interesting is this nugget of info: “This is very much an old school origin story —they aren’t really the Fantastic Four until the very end of the movie.” Depending on the intensity of your nerdly inclinations, that’s either exciting or disappointing news. I’m in the former camp, but indeed if that’s the direction Trank has taken with his screenplay, it’s easy to see why Fox might see the movie as a marketing challenge. With studios eager to show off as much spectacle as possible in their super hero movies, something more akin to Trank’s character-driven “Chronicle” —featuring a cast of young, talented but not yet marquee ready names (Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan play Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards, Ben “the Thing” Grimm, Sue “the Invisible Woman” Storm and Johnny “the Human Torch” Storm, respectively)— will have to make a more convincing case to audiences, compared to something like the studio’s own ‘X-Men’ franchise with its bigger stars and characters better known to the general public.
But let’s not forget that Fox didn’t greenlight this movie without reading a script and getting some idea of the kind of movie they were signing up for. And while some folks see Fox’s decision to decline to share any promo for the movie as a mistake, one that has only dug them into a deeper hole with fans, they have nothing to lose if the studio perfects their campaign before rolling it out, particularly if Trank’s film is a bit more left-field than the current standard comic book movies. Remember, marketing movies isn’t just about showing diehard fans what the new Mr. Fantastic looks like —it’s also about creating a narrative that goes beyond a niche audience. We’re in an era where “The Avengers” has made over a billion dollars, so it’s not about teasing the core contingent anymore but figuring out how to rebrand a franchise for a mainstream audience that has aged since the first attempt to get it off the ground only ten years ago, via the hokey Tim Story directed film (and its sequel two years later).
So, there’s no need to panic just yet about “Fantastic Four.” Tentpole productions are by definition complicated, with filmmakers tasked with meeting the demands of various executives. Reshoots are standard and usually scheduled as part of the production process, and unless you’re one of a select few filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, no director has complete creative control. Compromise, collaboration, and yes, headaches are part of the process. But let’s remember, a studio typically has the best interest of a movie at heart. It was last summer when Fox pushed “Kingsman: The Secret Service” from a fall release to next month. There were reportedly some minor behind-the-scenes back-and-forth with Matthew Vaughn over certain scenes, but the end result? Advance rave reviews (read our own), and Fox has been relentlessly pushing the movie with numerous word-of-mouth screenings around the country. So don’t think for a moment they have thrown in the towel on Trank or “Fantastic Four.”