Channing Tatum has been trying to get a “Gambit” movie off the ground for at least four years now. Numerous directors have signed on and dropped out of the project, including “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” filmmaker Rupert Wyatt. The director boarded “Gambit” in June 2015 and by September was off the film. In a Variety report at the time, Wyatt’s exit was said to be the result of a “changing script” that “caused the film’s budget to balloon.” It turns out only half of that scoop was true.
In a new interview with ComicsBeat to promote his upcoming film “Captive State,” Wyatt revealed his “Gambit” movie was killed because Fox cut the budget with just several weeks to go before production. The decision forced script changes to be made that just didn’t make much sense for the project. Interestingly enough, the main reason Fox slashed the “Gambit” budget was because of the high profile failure of Josh Trank’s “Fantastic Four.”
“I was very close with Channing Tatum and his producing partner Reid Carolin, and I was on the script with him and Josh Zetumer as a writer,” Wyatt said. “We were close, I believe 10 weeks away. It simply came down to budget. There was not enough. You know all too well about the politics of the business. ‘Fantastic Four’ had been released by Fox a month before and had not gone well for them, so our budget was slashed quite considerably.”
Wyatt continued, “The inevitable, from my perspective was, ‘Well then we need to rewrite the script to tailor to our budget,’ but we were too close to a start date for Fox to really want to go there, so unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.”
Trank’s “Fantastic Four” was an infamous box office bomb in summer 2015. The movie only grossed $168 million worldwide opposite a production budget that some pegged around $155 million. Fox had every right to be nervous about its superhero future following such a financial loss, although Wyatt said that Tatum had a “really wonderful idea for what that film could and should be.”
To this day, Tatum is still reportedly trying to develop the “Gambit” movie. The last update came in January when it was rumored that Tatum was now going to be directing the project himself, although Fox has never confirmed the project to be in active development and no production start date has ever been announced. With the upcoming Disney-Fox merger being finalized later this month, the “Gambit” movie could face even more roadblocks.
“[Channing] and Reid are still plugging away at it,” Wyatt confirmed. “I hope in the new Disney era, that then they get to make it.”
Wyatt’s “Captive State” is opening via Focus Features on March 15.