‘Fan­tas­tic Four’ bombs with US$26.2 mil.

The China Post - - ARTS - BY JAKE COYLE

Hol­ly­wood’s sum­mer has had run­away sen­sa­tions (“Juras­sic World”) and heart­warm­ing hits (“In­side Out”). It now has its fi­asco.

“Fan­tas­tic Four,” 20th Cen­tury Fox’s at­tempt to re­boot the su­per­hero team-up fran­chise, de­buted with just US$26.2 mil­lion at North Amer­i­can the­aters over the week­end, ac­cord­ing to stu­dio es­ti­mates Sun­day. The re­sult was bad enough that last week’s leader, Tom Cruise’s “Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble — Rogue Na­tion,” held the top spot with US$29.4 mil­lion in its sec­ond week.

The over­whelm­ing flop for “Fan­tas­tic Four” is a rare hum­bling for a Marvel su­per­hero film, which of­ten gross more than US$20 mil­lion in just one night. The film has been sav­aged by crit­ics and was dogged by re­ports of cre­ative dif­fi­cul­ties. Di­rec­tor Josh Trank even dis­tanced him­self from it Thurs­day in a tweet he soon­after deleted in which he al­luded to stu­dio in­ter­fer­ence: “A year ago I had a fan­tas­tic ver­sion of this,” he wrote.

“Fan­tas­tic Four” was Fox’s at­tempt to re­vive a fran­chise just 10 years af­ter its launch. But those ear­lier films — nei­ther of which crit­ics or fans much liked — opened twice as well. The 2005 orig­i­nal de­buted with US$56.1 mil­lion and the 2007 se­quel, “Fan­tas­tic Four: The Sil­ver Surfer,” opened with US$58.1 mil­lion.

The re­boot, made for US$120 mil­lion and with a mas­sive mar­ket­ing bud­get, was de­signed with a youth­ful bent, en­list­ing Trank (who had only 2012’s “Chron­i­cle” un­der his belt) and a cast of Miles Teller, Michael B. Jor­dan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell. A se­quel, al­ready sched­uled for 2017, now seems very un­likely.

“Ob­vi­ously, we’re

dis­ap­point- ed,” said Chris Aron­son, head of dis­tri­bu­tion for Fox. “We’ll do a post-mortem. As we do with ev­ery­thing that doesn’t work out, we’ll try to fig­ure out why and move for­ward.”

As late as Tues­day, Fox had track­ing data that sug­gested the open­ing the in­dus­try was widely ex­pect­ing: about US$40 mil­lion to US$50 mil­lion. But the for­tunes for the film seemed to turn with the un­usu­ally bad crit­i­cal re­ac­tion. “The com­bi­na­tion of less-thandesir­able re­views and the power of so­cial media con­spired to sup­press the open­ing,” Aron­son said.

Paul Der­garabe­dian, se­nior media an­a­lyst for box-of­fice tracker Ren­trak, also pointed to so­cial media’s blaz­ingly fast spread of bad buzz. The film didn’t fare much bet­ter abroad, where it earned US$34.1 mil­lion.

AP

This photo pro­vided by Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Fox shows, The Thing, from left, Michael B. Jor­dan as Johnny Storm, Miles Teller as Dr. Reed Richards, and Kate Mara as Sue Storm, in a scene from the film, “Fan­tas­tic Four.”

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