Not in defense of that shitty phrase, unfortunately.
Fantastic Four hit movie theatres last week. The latest Fox superhero movie was panned by critics and the film is already considered one of the worst superhero movies of all time. Which brings again that phrase that many fanboys shout to the sky everytime a movie with Marvel characters not owned by Marvel Studios bombs: “Give the rights back to Marvel!”
Unfortunately, for those fanboys, this article is not written in defense of that overly used phrase that is flooding social media. I’m here to give the unpopular opinion.
Fox can’t “give” the rights back to Marvel Studios. Just imagine that for a second. Fox knocks Marvel Studios’ door and says “Sorry guys, this was our third strike. It’s better if you own the Fantastic Four. There you go. Bye.” We are talking about an IP. Fox can’t give the rights back to Marvel, they have to sell the rights to Marvel… and that’s not cheap at all.
It’s fun to see how this blew up in the last few days after Fantastic Four opened in theatres. Instagram was flooded with pictures of the movie poster with captions that always included “give the rights back to Marvel.” I thought that the subject will end up there, and would stay as nothing more than an opinion and not an actual request. I was clearly wrong. There was a Change.org petition asking Fox to sell the rights back to Marvel Studios. The petition says:
Josh Tank’s Fantastic Four was a major disappointment. Critics and fans of the film panned the movie and performed poorly at the box office. Please sign this petition so we can have a great adaptation of Marvel’s first family once and for all. Sign this petition also because WE DON’T WANT ANOTHER SEQUEL!!!!! Let the fans have what they want and MAKE FOX SELL THE RIGHTS BACK TO MARVEL!!!!
Fans can’t always have what they want, that’s just crude reality. I want to see Magneto sharing a scene with Scarlet Witch in an Avengers sequel, but that’s not possible right now, and I don’t compain. Fans do actually get what they want. Captain America: Civil War footage will be dropped at D23. It’s almost hard to believe that a loose adaptation of Civil War is happening. I understand that we are talking about the Fantastic Four, but getting a movie with this characters is already too much. The problem is that the studio handling the property haven’t found a proper screenwriter and director – I like Josh Trank a lot, though – to bring life to these characters on the big screen.
Also, studios are not chess pieces. I don’t know if the person who started the petition dimensions the size of these big studios. At this moment I don’t know if that person knows that this is real life and not a nerd’s wet dream. You can’t make a studio sell the rights of some property to another studio.
Okay, let’s pretend Fox saw the petition signed by almost 29,000 people and they decide to sell the rights of the Fantastic Four to Marvel Studios. Then what? Marvel Studios takes a checkbook and pays for whatever quantity of money Fox is asking? No.
Listen, if there’s something I learned with the years is that Marvel Studios doesn’t know what “impossible” means. They’re not only moving on with Captain America: Civil War, they were able to add Spider-Man to their cinematic universe. The difference between Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four is that they felt the need of having Spider-Man in their films, so they made a deal with Sony.
I’m sure Kevin Feige sometimes thinks about X-Men or Fantastic Four, but it’s more useful to focus on Phase Three. I know it would be great to have The Thing meeting the Inhumans or Reed Richards being the third science bro, but we have to be realistic over here.
There’s three things that Fox can do:
- Make a sequel: Follow up the movie, fix the problems. Make a better movie and rescue the franchise.
- Soft reboot the Fantastic Four: There’s no need to make another origin story or a standalone movie with a different cast. It’s enough to have one of the characters show up in an X-Men movie. Hank McCoy contacts Reed Richards and Sue Storm. New actors show up playing those characters and now you have a different cast portraying the Fantastic Four.
- Let the rights die: Stop making movies and just do the same thing you did with Daredevil. You can let the rights slowly die and revert back to Marvel. If this happens maybe we could see the Fantastic Four again sometime after Phase Four.
I believe that at some point Fox knew they screw up and thought on making an offer to Marvel Studios. The problem is Marvel doesn’t need the Fantastic Four right now and I doubt they will just spend millions in this IP. But who knows? Marvel Studios showed us that there’s no impossibles.