If you ever adored Marvel’s Fantastic Four comic series, you may want to curl up and cry. No one seems to get it right on the big screen. The studios can manage so many creative things around X-Men, which is filled with mutants left, right and centre, but when it comes to showing only these four gifted beings of Fantastic Four, they miss the mark by miles. But no one can claim to have known long ago that the rebooted Fantastic Four would fail so miserably at the box-office. After all, even the previous one of 2005 was a box-office success though it would never make anyone’s ‘Top 10 superhero films’ list. With the kind of quality in superhero movies we have seen over the past decade, the expectations with the latest version of Fantastic Four were high, and rightly so. A quality team of actors, an upcoming reputed director, and the growing world of visual effects. Well, forget all that now. Fantastic Four opened with a dismal $26.2 million in North America (and $60.3 million worldwide), nowhere even close to the $56.2 million domestic opening seen by Fantastic Four of 2005 or the $58.1 million opening of the 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Coming back to 2015, even Marvel’s attempt at a new superhero with Ant-Man brought in $57.2 million on the opening weekend, whereas the known quantity that Fantastic Four was supposed to be opened with less than half of that figure. The difference in absolute terms would widen as the weeks progress, as Fantastic Four is almost certainly going to take a big plummet considering the terrible reviews it has received. 9% on Rottentomatoes! The movie’s budget of $120 million is around that of Ant-Man, and should have been a low figure by today’s superhero standards, but even this is going to be difficult to recover. The movie will come nowhere close to $100 million at the domestic box-office, and might need somewhere around $300 million from foreign markets to achieve break-even. Very very difficult! The next Fantastic Four reboot has surely been pushed back by another decade.
There were three other wide releases over the weekend, and I’ll rush through them quickly for none of them has been particularly newsworthy. The Gift, which is in fact a Joel Edgerton directed film, took in $12 million in North America that doesn’t seem so bad when we compare it with the $5 million production budget of the film. Eh, well, Jason Blum is the producer after all! Master of low budget hit horror films, Blum seems to be moving into dark thrillers now too, having already had success with The Boy Next Door earlier in the year, followed by The Gift. Meryl Streep starrer Ricki and the Flash earned a forgettable $7 million over the weekend. It probably should never have been a summer release, and especially not in a weekend with four releases. With a $18 million budget, the only consolation is that the studio is not going to lose too much. Even worse was Shaun the Sheep Movie, a British film, which had a $4 million opening in North America. The film though has amassed about $65 million worldwide, and it enjoys a stunning 99% score on Rottentomatoes. Sometimes the Americans do not get their choices right, eh!? Has the movie done enough globally or not, it is difficult to know since I have not been able to gather the budget for the movie. But the studio, Aardman Animations, has had movies with budgets ranging from $30 million to $150 million in the past, and so even going by a $50 million kind of production budget for Shaun the Sheep Movie (which seems a reasonable figure), it has a lot of ground to cover in foreign markets if it has to earn back its investment.
And now I round up the post by talking about the movie that stays at the top of the domestic box-office. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation which dropped by a decent 47% in its second weekend and has grossed more than $100 million in North America. It is the overseas earnings for this movie though that will make it a big blockbuster. Already 60% of its $265 million worldwide earnings has come from foreign markets, and that proportion I feel will only widen in the coming weeks. And before I call it a day, Minions has now moved above the $900 million figure in global earnings. Is a billion dollar tally possible? Aahhh, we shall see.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($29.4 million; second weekend)
2. Fantastic Four ($26.2 million)
3. The Gift ($12.0 million)
4. Vacation ($9.1 million; second weekend)
5. Ant-Man ($7.8 million; fourth weekend)