So how do we feel about this maneuver? Fanpup contributors Cody Olsen and Kristen Johnson share their thoughts.
This is an interesting move for sure, and kind of a hyper-aggressive one. Firstly I think we can all agree we’d prefer to have the Fantastic Four film rights back with Marvel, and on the surface this looks like an interesting tactic to maybe regain those rights. If nobody is going to see a Fantastic Four film from Fox, they won’t want the rights anymore. However comic book readers are only part of a film’s box office take, the ones that make a lot of money are seen by casual audiences. With that in mind it makes the Fantastic Four cancellation look less strategic and a bit more petty.
Yeah I think almost every fan out there feels like Marvel should get the rights back to Fantastic Four as they would probably do a much better job with it, as opposed to the last time that we all may or may not choose to remember…
That being said, there is no doubt that this strategy is hyper-aggressive, and I am assuming as well that it is all in an attempt to get these rights back from Fox once Fox realizes they can’t make money from these franchises anymore. But I have to wonder if Marvel has decided just to throw certain fans under the bus or if they thought that most fans would be on board with this particular plan. I feel this will put these characters and franchises on hold for a very long period of time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few fans won’t support it.
Yah, in a sense the move is unequivocally saying Marvel, or at least CEO Isaac Perlmutter, values the movie fans over the comic fans, if he’s willing to let any Fantastic Four comic fans be collateral damage in this. Granted from a money-making standpoint yah the films do make more and are more important, but to put it this blatantly seems strange to me.
One thought I have is what if the 20th Century Fox’s next FF film (FFF?) is actually good. What if it’s really good? I know all the buzz so far is pretty lukewarm on the film (to put it mildly) but the internet has been wrong before. So what if Marvel cancels the comic book to spite Fox, but then Fox turns out a film that’s really well received? The response from Marvel loyalists (like myself) could be interesting.
I’m very skeptical, not because of the casting choices, but because I think Marvel does better with their own content. I think when they are allowed to be involved in all steps of their projects they are very much focused on making it authentic. I feel they value the fans enough, which again is why I wonder if they are going for an end justifies the means here in deliberately excluding certain fans. I’m guessing that’s the case; they have just accepted that certain people may not understand the business strategy and will turn away, but in the end if they get their rights back, that is worth way more to them in the long run, as they know they could gain new fans or hope in the end those who didn't support these dramatic tactics will come back once things have been resolved. They are a business so ultimately, that’s the part they have to focus on. There is definitely way more money in the movies I feel than the comics, and I’m sure they thought about completely severing X-men as well, but decided overall it wouldn’t be smart.
Obviously Marvel is looking at this like the Fantastic Four movie is going to suck. I think they are banking on this really, just because this all or nothing strategy can really only work if the FFF fails miserably, so that Fox gives the rights back with their tail between their legs. I’m surprised Marvel hasn’t called on their group of fans to support them and not go see FFF or other X-Men films in the future until they have the rights.
Oh yah they are totally going for an ends justify the means approach here, which is a school of thought I don’t usually subscribe to, but you’re right they have reasons to believe it will pay off. I’m just wondering how realistic it really is that their desired end will come about through these means, sure comic fans are more demanding of quality now from their superhero movies, but with superhero movies being essentially the blockbuster it seems unlikely that a studio would give up the right very easily. Granted FF has never been a huge cinematic franchise, so Fox is perhaps more likely to give them up.
Ok that’s a super interesting idea: Marvel basically asking fans to not go see the movie, I mean it’s totally without precedent and it might come across as even more underhanded then this maneuver so I don't realistically see it happening, but that’s an interesting thought exercise. How many of us would listen to them?
I guess why this cancellation still seems irritating to me, is what I said before: the supermajority of revenue for these movies isn’t necessarily coming from comic book readers, but the average joe. So how much effect on the box office is the cancellation really gonna have? The means they’re using to get to their ends are questionable in my mind, but even more so when I don’t even think their desired end is that viable ya know?
Again I am more surprised that it hasn’t happened yet. Fans have the most say about anything. The movie studios cater to the people who they think will come out and see the movie, plain and simple. Look at the Deadpool movie, it was totally not a thing even close to happening 6 months ago and now they have a release date. And it doesn’t have to be a large majority for studios to listen, if they think it is a significant amount that they would lose, then they will come up with another strategy. So if a portion of Marvel fans decided to not go see the FFF even if it was in fact fantastic, Fox may still roll over. Or if they got all Marvel fans of movies and comics (not necessarily strictly FFF and X-Men fans) to sign a petition, make a commitment to boycott these films, etc that would mean something for sure. Maybe they are trying to subtly encourage fan rage by limiting Fox’s ability to make these films, thinking that once Fox can’t work with the content any longer, then fans maybe will ask Fox to just hand the rights back already.
But there is a chance that this could backfire. It’s definitely a childish move in some respects, and as a fan I am upset that the franchise is getting this cutthroat, hacked-to- pieces treatment because it is limiting the franchise. Would I boycott this film for Marvel? Not necessarily; I am not the superfan demographic they are looking for really, and I am sure there are others like me in that they have no particularly strong loyalty to Marvel but feel a little alienated in the wake of business.
FFF! You started using my acronym, that’s awesome!
Ok, if you’re conceding the move is a bit childish I’ll concede I do respect it, though kind of begrudgingly. I think it brings up a lot of questions about what’s fair in the box office war between these studios (apparently anything) but it’s certainly a novel concept that no one’s tried before, I can admit that.
And you’re right, the Deadpool example was just a very vocal segment of the geek community, hardly Americans at large, and that managed to have a major influence.
Just so we’re clear, I’d prefer for all the rights to be back at Marvel too, no questions. But the thing is Marvel sold those rights initially because they weren’t a movie studio, and I completely understand wanting them back now, but if they hadn't sold the rights in the first place, superhero movies probably wouldn’t have taken off in the early 2000s and Marvel would never have subsequently launched their own cinematic brand. The idealist in me says maybe Marvel should be grateful to studios like Sony and Fox for putting (sometimes flawed) Marvel movies out there, so Marvel could then come along and perfect the concept later. Also, when they initially sold the rights, was there not some clause like ‘and we agree to not actively try to undermine the film made with the rights you legally acquired from us. That got a bit rambly but whatever.
Well yes I will not dispute that they had a perfectly good reason to sell the rights then. I’m sure they never dreamed they would be a hugely successful movie studio a decade later. Fox is being stubborn right now because I’m sure Marvel would pay more than a pretty penny to get those rights back, and since fans and movie-goers alike are skeptical of Fox’s ability to make these movies good (or at least FFF, since X-men is clearly doing fine), I don’t see what Fox has to lose by giving FFF rights back. But obviously they are trying to cash in on Marvel’s success since they have the rights to do so. I mean, X-men beat Guardians of the Galaxy at the box office in the US this last summer, so clearly they don’t want to let that go. I think Fox is being just as greedy or cutthroat as Marvel is, but again that is not to say it is unjustified, as these are two businesses competing for money. The problem I have is that they are willing to throw fans under the bus to do it.
I don’t think anyone when superhero movies were beginning to come out thought that they would be such a huge thing later. Now that superhero movies drive the box office, everyone wants a piece of that pie now, and they are willing to do what they have to in order to get it.
Fox is being stubborn with the film rights you’re spot on in that regard, I understand Marvel’s frustration. Though I gotta throw out there that Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter is notorious for being a penny pincher, part of the reason Marvel’s negotiations with actors have been so hardball. So while I’m sure he’s offered them a lot by our standards, his desire to save money at all costs makes me wonder what kind of figures he’s actually offered Fox.
We could keep going back and forth, but in the interest of our readers’ time let’s wrap this up. We disagree on some points, but we both wanna see is the FF film rights back with Marvel. And I think we can agree FFF is an awesome acronym.
It seems strange that he is a penny pincher because in the long game, they will make way more money once they have the rights back than they would spend on getting them back. You would think he would realize this. If they really wanted the rights back, they would make a serious offer instead of trying to draw this out at the expense of these beloved franchises. They seem to be doing more or less with Sony and Spiderman, in that they are just waiting for them to hand back the rights (which they seem more likely to do as the recent Spider-Man films took a bit of a hit at the box office, and not in a good way). I suppose to me it seems that both sides are not particularly determined to negotiate in a straightforward and reasonable manner, but instead want to butt heads at the expense of the fans and the studios themselves. Why can't they just make all of our dreams come true with a mega-Marvel Universe movie? Maybe someday, but not someday soon.