Tony Kebbell On The ‘Fantastic Four’ Flop | Film News
Superhero films have gained a reputation for being invincible at the box office, and the bizarre truth is that even the bad ones tend to make money. Case in point: according to Box Office Mojo, this past summer’s Fantastic Four managed just under $170 million worldwide on a budget of roughly $120 million. That’s not exactly impressive for a big-budget superhero film, but given that the project was almost universally despised by critics and audience members alike, a profit in the neighbourhood of $50 million seems to back up the impression of the genre’s invincibility.
In a way, the Fantastic Four characters had already demonstrated shades of that same invincibility before the release of this year’s film. Fans will recall that these characters were adapted for the silver screen back in 2005. While the critical reception wasn’t quite as disastrous then as it was this past summer, the overall response was similar: it was simply a bad film, unworthy of a thoroughly beloved comic franchise with droves of fans all over the world. So what did the studio do? They went right ahead and started on a sequel, because the 2005 film made about $230 million.
Thus, 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer was born, and it actually now stands as the most well-received of all the Fantastic Four-related films. That’s pretty rough given that Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 37% positive based on critic reviews from across the web. And again, despite the poor ratings and general consensus that it was a poor film, Rise Of The Silver Surfer made money.
Furthermore, the continual flops of the Fantastic Four characters in cinematic adaptations have done nothing to lessen the characters’ impact in pop culture as a whole. In part because the character rights belong to Fox, the Fantastic Four do not have as big a presence in gaming as most Marvel heroes, but they continue to appear in more neutral arenas (as opposed to in Marvel games). Betfair’s casino site has long hosted a variety of Fantastic Four games, which is significant in that most other hero games hosted there have had popular film franchises. The Fantastic Four games use drawn images rather than exact character likenesses or photographs, but they’re more closely related to the 2005 film (and its sequel) than the more recent project.
And even outside of film and gaming, the Fantastic Four characters are churning right along. Marvel cancelled all Fantastic Four comic development after failing to regain the cinematic rights from Fox, and things looked bleak for the future of the Fantastic ones. But Bleeding Cool recently reported that Marvel may loosen its stance in this regard. Hints in the Amazing Spider-Man #3 comic indicate an imminent comeback for the foursome.
Given all of this, it appears that the comic industry’s biggest heroes may truly be immune to failure in modern entertainment. It appears that no amount of critical disappointment or fan displeasure can dissuade the relevant studios and creative outlets from putting forth more Fantastic Four content. But there’s another side to the films’ failures, recently illuminated when Den Of Geek posted comments from Toby Kebbell.
Kebbell played the role of Dr. Doom in this past summer’s Fantastic Four. Doom was not just a key element of that film, but he is among the very most significant of Marvel villains. That means that had the project been a success, Kebbell would suddenly have found himself as a major cog in a budding franchise. Instead, Kebbell revealed that his career is dwindling as a result of the film’s crash. The actor claims he’s gone from receiving about three scripts a week to consider to zero, and that the failure “actively affects” his career. Kebbell understands fans’ reaction to the film, calling it “honest,” but also hinted lightly at problems on set, which were rumoured to have persisted throughout production.
So it appears that if the heroes themselves are immune to struggle or failure, the actors who embody them can actually become the casualties of poor films. One hopes for Kebbell’s sake that this is only a temporary consequence, because the travesty of Fantastic Four was far too deep for any one actor to bear responsibility.
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