The Fantastic Four film series consists of three superhero films based on the fictional Marvel Comics team Fantastic Four. Following an independent-studio film produced in the early 1990s but unreleased, the series continued with Fantastic Four in 2005, and continued with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007.
The films are based around four main characters, known formally as Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm, and how they adapt to the superpowers they attain. Each vary, as Reed feels responsible for their powers, Susan's dislike for the public attention the powers have given, Johnny's acceptance of the powers and the want to exploit this opportunity, and Ben's hatred of what he's become as he's the most visually affected and how has to deal with the changes. In addition to these four, Dr. Victor von Doom, who is also affected, shows the dark route that the misuse of the powers can do, and how he feels more powerful because of these "gifts".
In 1997, Peter Segal was attached to a script which had been written by Chris Columbus and Michael France. Segal left the project but changed his mind that same year. Phillip Morton (Fire Down Below) worked on the script, and Sam Hamm was rewriting it in 1998. The following year Raja Gosnell signed on as director. "I really wanted to do a big action comedy thrill ride like Men in Black", he said, describing it as more comic than X-Men (2000). Producer Avi Arad called the script "the biggest sitcom of all time".
Columbus, who was producing, explained the delays were in getting the budget down. "One estimate was as high as $280 million because every time the four characters walk into a scene, it will cost upwards of $100,000", he said. 20th Century Fox felt that production would depend on whether X-Men would be successful at the box office. X-Men producer Ralph Winter joined the project in April 2000, and the project was announced in August 2000 as being aimed for a July 4, 2001 release date. Gosnell decided to leave the project to film Scooby-Doo. Peyton Reed was announced as his replacement in April 2001.
|The Fantastic Four||Fantastic Four||Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer|
|Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic||Alex Hyde-White||Ioan Gruffudd|
|Sue Storm / Invisible Woman||Rebecca Staab||Jessica Alba|
|Ben Grimm / The Thing|| Michael Bailey Smith|
|Johnny Storm / Human Torch||Jay Underwood||Chris Evans|
|Victor von Doom / Doctor Doom||Joseph Culp||Julian McMahon|
|Alicia Masters||Kat Green||Kerry Washington|
|Willie Lumpkin||Stan Lee|
|Norrin Radd / Silver Surfer|| Doug Jones |
Laurence Fishburne (voice)
|General Hager||Andre Braugher|
|Frankie Raye||Beau Garrett|
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Reference|
|[Worldwide'||United States||United States||Outside U.S.||Worldwide||All time U.S.||All time worldwide|
|Fantastic Four||July 8, 2005||July 8, 2005||$154,696,080||$175,424,795||$330,120,875||#151||#147|
|Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer*||June 15, 2007||June 15, 2007||$131,921,738||$156,118,175||$288,039,913||#211||#191|
|Fantastic Four film series||$286,617,818||$331,542,970||$618,160,788|
|Film||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic||Yahoo! Movies|
|Overall||Cream of the Crop|
|Fantastic Four||26% (187 reviews)||27% (7 reviews)||40% (35 reviews)||C (13 reviews)|
|Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer||35% (148 reviews)||32% (11 reviews)||45% (33 reviews)||C+ (14 reviews)|
Erik Fleming and Steven Robiner recruited a crew of friends from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and convinced Stan Lee, Marvel Studios and Eichinger to let them try their hand at a short film as a means to prove that computer-generated imagery (which was then in its infancy) could be used to create a photo-realistic silver man. Marvel agreed to let the project go forward. After filming began, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was released, featuring the chrome-like figure of T-1000. This proved that Fleming & Robiner's theories about the possibility of rendering lifelike humanoid figures with quicksilver-like bodies were correct. The Silver Surfer short film was finished in 1992, and major film studios invited the crew into their offices, simply amazed as to how they completed the film with virtually no budget. When the studios found out they didn't own the rights to the comic book, the studio's interest turned to Marvel Fleming stated, "It's suddenly an A-list project, and they have to bring in an A-list writer, an A-list director. That's really just how Hollywood works. We should have signed a deal ahead of time, but we were just too young and naive. A studio's word is no good in Hollywood. All that matters is a signed piece of paper." Upon viewing the short film Oliver Stone became interested in directing.The film however was a fundamentally important breakthrough film for all involved, including USC Film School which previously had no CGI or Visual Effects Courses. The year following the outrageous success of Fleming & Robiner's short film, the USC Computer Animation and Digital Effects Courses were officially inaugurated, and the school now has a complete degree program in the area of Computer Graphic Imagery, which still showcases the Silver Surfer film to garner alumni donations. Fleming, Robiner, and many of their team had their filmmaking career launched through the success of this short film.
The project moved to Fox's children's division of 20th Century Fox Animation, which started the Silver Surfer television series. By July 1999, Andrew Kevin Walker was hired to write a completely new script. In May 2000, Marvel Studios brought Artisan Entertainment to co-finance the film. Vin Diesel expressed interest in portraying the lead role, while Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was approached to star. Baz Luhrmann was interested in directing, while Joshua Jackson was interested in portraying the lead role. Turman expressed interest in writing a new script in June 2003. By March 2005, an unnamed "Zen Buddhist with experience in special effects" was set to direct. However, the unnamed director was committed to another film, and also left because of the technical challenges of creating the Surfer on screen. Marvel and Fox opted for the character to be used in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, portrayed by Doug Jones with a voiceover by Laurence Fishburne. Don Payne, co-writer of Rise of the Silver Surfer, expressed interest in writing a new screenplay for Silver Surfer.
Silver Surfer was then put a higher priority than Fantastic Four 3. By June 2007, J. Michael Straczynski was working on a new screenplay, which was set after Rise of the Silver Surfer: the Surfer returns to Zenn-La, anxious that Galactus will consume it after he betrayed him. Straczynski described Galactus in a manner more faithful to his comics appearance in the script, revealing his cloud form from the previous film was a disguise. Jones is signed on for two more films, and hopes that Fox will option him to reprise the role, and would like the opportunity to supply his own voice for the character, as was the case with Jones' second portrayal of the character Abe Sapien, in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. A large amount of filming will take place in Australia. Fox was disappointed by the box office return of Rise of the Silver Surfer. In July 2008, producer Kevin Feige said Fox was waiting to see how successful the spin-off film X-Men Origins: Wolverine would be before putting the film in active development.