20th Century Fox is getting serious about being in the Marvel movie business as it has announced the release dates for three upcoming films.
It seems that 20th Century Fox wants to put its few Marvel film licenses to good work. In the 1990s, when Marvel was in desperate need of money, it sold the rights to some of its biggest franchises to various film studios. The deal calls for the rights to remain at those studios so long as they keep producing new films. In other words they can’t just put them on a shelf and not do anything with them. Spider-Man is over at Sony, and the X-Men and Fantastic Four are at Fox, and while we all know that Spider-Man is being kept in play, as are the X-Men, the Fantastic Four has been a bit of a question mark.
Fox released two films under the brand, the first in 2005, and the second in 2007. Neither film did well and Fox has been gearing up for a relaunch for some time now. The pieces are now in place and a reboot is being released on June 19, 2015. Even though not even one frame of film has been shot yet, Fox isn’t wasting any time and has slated a second film now for July 14, 2017.
At the same time Fox also announced Wolverine 3 for March 3, 2017, and an unknown Marvel project for July 13, 2018.
While this is of course with in Fox’s rights, the announcement of sequels before the results of the first film are known still boggles my mind. Yes, put in some of the pre-production work, but in this particular case, you know nothing. The cast hasn’t shot one scene together yet, how do you know for sure they’ll gel? How do you know that audiences even want to give the Fantastic Four another try?
Maybe I’m too old school. Perhaps I want to see how the first works out before you commit money to a second. And it could be I despise the idea that not only is Fox sitting on these rights just to keep them out of the hands of Disney – which now owns Marvel – and to do so has adopted a factory mentality to do so. These films are now being produced on an assembly line, and it bothers me.
They may end up being good, you never know, but at least give me the illusion that some care is going into their production as opposed to releasing them to just fill slots in your schedule and keep them under your control.