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Fantastic Four reboot flops in US with one of lowest superhero openings

Fantastic 4

Story by Jack Foley

JOSH Trank’s much maligned Fantastic Four reboot has flopped in the US, where it endured one of the softest openings for a superhero title of all-time.

The film, starring Miles Teller and Jamie Bell, opened to just $26.2 million and didn’t even make the top spot. And this despite costing an estimated $120 million to make.

Instead, holdover title Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, starring Tom Cruise, held onto the top spot with $29.4 million for a new US total of $109.5 million.

Fantastic Four even struggled to make up its budget costs overseas, where films can sometimes perform better, hitting an equally tepid $34.1 million for a global debut of $60.3 million.

Once again, Rogue Nation was the clear winner, taking in another $65.5 million for a global haul of $265.3 million.

Heading into the weekend, Fantastic Four was expected to hit at least $40 million, with some even predicting almost $50 million. But the under-performance comes on top of bad reviews, negative word of mouth and reports of a troubled shoot.

It now remains to be seen whether the film’s sequel, which is already dated for June 2017, will go ahead with Twentieth Century Fox, or whether Marvel will step in to re-acquire the rights to the franchise, much as it did with Spider-Man once Sony decided to look for help.

Commenting on the film’s performance, Chris Aronson, Fox domestic distribution chief, attempted to put a brave face on things, saying: “While we’re disappointed, we remain committed to these characters and we have a lot to look forward to in our Marvel universe.”

Whether that meant a sequel would still happen remains unclear, though, as The Hollywood Reporter states that Aronson refused to comment on that issue.

To put the under-performance of Fantastic Four into even more context, the reboot opened well behind the first two films, Fantastic Four ($56.1 million) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer ($58.1 million), and only just beat the all-time worst performer, Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance, which launched to $22.1 million.

It did, however, do even less business than 2011 flop The Green Hornet ($33.5 million), which contributed to the death of that franchise.

If the news was bad for Fantastic Four and good for Tom Cruise, another weekend winner proved to be Australian actor Joel Edgerton, whose directorial debut The Gift, placed third at the US box office with $12 million.

A throwback to psychological thrillers such as Fatal Attraction and Pacific Heights, The Gift follows a man (played by Edgerton) who develops an unhealthy fixation on an old schoolmate (Jason Bateman) and his wife (Rebecca Hall). It was produced by Jason Blum (of The Purge fame).

Another of the weekend’s new releases, Jonnathan Demme’s Ricki and the Flash, starring Meryl Streep, opened in seventh place with $7 million.

The figure represents one of the lowest nationwide openings for a Streep film, although the distribution for the film was significantly lower around the US.

Rounding out the US top five, meanwhile, was the road movie comedy Vacation, which placed fourth with $9.1 million for a 12-day US total of $37.7 million, and Disney and Marvel’s superhero entry Ant-Man, which crossed the $300 million worldwide last week, and which has now taken $147.4 million in the US alone.

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