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Fantastic Four Franchise Gets the Reboot, and We Get the Ass Boot

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | September 1, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | September 1, 2009 |

It’s only been one day since it was announced that Disney would buy Marvel Entertainment, but today, we’re seeing the very first consequence of the sale. And it’s not pretty.

See, in some instances, certain studios already have the rights to certain Marvel properties, and they maintain the rights in perpetuity so long as they continue making those movies. 20th Century Fox, for instances, owns the rights to the Fantastic Four franchise, which has seen two movies in recent years, arguably two of the very worst comic book movies of all time. But they have been profitable — they’ve made about $600 million worldwide (on $230 million production budgets). So what does a studio do to ensure it doesn’t lose the rights to a profitable, though fairly unpopular comic-book franchise?

It reboots it. Indeed, Fox is now in the process of rebooting The Fantastic Four franchise. The studio has hired Akiva Goldsman to oversee the overhaul. Michael Green, executive producer of “Heroes” has also been hired to pen the script; Green is also writing the script for Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern movie (no relation).

This probably won’t be the only such reboot. Fox also owns the rights to Daredevil (yay! Blind superhero movie!) and, of course, X-Men, which means those movies will continue to be releases yearly for the next 30 years.

Columbia Pictures, likewise, owns the right to Spiderman, and though a fourth movie is already in development, Columbia has already hired a writer to write fifth and sixth movies, which are also expected to be reboots, working with a different cast and director, as few expect Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire will be back for a fifth movie.

All of which is to say: Whether we want them or not, the release schedule over the next decade will probably be dominated by Marvel Entertainment characters. Not only will we see all those Avengers movies, but Disney is certainly going to want to capitalize on their $4 billion investment, while various other studios will want to keep their agreements with Marvel intact.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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