Superhero epic Fantastic Four tanked at the US box office at the weekend, taking only $26.2m in the wake of poor reviews and audience derision.
20th Century Fox’s latest reboot of the Marvel Comics story debuted in second place, with last week’s No 1 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation retaining the top spot. The Tom Cruise-led spy sequel turned in a strong second-week haul of $29.4m for a total of $108.6m.
Fantastic Four’s dismal opening was even weaker than expected, with analysts having predicted about $40m. Previous efforts Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), made $56.1m and $58.1m respectively on their US debuts. But Josh Trank’s film has been hit by a triple whammy of weak reviews, scathing feedback from filmgoers on social media and a tweet from the director himself disowning it.
The film, starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Michael B Jordan, boasts a rating of just 8% “rotten” on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, and a score of “C-” from the audience reaction company CinemaScore. To put things in perspective, famously appalling superhero efforts Daredevil (2003) and Catwoman (2004) both got a “B”, while 1997’s Batman and Robin, featuring George Clooney’s oft-derided batnippled take on the caped crusader, received a “C+”.
Trank’s tweet last week, which was later deleted, hinted at major studio interference in Fantastic Four, though there have also been reports that the Chronicle director behaved erratically on set, and he has been dropped from a forthcoming Star Wars film.
Fantastic Four did marginally better outside the US, and boasts $60m worldwide, around half its $120m shooting budget. But with marketing and other expenses likely to double its overall costs, it is already looking like a loss leader for Fox.
There was better news for The Gift, a psychological thriller starring Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall which marks Australian actor Joel Edgerton’s debut as a director. The film, about a young married couple who find themselves targeted by an eccentric neighbour after moving from Chicago to California, took $12m on debut in third place. Edgerton also stars in a key supporting role as the sinister local man who attempts to befriend the new arrivals.
The top five was rounded out by comedy remake Vacation, with $9.1m in its second week for a total of $37.3m, and Marvel superhero effort Ant-Man, with $7.8m this time around for a four-week total of $147.4m.
The only other new film to make this week’s top 10 was the Meryl Streep-fronted comedy-drama Ricki and the Flash, which made $7m on debut in seventh place. A rare Streep effort which is not expected to challenge for awards season honours, Jonathan Demme’s film centres on an ageing rock singer who abandoned her family to chase her dreams many decades before. It’s based on a script by Oscar-winner Diablo Cody (Juno).
Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep opened just outside the top 10 with $4m, while controversial Sundance hit The Diary of a Teenage Girl did well on limited release with $54,525 from just four screens, the weekend’s highest location average.
US box office chart, 7-9 August
1. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: $29.4m, $108.6m
2. Fantastic Four:$26.2m - new
3. The Gift: $12m - new
4. Vacation: $9.1m, $37.3m
5. Ant-Man: $7.8m, $147.4m
6. Minions: $7.3m, $302.7m
7. Ricki and the Flash: $7m - new
8. Trainwreck: $6.2m, $91m
9. Pixels: $5.4m, $57.6m
10. Southpaw: $4.7m, $40.7m
This article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Monday 10th August 2015 13.01 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010