20th Century Fox announced plans to reboot the franchise, and development of the film began in 2009. Trank was hired to direct in July 2012 and the principal characters were cast in January 2014. Principal photography began in May 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and lasted for two months. Dissatisfied with the director's original cut, Fox executives mandated reshoots, which took place in January 2015.
Fantastic Four premiered at Williamsburg Cinemas in New York City on August 4, 2015, and was released on August 7 in the United States. The film received negative reviews from critics, who called the film "woefully misguided" without the "humor, joy, or colorful thrills" found in the source material. It grossed $167.9 million worldwide against a production budget of $155 million, becoming a box-office bomb, losing over $80 million. At the 36th Golden Raspberry Awards, it won several awards, including Worst Director and Worst Picture. Trank also voiced his displeasure with the final film, blaming the studio's interference.
The experiment is successful, and the facility's supervisor, Dr. Allen, plans to send a group from NASA to venture into a parallel dimension known as "Planet Zero". Disappointed at being denied the chance to join the expedition, Reed, Johnny and Victor along with Ben use the Quantum Gate to embark on an unsanctioned voyage to Planet Zero, which they learn is a world filled with otherworldly substances. Victor attempts to touch the green lava-like substance, causing the ground they are standing on to erupt. Reed, Johnny and Ben return to their shuttle just as Sue brings them back to Earth and Victor is seemingly killed after he falls into the collapsing landscape. The Quantum Gate explodes, altering Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben on a genetic level and granting them superhuman abilities beyond their control: Reed can stretch like rubber, Sue can become invisible and generate force fields, Johnny can engulf his entire body in fire and fly, and Ben acquires a rock-like hide which gives him superhuman strength and durability. They are then placed in government custody to be studied and have their abilities tested. Blaming himself for the accident, Reed escapes from the facility and tries to find a cure for their changes.
One year later in 2015, Reed is now a fugitive and has built a suit that helps him control his ability. Hiding in Central America, he is eventually found by the United States military with Sue's help and captured by Ben, who has become a military asset along with Johnny and Sue. Johnny and Sue have been outfitted with specialized suits designed to help them control their abilities. Reed is brought to Area 57, where Dr. Allen conscripts him into rebuilding the Quantum Gate in exchange for giving Reed the resources to find a cure. Arriving in Planet Zero, Dr. Allen's explorers find Victor, who has been fused to his spacesuit and now possesses telekinetic abilities, and bring him back to Earth. Believing that Earth needs to be destroyed to protect his new home world from future invasions, Victor kills the scientists and soldiers in the base, including Dr. Allen and Professor Storm, and returns to Planet Zero using the Quantum Gate, with Ben, Johnny, Reed and Sue in pursuit.
Now dubbing himself "Doom", Victor activates a portal on Planet Zero using the Quantum Gate and begins consuming the landscape of the Earth using a structure he created from the rock formations in Planet Zero. He is confronted by the four and, after a short battle, Ben punches Doom into the portal's energy beam, disintegrating him while Johnny closes the portal. Returning to Earth, the group is rewarded by the US military for their heroics by being given a new base of operations known as "Central City" to study their abilities without government interference. They decide to use their powers to help people and adopt the mantle of the "Fantastic Four".
Miles Teller as Reed Richards / Mister Fantastic: Richards has been exploring the universe in his garage after school. He gains the ability to stretch his body into different forms and lengths. Teller said of the role, "When I read the script, I didn't feel like I was reading this larger-than-life, incredible superhero tale. These are all very human people that end up having to become, I guess, what is known as the Fantastic Four. So for me it was just a really good story and gives me an opportunity to play something different from my own skin." Owen Judge portrays Reed as a child while Fernando Rivera portrays Reed in disguise.
Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm / Human Torch: A troublemaker, thrill-seeker and the younger brother of Sue Storm, he has the ability to shoot fireballs and fly. Jordan said of the cast, "We're more or less a bunch of kids that had an accident and we have disabilities now that we have to cope with, and try to find a life afterwards – try to be as normal as we can." Jordan previously worked with Trank on 2012's Chronicle, and according to Trank, Jordan's character in Chronicle shares characteristics with Johnny Storm. Trank has described Storm as "smart, hilarious and charismatic."
Kate Mara as Sue Storm / Invisible Woman: Brilliant, independent, and sarcastic, Storm has the ability to become invisible and generate force-fields. Mara has said that she intended to focus on making her character "as real as possible". Trank has described Storm as "smart, dignified and [with] integrity."
Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm / The Thing: Warm, sensitive, a loyal and protective friend, Grimm's stone body gives him super-strength and makes him "indestructible". Trank said Grimm grew up an alienated child in a "tough" neighborhood. Trank also said that Bell has "qualities" of warmth and strength which people would want to see from Grimm. Bell has said that Grimm is the "heart of the group [Fantastic Four]". In preparation for the motion-capture performance, Bell approached actor Andy Serkis for advice. During filming, he wore a tracking suit and stilts to match the height and eye-line of The Thing. Evan Hannemann portrays Grimm as a child.
Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom / Dr. Doom: A computer technician and computer scientist who is mentored by Dr. Franklin Storm. Doom finds a new father of sorts in Storm. Angry, vengeful, and bright, Doom was changed in the Negative Zone, as were the other characters. Kebbell said that he concentrated the most on the voice of the character, adding, "on the animated series, they never got his voice what I imagined it to be when I read the comics as a little boy. What I spent the majority of my time doing was not just being a fan, but being a bit of pedant and making sure I got exactly what I always wanted to see." Kinberg said that Doom is as central to the film as the "titular" heroes. He added that Doom has "aspirations and struggles that are a little bit more classically tragic than the other characters" and that the film would show how he becomes a villain. Dr. Doom's full name in this film was originally going to be "Victor Domashev", but after backlash by fans, it was changed back to "Victor Von Doom" during reshoots, to match his name in the Marvel Comics universe.
Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Franklin Storm: The biological father of Johnny and adoptive father to Sue. Cathey described Franklin as a "brilliant scientist who has achieved much more than he thought he would" and that Franklin's main drive in life is to help "brilliant" kids who may have been dropped through the cracks or who were misunderstood.
Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Allen: A scientist who works for the government and takes part in training the members of the team to hone their abilities. Nelson said that Allen is "responsible for what the creative people do that he has to rein them in and discipline them."
This Fantastic Four movie is sort of a celebration of all the Fantastic Four comics that have preceded it. We have elements from the original Fantastic Four that there's a sort of optimism and inspirational quality to the film. In some ways a comedy that was really distinct in the original Fantastic Four. Also, the notion of this dysfunctional surrogate family that comes together and has to work together is very present in the movie that owes a great debt to the originals and this idea that they are scientists and that it's almost like this science adventure, more than being superheroes... We also owe a lot to the Ultimate's [sic] and the current crop of Fantastic Four comics.
—Simon Kinberg on adapting the Fantastic Four comic books into film
Trank and Slater's ideas for the movie were tonally opposite, with Slater revealing that he viewed 2012's The Avengers as a template, while Trank "just fucking hated every second of it." Despite claiming to have been a fan of the Fantastic Four "when [he] was a kid", Trank had only seen the 1994 cartoon series and had no interest in the superhero movie genre. He admitted that he found himself unable to identify with Slater's more comic book-centric tone. Trank left Slater out of discussions with Fox Studios and withheld certain studio notes. Slater added "I never saw 95% of those notes," and left after six months. In February 2013, Matthew Vaughn was attached to produce, and Seth Grahame-Smith hired to polish the script. In October 2013, Simon Kinberg was hired as co-writer and producer. In April 2014, the Cavalry FX was hired for the film's pre-visualization.
The casting of a black actor, Michael B. Jordan, as the new Johnny Storm spawned controversy among some fans. Director Josh Trank justified his decision by saying the move to cast Jordan as Johnny Storm was taken to bring the iconic comic book team in line with real-world demographics. Trank would receive numerous death threats through IMDb message boards and slept with a .38 Special on his nightstand. He returned the gun after production had wrapped. He later admitted that he wanted to cast a black actress for the role of Susan Storm, but that the studio insisted on retaining her ethnicity for the film. "I was mostly interested in a black Susan Storm and a black Johnny Storm and a black Franklin Storm...when you're dealing with a studio on a massive movie like that, everybody wants to keep an open mind to who the big stars are going be...I found a lot of pretty heavy push back on casting a black woman in that role." He added that being denied a black Susan Storm should have convinced him to step away from the project.
Fantastic Four had a production budget of $155 million.Principal photography commenced on May 5, 2014, at the Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and ended on August 23, 2014, lasting for 72 days. The film received $29.1 million in tax incentives and spent $97.4 million in Louisiana.Matthew Jensen served as director of photography. The film was planned to be shot in Vancouver, Canada, but was moved to Louisiana due to the state's film production tax incentives. During filming, producers Hutch Parker and Simon Kinberg rewrote Trank's original script and gave the film a different ending. In January 2015, reshoots were ordered by 20th Century Fox executives who were not satisfied with the film, feeling that the movie felt more like a sequel to Trank's previous film, Chronicle.
Before the film's release, several sources had reported that there were multiple disagreements between 20th Century Fox and Trank during production. After being unsatisfied with Trank's original cut, Fox ordered their own changes to the film without Trank's supervision, changing and omitting certain major plot points from Trank's version. Many other sources claimed that there was "erratic behavior" from Trank on the set of the film, which resulted in Fox's negative treatment of him. Trank posted a message on Twitter one day prior to the film's release that criticized the finished film. Expressing dissatisfaction towards the final product, he stated, "A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would've received great reviews. You'll probably never see it. That's reality though." Trank deleted the message shortly after. While Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson claimed that Fox supported Trank's version of the film, Kebbell conversely stated, "I tell you, the honest truth is [Trank] did cut a great film that you'll never see. That is a shame. A much darker version, and you'll never see it." Trank further disowned the film by removing it from his Instagram filmography.
After Stan Lee's death three years later, Trank lamented that he had "let him down", even though after the film's release, he had received a personal letter from Lee asking him if he was okay. In 2020, Trank has admitted that much of the sequences he had planned had gone unfilmed, thus making a director's cut practically nonexistent. Later that year, Kate Mara admitted that her experience working on the film was "horrible". While she did not go into great detail, she implied that much of her discomfort came from questionable directions stating, "I think that speaking up is something that I think that we all probably learn it [sic] over and over again... I don't regret doing it at all, but do regret not having stood up for myself. I regret that for sure."
The film used the Los Angeles-based company OTOY for its visual effects. Moving Picture Company, Pixomondo, Rodeo FX and Weta Digital also created visual effects for the film. Moving Pictures Company took on the visual effects for The Thing, rendering a fully digital character based on Jamie Bell's on-set performance and the Human Torch's fiery visual effects. Weta Digital handled Reed Richards' stretch effects. Pixomondo delivered Susan Storm's force-field and cloaking effects and augmented Doom's costume. James E. Price served as the over-all visual effects supervisor. Kinberg stated that the film would be converted to 3D in post-production, but those plans were canceled, with Trank stating that he wanted "the viewing experience of Fantastic Four to remain as pure as possible for the audience, which means in 2D". A sequence showing The Thing performing a "dive-bomb" in the film was cut due to budget constraints.
The studio was caught off-guard by the first cut of the film for having a "morose tone". The ending had not been finalized and the studio hastily had to cobble together a new ending that was essentially composed of script pieces of the original draft, plus new ones that were being written on the day of reshoots. Much of Trank's suggestions were swiftly ignored. Stephen E. Rivkin was hired to edit the movie together with Trank referring to him as the "de facto director" for the new cut. Despite Trank's efforts by having two edits of the film, Rivkin's was ultimately chosen over his.
In January 2015, Marco Beltrami was hired to compose the film's score.Philip Glass was also hired to work on the score with Beltrami. Additional music contributions were made by Miles Hankins, Brandon Roberts, Marcus Trumpp, and Buck Sanders, with American hip-hop recording artist El-P scoring the end credits of the film. To promote the film, Kim Nam-joon, known as RM of the K-pop group BTS, and American recording artist Mandy Ventrice, worked on the digital single "Fantastic", which was released alongside the South Korean run of the film. In July 2015, Beltrami attended the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International to discuss scoring the film. Beltrami described the score as "eerie" and "mysterious", landing it in a "musical territory leaning towards fantasy." The film score was released on August 7, 2015, by Sony Classical Records. In spite of the film's extremely negative reception, the soundtrack still garnered a positive response.
The teaser trailer for Fantastic Four was released in January 2015 to a generally positive response. Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter gave the trailer a positive review, calling it a "surprisingly strong step in the right direction for a faithful adaptation of an often-problematic property." Abraham Riesman of New York's Vulture also responded to the trailer positively, saying that the film "could be the most innovative and tonally unique marquee superhero movie." However, correspondents for Newsarama noted that there was "nothing" in the trailer to characterize it as being based on the Fantastic Four, feeling it could have easily been a substitute for similar science fiction films such as 2014's Interstellar. The trailer became the most-watched trailer in 20th Century Fox's history, surpassing the previous record-holder, 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The second trailer for the film was released in April 2015. Sean O'Connell of CinemaBlend called the trailer "amazing" and said that it "does a much better job of setting up everyone's roles." Drew McWeeny of HitFix said the film "looks like it was approached with serious intent" and that the scale "feels positively intimate." In the same month, the cast attended CinemaCon to present footage from the film, which also generated positive reviews.
The world premiere of Fantastic Four was at Williamsburg Cinemas in New York City on August 4, 2015. It was released in North America on August 7, 2015, on 3,995 screens. In December 2012, it was scheduled for March 6, 2015 release, which was changed in November 2013 to June 19, 2015, before settling on its final date of August 7, 2015.
Fantastic Four grossed $56.1 million in North America and $111.8 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $167.9 million, against a production budget of $155 million (estimated $200 million including marketing and distribution costs), making it the lowest grossing theatrically released Fantastic Four film to date.
In the United States and Canada, Fantastic Four was projected to take the top spot and earn around $40–50 million on its opening weekend, which would be lower than the opening weekend gross of 2005's Fantastic Four ($56.1 million) and 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer ($58.1 million). The film made $2.7 million from late night previews on the night of August 6. On its opening day, Fantastic Four earned $11.3 million (including Thursday's preview screenings), lower than early tracking, and $25.6 million on its opening weekend, marking one of the lowest openings of all time for a big-budget superhero movie which box office analysts have attributed to poor critical reviews and audience reception. It came in second place behind Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($28.5 million). When asked by The New York Times to comment on the weekend box office results, Chris Aronson, Fox's president of domestic distribution said: "There's not much to say. I have never seen a confluence of events impact the opening of a movie so swiftly," referring to negative reviews and a renegade tweet by Trank that blamed the studio for the poor reviews. In the film's second weekend, it grossed $8 million, dropping 69% from the opening weekend.The Hollywood Reporter described the film as the second biggest box office failure of 2015, behind Tomorrowland, estimating the film's losses to be between $80 million and $100 million.
Outside North America, the film grossed $33.1 million on its opening weekend from 43 countries from 8,996 screens, coming at second place behind Rogue Nation at the international box office. While it underperformed in certain countries, it opened at number one in 20 countries. Its top openings were in Mexico ($5.29 million), the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta ($4.19 million), France ($3.85 million), Venezuela ($3.81 million) and Brazil ($3 million).
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 9% of 263 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 3.6/10. The website's consensus reads: "Dull and downbeat, this Fantastic Four proves a woefully misguided attempt to translate a classic comic series without the humor, joy, or colorful thrills that made it great." As of 2023, it the lowest-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes out of all theatrical films based on Marvel Comics properties.Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 27 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". It received a "C−" rating from audiences surveyed by CinemaScore on a scale of A+ to F, which was referred to by Pamela McClintock of The Hollywood Reporter as "the worst grade that anyone can remember for a marquee superhero title made by a major Hollywood studio."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave Fantastic Four one star out of four, calling it "the cinematic equivalent of malware" and "worse than worthless." Jim Vejvoda of IGN criticized the film as "aesthetically drab and dramatically inert", said that the two previous Fantastic Four films "seem better in hindsight", and that the film did not show enough character development between the members of the team. He also criticized the blatant continuity errors, such as Mara's changing hair style and color and Teller's disappearing facial hair, brought on by the film's reshoots. Brian Lowry of Variety found the film to be a technical improvement over the 2005 release but criticized its uneven pacing and writing, saying "Ultimately, Fox's stab at reviving one of its inherited Marvel properties feels less like a blockbuster for this age of comics-oriented tentpoles than it does another also-ran—not an embarrassment, but an experiment that didn't gel."Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter felt the film is "like a 100-minute trailer for a movie that never happens." He called the film "maddeningly lame and unimaginative" in addition to criticizing the visual style as a "dark, unattractive, gloomy mode." In a review for Screen Daily, Tim Grierson criticized the film's narrative as nonsensical, making the film "progressively more muddled and tedious."A.O. Scott of The New York Times noted that it "feels less like a tale of superhero beginnings than like a very long precredit opening sequence."
David Jenkins of Little White Lies, on the other hand, praised Fantastic Four for its stylistic deviation from other recent superhero films, and argued that the film's characters "make decisions which may appear to lack credibility, but the writing works hard to show you why these people are doing what they are doing – and it's not just haphazard patching work, but believable reasons which build on the themes of the movie".James Berardinelli gave the film 2.5/4 stars, saying Fantastic Four is "no better or worse [than] the other superhero movies of 2015", welcoming the dark tone, and praising the performance of the main actors. Berardinelli concluded that as a superhero film, "it falls into the 'adequate' range of the spectrum—neither memorable nor forgettable." Jake Wilson of The Sydney Morning Herald gave the film 3/5 stars, praising the Fantastic Four's transformation sequence and Teller's performance, and wrote: "what distinguishes the film's approach is the faith it puts in its young lead actors".
As of February 2016, Fantastic Four had sold nearly 400,000 DVD copies and 350,000 Blu-ray copies, for a total of 750,000 copies. As of December 2018, the film had grossed $13.4 million on home video.
Before Fantastic Four began filming, 20th Century Fox announced plans for a sequel with a scheduled release date of July 14, 2017. Fox then rescheduled the release for June 2, 2017, with War for the Planet of the Apes taking its place on the July 14, 2017, slot. It changed the release date again to June 9, 2017, to be two weeks after Star Wars: The Last Jedi's initial scheduled release date of May 26, 2017.
Due to Fantastic Four's poor box office performance, negative reviews, and poor home media sales, Pamela McClintock of The Hollywood Reporter said that it "throws into question whether Fox will move ahead with a sequel". Phil Hoad of The Guardian said it would "be interesting" to see if Fox proceeds with a sequel and if it keeps the "gritty-on-paper" tone, noting that if Fox did not produce another film by 2022, the rights would revert to Marvel Studios. Despite the performance, Fox still planned to produce a sequel, with Simon Kinberg working on the project. Drew McWeeny of HitFix said that while a sequel may not be produced in time for the 2017 release date, Fox would likely attempt to salvage the franchise, working with Trank's defined vision and adding adjustments to it. While Kinberg affirmed his intent to make a sequel, Kate Mara said that a sequel looked unlikely, despite expressing interest in reprising her role as Susan Storm. In September 2015, Tommy Wiseau expressed enthusiasm in directing a sequel, having personal admiration for the film.
The sequel was removed from Fox's release schedule in November 2015. In May 2016, Kinberg reaffirmed his intent to make another Fantastic Four film with the same cast. Later that month, Toby Kebbell stated he had no interest in reprising his role as Dr. Doom if a sequel were to happen. In August, both Miles Teller and Kate Mara said they were open to returning for a sequel. When asked by Collider whether they would make another Fantastic Four film, Kinberg answered: "I have no idea. I think the truth is we would not do another Fantastic Four movie until it was ready to be made. One of the lessons we learned on that movie is we want to make sure to get it 100% right, because we will not get another chance with the fans".
Matthew Vaughn has expressed interest in directing a new version of Fantastic Four himself as an apology regarding the performance of 2015 version. Concept artist Alexander Lozano revealed that Trank's iteration of the Fantastic Four were considered for cameo appearances in Tim Miller's take on Deadpool 2.
Toby Kebbell said that he would only be interested in returning to the role of Doctor Doom if he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Kebbell added: "Truth is, Doom is an incredible bad guy. They just keep trying to force him into the Fantastic Four... Doom is a monster, but you know my Doom was not, so there's that".Stan Lee (co-creator of the Fantastic Four) also expressed interest in the Fantastic Four, as well as the X-Men, returning to Marvel Studios: "We should have all of our characters under Marvel. Remind me on my way home to do something about that. We'll do our best". However, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stated in June 2017 that there were no plans of adding the Fantastic Four to the MCU at that time.
In December 2017, Marvel Studios' parent company, The Walt Disney Company, agreed to acquire 20th Century Fox's parent company, 21st Century Fox. Disney's CEO Bob Iger said that they planned to integrate the Fantastic Four into the MCU. The merger was completed by March 20, 2019, and as a result, the film rights reverted to Marvel Studios. At the 2019 Marvel Studios San Diego Comic-Con Hall H presentation, Feige announced that a Fantastic Four film which is set in the MCU is in development. By December 2020, Jon Watts, director of the MCU films Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, was attached to direct the film, but later stepped down from the project in April 2022, citing the need to take a break from comic book and superhero films.
It was revealed in late August that Wandavision director Matt Shakman was in talks to direct the film and then was later confirmed to be directing at the 2022 D23 event. It was also revealed that Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer were hired to write the script with Josh Friedman revealed in March 2023 to be a new writer on the script.
Fantastic Four is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 2, 2025, as the first film of Phase Six of the MCU. Feige confirmed that the film would not be an origin story, a decision compared to that of Spider-Man: Homecoming.Miles Teller said that he would return as Mister Fantastic in another Fantastic Four film "if the script is good".
^Hadden, James (July 31, 2017). "Exclusive: Mads Mikkelsen Interested In Playing DOCTOR DOOM". ScreenGeek. Archived from the original on November 3, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017. I didn't walk out. When I left it, I was just like – this is crazy. I don't even have long arms. What am I doing in here? The audition was only about long arms. No lines. I felt a little funny.