Marvel Comic’s Fantastic Four first made its way on the big screen back in 2005, with the movie starring Chris Evans, Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd and Michael Chiklis. While the first entry in the the franchise became a commercial success, the film’s sequel, titled Rise of the Silver Surfer, didn’t do as well as its predecessor. Over 15 years later, the sequel’s director Tim Story reflects on how his movie underperformed at the box office.
When the first film of a franchise does so well, you think that success will continue in many of the future movies that follow. Sadly, that’s not always the case. While promoting his comedy slasher The Blackening to Insider, Tim Story reflected on Fantastic Four- Rise of the Silver Surfer not being the box office success the first film was, saying:
I don't know if I'd call it going wrong. I think I made a movie that I'm extremely proud of. And so, what you find is that, in those things, as I've been a part of other sequels and part of franchises, you have to just keep making them and make them the way you want to see them. And when and if an audience comes out, they do. If they don't... What I've done many times in my career is, I always make stuff that I like and you cross your fingers that you find your audience.
It’s good that Tim Story stayed true to his vision, even if the superhero franchise didn’t work out well for him. After all, audiences can be very unpredictable in terms of the latest movie releases that appeal to them. Fantastic Four did a great job on its first weekend with $56.1 million. Box Office Mojo reported that it grossed a booming total of $333.5 million. It’s understandable why audiences were so interested in seeing the first movie, as it was the superhero foursome’s film debut (not counting the unreleased 1994 movie).
The box office numbers for 2007’s Rise of the Silver Surfer ended up being a different story. This superhero sequel’s weekend box office got off to a great start making $58 million, $2 million more than its predecessor. But by its second weekend, the Marvel sequel dropped 66%, and then 54% by its third weekend. In total, Rise of the Silver Surfer grossed $301.9 million, more than $30 million less than Fantastic Four. While a third movie was originally on the rise, it ended up getting scrapped, which led to the Fantastic Four franchise becoming kaput for a while.
When Tim Story was asked by Insider about the scrapped three-quel, he said “a regime change” ruined plans and he had no control over the outcome. It’s hard to know what Story meant by that, but according to Looper, one speculation could have been that 2008 changed the superhero genre when Iron Man premiered. The Robert Downey Jr.-led film led to a number of box office-dominating movies that followed the team members of The Avengers. After that, it didn’t seem like there was a real need for a Fantastic Four movie to bring superhero fans into theaters. Plus, I’m sure the box office numbers didn’t help motivate the push for a third movie.
In 2015, there was an attempt to resurrect the Fantastic Four with a reboot that featured a superpowered cast of Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell. Unfortunately, the superhero reboot lost an incredible amount of money, only grossing $167.9 million and lost $80 million. 20th Century Fox also planned on making a sequel for this movie too, but its poor box office numbers led to that being scrapped as well. But hope is not lost yet on the superhero quartet. The MCU will have its own Fantastic Four film coming to theaters in 2025. So far, we know it’ll be part of the Phase Six slate, following after Phase Five-capper Blade, and WandaVision’s Matt Shakman will be directing. Let’s cross our fingers that the MCU will take good care of this team of superheroes.
Rise of the Silver Surfer’s Tim Story doesn’t appear too heartbroken that his movie underperformed at the box office. Considering he has his sneaky box office success film The Blackening, which also did well critically, the Fantastic Four sequel may just be a movie he can look back on and accept that it just didn’t work out. With the MCU taking the reins for the Fantastic Four franchise, we’ll see how it can improve a franchise that just hasn’t had its share of good luck. You can watch Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer with your Disney+ subscription.