The Betting Table: Summer Edition - This Week: Fantastic Four 2
by Barry Wurst
June 16, 2007
Welcome to The Betting Table, a look at the weekend's theatrical fare and a place where you can place your bets on what will swim and what will sink.
Jessica Alba... and three other people from the 2005 blockbuster, Fantastic Four, are back, along with director Tim Story. Comic book fave the Silver Surfer is both the protagonist and antagonist (that’s good guy/bad guy, in layman's terms), along with Julian McMahon returning as Dr. Doom.
THE GOOD NEWS:
For all the initial caveats fanboys had about the teaser trailer, the anticipation of seeing Silver Surfer in a feature film has been building. Word that fan favorites Doug Jones and Laurence Fishburne (as the body and voice, respectively) are portraying the Surfer has everybody talking. Then of course, there's Alba, the guy from Amazing Grace, the other guy from "Nip/Tuck" and, most importantly, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis, who both stole the first Fantastic Four. It certainly has to be better than the first movie and director Story insists there's a lot more special effects, action and... oh, yeah, a story! Even with the bad reviews and possibly mixed word of mouth, this one is critic-proof.
THE BAD NEWS:
The first one stunk - die hard Fantastic Four fans despised the changes the screenplay made from the comic book, while non-fans were taken aback that an edgy-looking teaser (from a famously complex, beloved comic book) was really a front for a tame, silly, kid-friendly, lazily written popcorn movie, with very few action scenes (and a dud of a climax). The film was a big hit anyway, but it stood out as a 4th of July release (the same way Transformers will open huge the same weekend, regardless of quality). The follow-up is yet another sequel, and from a movie not widely loved (or even liked). The reviews have been unkind, so adult audiences won't help. If this ends up worse than Fantastic Four, it could have an embarrassing opening like Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, that ends a franchise in one weekend.
Kids are big on the first one (and the likely culprits of the $154 million box office) and will turn out for this one in droves, with a PG-rating, effective toy marketing, and a short running time being a magnetic draw. Captain Jack burn-out, a mild push for Nancy Drew and a likely drop for Danny Ocean all but guarantee this will be #1 over the weekend. Only the Saturday night sneak peaks of Ratatouille will take a nibble out of Mr. Fantastic's opening gross.
PLACE YOUR BETS:
Rise of the Silver Surfer won't top or match the record breaking $56 million the first Fantastic Four made in '05, but a strong $45 million opener is a good bet... unless all those Nancy Drew fans come out of hiding, storm theaters nationwide in droves, sell-out every screening, give every Harry Potter fan a serious beating, then lead a march for world domination. It could happen.
Please don't actually place bets with money, just discuss what this weekend's box office may do!