PSA: 20th Century Fox Doesn’t Fully Own the ‘Fantastic Four’ Film Rights

Dec 12, 2017

Ever since Thanksgiving when the acquisition between Fox and Disney was first rumored many comic book fans were thrilled that this may mean we see the X-Men (currently the film right holders) team up with Marvel Studios The Avengers. This is a long time dream of many fans; with many wishing Fox sold the rights back to Marvel after many failed X-Men films include X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, as of late, the company has made some the greatest X-films to date including Logan, Deadpool and X-Men: Days of Future Past that many fans hoped they keep the rights. But what about their other comic book property the Fantastic Four?

Fox has distributed 3 released films regarding Marvel’s first family. Many assumed this meant that Fox owned the film rights to the characters but that’s not necessarily the case. In 1986 Constantin Films (The production company behind the Resident Evil franchise) purchased the film rights of the characters from Marvel Entertainment. They went on to produce 1 unreleased Fantastic Four film in 1994 with New Horizon Studios. They then struck a deal with 20th Century Fox in 2004 to distribute any upcoming films regarding the Fantastic Four.¬†That included 2005’s Fantastic Four, 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and 2015’s The Fantastic Four.

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So while this acquisition will include the X-Men returning home to Marvel Studios that doesn’t mean the Fantastic Four and its secondary characters will also. Other characters in the contract included such major characters as Galactus, Doctor Doom and the Silver Surfer. But many readers may remember the deal Marvel almost struck with Fox regarding a rebooted Daredevil film.

In 2012 before Marvel used Daredevil on Netflix; Fox was hard at work rebooting the character in a 1970’s gritty crime drama. According to reports (via Deadline), time was running out on the Daredevil contract that if it didn’t begin production the rights would revert back to Marvel. So, Marvel Studios reached out to Fox and offered an ultimatum. They would extend the time on the contract for Fox to make Daredevil in exchange for Galactus and the Silver Surfer.¬† A character director James Gunn has stated he wanted to introduce into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even writing a treatment for a Silver Surfer movie in 1999 (via Facebook). Howerver, Fox reject the offer and Daredevil reverted back to Marvel.

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So Fox must inadvertently hold some type of control of the Fantastic Four rights along with Constantin Films. However, we may never know how this will effect the Disney/Fox acquisition until Marvel Studios announces a rebooted X-Men/Fantastic Four movie is in the works. Only time will tell…

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