Fantastic Four Conspiracy: Is Marvel’s CEO Trying To Hinder Fox’s Movie Plans?

Published 11 months ago by , Updated July 10th, 2014 at 1:28 pm,

Fantastic Four Marvel Zombies Fantastic Four Conspiracy: Is Marvels CEO Trying To Hinder Foxs Movie Plans?

At New York Toy Fair in February, merchandise tied to 2014 Marvel-branded movie releases earned major buzz and plenty of headlines from movie and collector blogs and mainstream press. We saw toy props, Hasbro action figures and LEGO sets – among other goodies – for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. For X-Men: Days of Future Past, there was practically nothing.

The same story holds true for 2011′s X-Men: First Class, the previous franchise team-up installment; First Class and its successful followup in Days of Future Past got some Minimates figures from Diamond Select – and that was it. There are Hasbro Marvel Legends X-Men figures coming later this year, but none tied to the latest film.

Perhaps the tonally darker X-Men movies are simply less appealing to kids and merchandisers compared to their Avengers and Spider-Man counterparts, or perhaps it’s something more. Go to the official website and click the movies tab. Marvel is promoting its own Marvel Studios projects because they don’t own the film rights to the X-Men. Twentieth Century Fox owns that license alongside the Fantastic Four - just like Sony owns Spider-Man.

The odd scattering of properties dates back to the ’90s when, during a time of bankruptcy, Marvel sold off film licenses to most of their library. The company has since reacquired most of their properties, aside from the key aforementioned flagship brands. [See a full breakdown of character ownership HERE.]


The Fantastic Four Conspiracy

fantastic four 2015 reboot details Fantastic Four Conspiracy: Is Marvels CEO Trying To Hinder Foxs Movie Plans?

Because of the reality that key characters are still outside Marvel’s cinematic grasp, reports this week are painting a potentially dark picture for the comic books behind these movie franchises. Bleeding Cool reveals that Marvel Comics is planning to end (or put on hiatus) Fantastic Four and its Ultimate Fantastic Four counterpart later this year. The characters can still appear in other books and crossover events, but their two series will not be in print – if insider info proves true.

Why would Marvel do such a thing during the 75th anniversary of Marvel Comics, just as the Fantastic Four movie reboot enters production? Well, the answer is in the question, and it’s because Marvel’s high-ups may not want to promote the competition; according to Bleeding Cool’s insiders, Marvel is attempting to spotlight its own properties that are getting eventual film treatment, like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Inhumans. They claim that when it comes to internal promotion, it’s these books getting pushed more than the popular X-titles (which consistently sell well), and as for crossover events, the X-Men will only get some titles if shared with other teams (i.e. AXIS – the upcoming Avengers/X-Men event this fall).

In a followup article, Bleeding Cool added credence to the bigger picture issue this presents. Fantastic Four imagery was apparently taken down at Marvel HQ and an artist claims that they were instructed by Marvel not to use “FF characters or supporting cast such as Dr Doom, Galactus, Surfer, Skrulls etc” when it came to sketches for the 75th anniversary. Another artist backed the claims up, submitting an instruction sheet (check it out here) from Marvel which read, “all Marvel characters related to Fantastic Four are now off limits and will be immediately rejected by Marvel.” It even listed the characters that couldn’t be used. Even Fantastic Four-related assets have been reportedly been taken down by Marvel, so that promotional partners and licensors can’t access them.

So, is Marvel actually attempting to push away the Fantastic Four to minimize promotion of Fox’s in-development FF movie reboot?

fantastic four movie reboot release date 2015 Fantastic Four Conspiracy: Is Marvels CEO Trying To Hinder Foxs Movie Plans?

Comic Book Resources stepped in and confirmed with their own inside sources that indeed, a “hiatus” was/is being planned for Fantastic Four books – but with all this bad buzz resulting from this revelation, these plans could of course change. The timing of such a hiatus is indeed odd, given the summer 2015 release plans for the Fantastic Four movie.

A third report from Bleeding Cool claims from additional multiple sources that all of this may be down to the decisions of Marvel Comics CEO Isaac Perlmutter, who allegedly has an issue with seeing Marvel Comics give free promotion to Fox’s work, hence the minimizing of new X-Men characters and promotion, and plans to put a stop to the Fantastic Four.

You can pile together hearsay, rumors and reports from recent years which saw Marvel try to get back Galactus and Silver Surfer in exchange for an extension on Daredevil rights – a case where Fox wouldn’t play ball. Some even say that scene-stealer Quicksilver was added to X-Men: Days of Future Past instead of the originally intended Juggernaut character as a shot towards Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, since it’s also attempting to introduce a version of Quicksilver. That’s all circumstance and may not mean anything, but the idea that Marvel isn’t in the business of promoting Fox properties is absolutely true.

Update: Oddly enough, Fantastic Four’s director Josh Trank was just tapped by Disney to helm a standalone Star Wars movie which effectively may remove him from the director’s chair of Fantastic Four 2 which is already scheduled for 2017.


Next: The Marvel 75th Anniversary Issue


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  1. I understand-like said in thd comments-that Marvel won’t promote properties they don’t own on the big screen,it’s their right and it’s completely logical.I am actually waiting for the day when all Marvel belongs to one studio.
    Visiting their website,I did find it low on the FF,but not on the X-Men,you can find their movie titles at the very bottom of the page.
    However,to apply the competition(if there is any)to the books,I consider that a stupid, immature move.Yes the FF are not doing well in both movies and books,but minimising characters loved by the fans won’t make Fox give back the FF to Marvel,in fact it will make them more stubborn in making an even better movie,especially that they are doing a very impressive job with X-Men.
    Now the part I liked most in this article is the possibility of a Spidey crossover,and if someone is to be attacked,it should be Sony for their not-so-good Spider-man reboot.

    • SOrry, but one really good movie does not a good job make. The fact is Fox has, on the whole, done a very bad job. Most ppl know better than to think that 1 good flick like DoFP suddenly makes Fox “good” with the X-Men property. It just isn’t true.

      You then trash Sony with their work on Spider Man. Question for you: good films or not, both (reboot) Spidey movies have made north of $700 Million; name an X-Men movie that’s come within, oh say, even 200 Million of those numbers. Answer is none, squat, zilch!
      SO then, who’s doing a “good job”? So far, not Fox, that’s for sure.

      Fox could continue righting the ship. DoFP was a great step in the right direction, but even it won’t end up in the 700 Million range, maybe not even 600. 3rd weekend is coming, it’s already down to #2 at the Box Office & the next blockbusters are sliding into position. What they’re doing now is great, following up with Apocalypse, plans for standalone films…but they should’ve been doing this years ago.

      Sony, on the other hand, may not be making Spidey flicks you like, but they’re killing it at the box office & have made a total of 5 Spidey flicks in the last 12 years, with plans for 2 more already & spin-offs.

      Fox needs to either amp it up &/or share the rights or, better yet, sell the rights back to Marvel. Marvel is where they all belong.

  2. This is brilliant. Capitalism at it’s finest.

    • “This is brilliant. Capitalism at it’s finest.” = Albee

      Please share with the class which “ism” would make it all better? Its business….. grow up.

  3. Rob, I do agree with you that it’s shady that none of the X Men or FF are on the 75th anniversary cover.

  4. Ssshhhh! Don’t say it out loud, don’t you remember Marvel can do no wrong?

  5. I guess this will teach Fox a lesson for bailing Marvel out of bankruptcy by buying IP they couldn’t use anyway and making an impression in the global box office with their X movies, paving the way for general audiences eating up anything super-hero-y, helping Marvel to make a billion dollar film industry.

    Shame on Marvel I say. Yeah give the rights back to Marvel. And Marvel should give everything they got from the time Fox bought the X rights to Fox, cause none of it would have happened with out the X-Men films.

    • Do you really think FOX buying the rights to X-Men and FF had anything to do with “helping” Marvel? Don’t kid yourself, they were looking for potential franchise material and nothing more. Considering the monumental lack of respect from FOX for some of Marvel’s properties, I don’t blame them at all for trying to distance themselves from FOX in favor of promoting their own studio endeavors.

      • Marvel was circling the drain financially when they sold the film rights to the various film companies that have had them for the past twenty years, and they had rented them out previously anyway so it was nothing new.

      • No one is suggesting that Fox bought the rights out of alturism or spirit of charity. The point is that the X-Men franchise has helped Marvel become what it is today.

        • Yes, actually, the OP was suggesting some sort of altruistic agenda on FOX’s part when he stated they were “bailing Marvel out of bankruptcy.” I would say that Sony’s Spider-Man films did more to strengthen Marvel’s brand than the X-Men films. Besides that, FOX hasn’t done Marvel ANY favors with their treatment of the Fantastic Four. Which is, ultimately, what this article is about.

    • I would say it was the first Blade movie that helped studios move forward with other Marvel movies.

      Also, comic book movies were around much before X-Men (and Blade). Admittedly, not as successful on the same scale – production and/or box office (other than say the first Batman).

  6. It still gets me as to why FOX wanted to keep F4 I mean the 2 films together didnt set the world alight then the cast was announced and across the board no one is liking it so far and I think it will bomb especially in a crowded summer 2015.

  7. It’s idiotic to mess with the characters in that way, just because the other studio is doing well with the films. If they had done that in the 90′s, we wouldn’t have had such a great story as Onslaught, just to name one.

    On the other hand, it might be the case that Marvel knows that the f4 Crap is likely to fail and they don’t want the comic to pay the bill.

  8. I’d hate to think that Marvel was actually this petty. Don’t they realize that most people have no clue who owns what film franchises? And that the better these films do, the better it is for everyone?

    Hell, there are still probably a few people wondering when Batman and Spider-Man will be a movie together and when Superman and Thor will team up.

  9. Hmm, a Marvel 75th anniversary just seems weird without the FF. Bad move on their part.

    I for one like the diffusion of titles to other film companies. I don’t think those films have been bad at all AND we would never gotten the Avengers and these so-called ‘second tier heroes’ if Marvel had to push out Spidey and X-Men. And whose to say that Marvel would have made any of those movies any better. Marvel – or is it Disney – seem to just be acting d***kish about this whole thing. They make money when these other movies succeed so why would they shoot themselves in the foot.

    Unfortunately, Marvel/Disney is proving to be a tough company to work for.

    • Yeah, it’s a good thing to have multiple companies working on Marvel-based films. Marvel Studios can only release a limited number of movies, a maximum of three I suppose. But with Fox and Sony adding yet another annual flick, we end up with 4-5 Marvel-based movies every year.

      Apart from that, X-Men is the far better movie series IMO… The Avengers films are gppd, but nothing more than B+ material (in school grades)… The X-Men team-up movies are A+ IMO (with Wolverine’s solo flicks being rather dull so far)…

  10. My initial reactions:

    -Not surprised Marvel Comics is promoting its film properties, but to cancel the FF and exclude them from 75th anniversary promotions is really pettty and unfair to the fans of the FF

    -Hope the rumours of Spider-Man coming home are true, that would be epic.

    • one more:

      -I’m looking forward to the movie, but seeing the Guardians of the Galaxy on that magazine cover is just plain weird..

    • Come now boys, Disney is just teaching you Business 101: How to kill the competition.

  11. The gross mismanagement of Marvel in the 1990′s is what facilitated most of these movie rights to be sold because they were strapped for cash, but people have to remember the rights had been sold before because Marvel was just a publishing house and had no clue about producing films or television. It was the attempt to branch out into other areas that overextended the company in the first place and whatever current resurgence is occurring due to the films and cross branding with video games, toys, etc. probably will not last if history is any indicator.

    It make sense for Marvel to heavily promote the properties they still have full control over, but as a part of Disney I can see how they would want to limit the amount of free advertising they give to the properties that other studios currently own the movie right to. Aside from the notion that Disney might only push family-friendly fare that is easier to market what people have to realize is that Disney is a notoriously predatory company that likes to have a death grip on their market share.

    They will push the characters they do not own to the back if they think it means hurting the other studios profile as it relates to selling their movies. And now that they own Star Wars they will have another product they can use to dominate movie screens during the summer to compete with their competitors. The thing is the comic book print and movie sales will hit a valley eventually and everything that has been overused or devalued will either have to be built back up or some new material will need to be created. Judging by what is coming out lately the latter will be very difficult for these big companies and Disney always has a huge library of in-house properties and public domain works to draw from.

  12. Theres something about Fantastic Four…

    Like when they were NEVER introduced in any of the Marvel vs Capcom series games.
    but Dr Doom and Galactus were…

  13. Marvel/ Disney lawyers are reading SR commentaries too you know

  14. There were figures for last years Wolverine movie. There are TONS of Spiderman figures and that isn’t Disney either.

  15. I would add to the “conspiracy” the fact tgat they are killing off their most popular x-man.. Wolverine this summer.

  16. From a biz standpoint I get it. Disney/marvels owns these characters (xmen,spiderman etc) at thr toy line and cartoons lvls, they just dont have the live action feature film rights. So they could make toy tie ins of fox movies but then thry would have to split profits with fox for using characters, concepts etc directly related to the feature film rights. So thats why u still see the typical “comicbook” version of xmen toys but not the movie versions.. Given a choice its clear marvel would push the properties it owns and toys related to it because it dosent have to share any of the profits from sales.

  17. Please talk about this on the podcast! I’d love to hear you all discussing this.

  18. Blah blah blah… Fox Marvel movies suck anyway. Ppl don’t want to pay for merchandise of a property that was f*cked up from the get go that they had to make a time traveling movie in order to fix them. Why would any sane person think that Marvel should pay a bill for a mess they didn’t create? At the end of the day Marvel is the one to lose out on the money anyway. Don’t you think they get paid for their property from Fox and Sony?

    • i’d bet that whatever additional money they get from the films is paltry at best. they got paid up front for the rights in perpetuity, and they may get a tiny fraction of something only because they get their logo in the opening, but i don’t know. just a guess. if it was a bunch of money they would be promoting it more i’d think.

      • jeffro you may be correct. However since no one can see the future MARVEL probably struck up a contract that gave them a portion of the profit in merchandise and everything else for as long as the property is contractually owned by Sony and/or Fox.

  19. This is not a surprise or new Marvel have been de-emphasising the X-Men and putting their push behind the Avengers since they wiped out most of the mutants in House of M.
    Avengers went from a mid-tier title to their flagship when Bendis parachuted in Wolverine and Spider-man to up the starpower.

  20. “If true though, and there’s a growing mound of evidence that Marvel is actively minimizing the Fantastic Four, then it is petty and disappointing…”

    I don’t agree with this. It’s business and Fox has been basterdizing the soul of these properties for the past 15 years. A solid contingent of fans (well over 50%, I think) feel that Fox should have nothing to do with Marvel (although dofp definitely helped the perception).

    It wouldn’t suprise me at all if Marvel execs felt the same way. Some of the decisions Fox makes are mind boggling.

    And the whole casting side of FF…. every black person I know (and there’s a lot, comic book fans and otherwise) thinks having a black Johnny Storm is just plain stupid. Some even argue that it sets race inequality back even further…

    • +100

      You said it, I agree, it shall be made law.


  21. If Marvel doesn’t want to promote Fox’s properties by producing toys/cartoons etc they should sell the rights to do that to Fox, but their decision to remove all Xmen and FF from promotions indicates to me they don’t want the competition that could present. They could even try that with the comics (FF comics at least if Marvel doesn’t want to produce them) to let Fox produce or co-produce the comic-lines associated with their titles, that could really increase the synergy between the comics and films. I understand that it would be very difficult to agree on terms for something like that, and that could even further complicate things and make them worse… One of the highlights of Marvel comics is that all the properties exist in the same sandbox.

    When Disney bought Marvel they canceled the X-men cartoon and haven’t made any progress towards any new ones (those anime series don’t count) Its something that has frustrated me over the last few years is that I haven’t had any new X-men cartoons. Even though I’m almost 30 I’ve consistently watched every X-men cartoon, and while none of them have been up to the quality of the 90′s series I grew up with, the last one Wolverine and the X-men showed some good promise leading into it’s second season, but then Disney killed my childhood.

    I have been a customer of Marvel Unlimited for almost 2 years now, and I use that primarily (I’d say about 80%) for X-men related titles, but I may not renew at the end of the year because I don’t really like the direction Marvel is headed in. I’ve really enjoyed getting back into comics the last few years, and the service has been instrumental in doing so, I’m not sure how I could better indicate to Marvel my preferences than that.

    I am just loosing respect for the way that Marvel has operated since being bought by Disney. I’d say only Cap 2 has lived up to or been better than its predecessor (Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 were inferior) Avengers 2 is still up in the air… I just wish there could be more cooperation between Fox-Marvel-Sony…

  22. I’m in the camp that doesn’t care and thinks that it’s ridiculous to think that this is true. I mean, there are at least 10 different X-Men comics going right now.

    The Fantastic Four comic sells less than 40,000 issues a month, which in no way would be a dent that will do anything to the film property whatsoever.

  23. These ff xmen cancelling f**rs
    Your end has come
    Guardians and aou will fail
    Ca3 will be crushed by bvs
    Do u remember it was xmen who started the superhero fanatics again in 2000 after those horrendous superman 3 4 killed comic book movies
    How dare you don’t give any space to any single x men character on your cover
    U should compete with dc
    Not with your properties, marvel
    It’s like eating your own children
    Are you animals? Cos only they do it
    I was a marvel fanboy
    Not any more

    • It’s actually more like kicking your delinquent adult children out when they’re 23 and have spent most of the last 10 years embarassing you.

  24. Add, no Stan Lee cameos in Fox X-films after FF:RoSS, haven’t seen X:DoFP, so dunno about that, but I imagine he does not have one in it either, and them not being on the Marvel 75th anniversary cover, its just really sad for me.

  25. Don’t waste your time doing low-blow sabotage as far as the FF reboot is concerned, Marvel. That movie is gonna implode, crash, and burn on it’s own. And the writers will have no one to blame but themselves.

  26. This is the reason I’m glad Warner Bros. own DC.

    • Yeah, God bless WB that without having the problem of split movie rights has done the “amazing” job of doing only 5 DC movies in the last 10 years (Nolan trilogy, Green Lantern and Man of Steel)…

      There is plenty to b**** about Disney but I can’t see how this news triggers a praise to the lazy people at DC…

  27. A healthy co-operation between Sony and Marvel will be good for the Spider-Man movie franchise. The Spider-Man universe isn’t very large unlike the X-Men.

    I’d say beyond the battle against the Sinister Six, likely to be in Amazing Spiderman 4, Sony will need more appealing and interesting team ups to keep the franchise going.

    Having a Marvel-owned movie character or two make appearances in their Spidey movie universe will help keep fans’ and general audience’s interest alive for them to make more Spidey movies.

    And in return, Marvel may well get Spidey to appear in their Avengers team up.

  28. I prefer the separation of X-Men from MCU. Fox allows their X-Men movies to have somewhat more adult-esque themes, and I wouldn’t want them to follow the kid-friendly formula MCU movies (which is cool too). I like the different tones. Also, in the comics, X-Men felt like a separate world anyways despite the crossovers. I get the feeling they just want the rogues-gallery, especially the cosmic stuff, of the respective properties to pin against the Avengers.

    But yeah, this is pretty slimeball-y.

  29. This would be a great plot for a civil war movie, Fox v.s. Sony v.s. Disney/Marvel