Though X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine were both successful - they made around $400 million worldwide against $160 and $120 million budgets, respectively - X-Men: Days of Future Past has made nearly $700 million so far and is being hailed as one of the best X-Men films ever made (if not the best).
Basically, Fox couldn't have asked for a better start to their new endeavor into superhero films, which may still include a shared universe between their two biggest superhero properties: the X-Men and The Fantastic Four.
Fox's president of production, Emma Watts spoke with THR in their most recent issue about the studio's future, which involves both superhero properties. She discussed what's next for the X-Men franchise - including director Bryan Singer's potential involvement - and what we can expect from Josh Trank's The Fantastic Four.
Watts commented on Days of Future Past's overwhelming success, which she credits almost entirely to bringing Singer back as a director. Citing the ongoing debate over original titles and rehashing old material, Watts said it all comes down to the director:
It was the management of the franchise. And a big part of it was getting Bryan [Singer] back [as director]. The debate about originality versus familiar titles is interesting. You can have original movies that feel derivative in their execution, and you can have franchise titles that feel solely original and aspirational in terms of the talent attached, the story, et cetera. So I think the reason for 'Days of Future Past's success is, it doesn't underestimate what the audience is wanting or capable of enjoying.
Obviously, Fox wants to keep their most profitable franchise under that same management, and Watts confirms it is their intention for Singer to return and direct X-Men: Apocalypse. "Right now we are totally at the outlining phase," Watts said, "but nothing would make me happier than if it all worked out. It's always been the intention for him to do it."
Only recently there was some speculation Fox was looking for a new director given the controversy currently surrounding Singer, but the studio appears supportive of the director. And when he's able to deliver a hit like Days of Future Past, it's easy to see why.
Onto their next gamble, Watts said she isn't too worried about audiences being burnt out on superheroes before The Fantastic Four release in 2015:
Certainly, the audience seems to still be really enjoying it. We're making a big bet for 2015 with 'The Fantastic Four' and director Josh Trank. To me, the key is the originality of the filmmakers and the choices they make. Josh is another really interesting example, who is using the vision he gave us in 'Chronicle' to reinvent a franchise he's loved his whole life. It's not that you can't make original ideas - you can, and we did it with 'Chronicle.' The director is the key to not letting superhero movies go stale. That's the truth.
There she goes again, reiterating the importance of having a director with vision to ensure your superhero movies please fans and general audiences alike. Watts also hinted that we could see the found footage style Trank used so effectively in Chronicle appearing in The Fantastic Four as well. "It's Josh, so it can't not have that feel," said Watts, "That's his talent, that's what he does, and that's what excites him about it."
We've already heard The Fantastic Four will be a coming-of-age story from the film's screenwriter, Simon Kinberg, and actor Tim Nelson claims the script has "as much soul as it does action," but this is the first mention of it adapting the found footage style of Chronicle. This isn't to say the entire film will be presented in such a way - that would a HUGE gamble, indeed - but it's possible the filming style could be incorporated in the accident that grants the team their powers or perhaps when the characters are first testing them out.
What do you think of Emma Watts comments about the future of the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises? Would you like to see Bryan Singer return to direct X-Men: Apocalypse? And could the found footage style of filmmaking be effective in The Fantastic Four? Let us hear what you think in the comments below!
The Fantastic Four releases June 19, 2015. X-Men: Apocalypse is expected on May 27th, 2016.