Rupert Wyatt reveals that the failure of Josh Trank's The Fantastic Four movie negatively affected Gambit. The filmmaker is one of a slew of directors attached to the project at one point or another, the others being Doug Liman and Gore Verbinski. However, it remains without a director as plans for it are put on hold in light of Disney's upcoming acquisition of Fox's TV and film assets.
Starring Channing Tatum as the titular character, the film has been in-development since May 2014 after the actor officially signed on to play the role. Originally scheduled to release in 2016, that release date has been pushed back repeatedly with the latest schedule positioning it to hit theaters in March 2020. As it turns out, Gambit's initial delay was caused by the poor reception to Trank's The Fantastic Four reboot starring Miles Teller (Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm/Human Torch), Kate Mara (Sue Storm/Invisible Woman) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm/The Thing).
Speaking with The Beat, Wyatt shared details about the development of Gambit, which was progressing smoothly back in 2015. But 10 weeks in, their budget was significantly decreased after The Fantastic Four tanked at the box office. The 2015 reboot only earned $186 million worldwide against a $155 million production budget (an estimated $200 million including marketing and distributing costs). This made it difficult for Wyatt and the team involved, especially with its filming date inching near.
"I was very close with Channing Tatum and his producing partner Reid Carolin, and I was on the script with him and Josh Zetumer as a writer. We were close, I believe 10 weeks away. It simply came down to budget. There was not enough. You know all too well about the politics of the business. Fantastic Four had been released by Fox a month before and had not gone well for them, so our budget was slashed quite considerably. The inevitable, from my perspective was, ‘Well then we need to rewrite the script to tailor to our budget,’ but we were too close to a start date for Fox to really want to go there, so unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.”
Despite no longer being associated with the movie, Wyatt has nothing but good things to say about Tatum's plans for Gambit, and he continues to hope it will finally push through once character rights return to Marvel following Disney's acquisition of Fox. “All I know is Channing had a really, really wonderful idea for what that film could and should be. I know he and Reid are still plugging away at it, so I hope in the new Disney era, that then they get to make it,” he said. Not much is known regarding the narrative specifics for Gambit but long-time X-Men film producer and Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg teased last year that the movie will have a "romantic or sex comedy vibe." This will nicely fit with Tatum's repertoire, having played the lead in a few of romantic movies.
Considering how passionate Tatum has been about the Gambit movie, it's a shame it was affected by the disappointment of a totally unrelated project. Based on Wyatt's comments, it seems like the actor has a solid idea on how to tackle the character thanks to being a massive fan of it, and if Fox had let him and his team move forward with that vision, then they may have had another hit X-Men tie-in franchise on their hands similar to Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool. In hindsight, the Merc With A Mouth's movie may have suffered a similar fate had it not been for the leaked test footage everybody loved.
As of now, it's unclear how Marvel Studios will tackle the X-Men properties they will soon acquire following Disney's deal with Fox. But perhaps since Tatum's Gambit film never really took off, Kevin Feige will be more open to discussing what the plans are for the film and hopefully it can come to fruition on the big screen.
Source: The Beat
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020