Marvel and DC aren’t the only ones with major superhero franchises; 20th Century Fox has the movie rights to both the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, and in the past 12 months they’ve pushed hard to turn their little corner of the Marvel pie into its own expansive world. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Pamela McClintock, the film studio’s President of Production Emma Watts spoke about the numerous potential blockbusters it has on deck for the next two years, including 2015’s The Fantastic Four reboot and 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Those two movies will join a jam-packed schedule of superhero films from Marvel, DC, and elsewhere, but Watts says talk of a “superhero burnout” are overblown.
“Not so far. 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,” Watts said. “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.”
When asked if The Fantastic Four will have some of the “found-footage feel” of Chronicle, Watts said “it can’t not have that feel” given Trank worked on both.
“That's his talent, that's what he does, and that's what excites him about it,” explained the executive. “It is a really interesting young cast, and he is the magnet that's brought them all together.”
Talk also turned to another director – arguably the most successful in the comics-to-film business – Bryan Singer. Singer returned to the X-Men franchise this year with X-Men: Days of Future Past, but scandalous sexual abuse accusations and lawsuits saw the famed writer/director drop out of the spotlight during promotion of the film. Some have argued that Singer might be dropped from directing the aforementioned sequel, despite not being convicted of any crimes as of yet, but Watts said her goal is to keep him.
“It was really tough for him. Luckily, we had 18 mutants to get out there and sell the movie. But I think he did what had to be done,” Watts said. “Right now we are totally at the outlining phase. But nothing would make me happier than if it all worked out. It's always been the intention for him to do it.”