Fox has quietly removed the sequel to this year’s “Fantastic Four” from their release schedule, leaving the future of the franchise in question.
The finding was reported by Box Office Mojo, which noticed the film was absent from Fox’s release lineup. It had previously been announced for a June 9, 2017 premiere.
The studio has yet to comment officially on the matter and while the cancellation of the sequel would not be surprising—rumors of pulling the project have circulated since the week after the reboot's disappointing debut—the possibility remains that the studio simply needs more time to pick up the pieces of their shattered franchise.
Canceling the film would go against what Fox’s chief of domestic distribution, Chris Aronson, insisted earlier in the year to THR saying “While we’re disappointed, we remain committed to these characters and we have a lot to look forward to in our Marvel universe.“
“Our Marvel universe” would seem to imply that they’re in no hurry to jettison the film rights to Marvel’s First Family, despite this being their third unsuccessful attempt to make it a series that sticks.
Writer and producer Simon Kinberg was also quoted in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival in September saying that “We’re figuring out what that [“Fantastic Four” sequel] movie would be,” giving credence to the idea that the studio is taking more time to strategize.
2015’s “Fantastic Four” only grossed a pitiable $56 million domestically and $167 million worldwide with a reported budget of $120 million. The sequel was greenlit by the studio before the reboot’s premiere, so if the film were cancelled it would be the final statement of failure for a franchise that Fox was sure would be a hit.