Fantastic Four (2005 film)

Fantastic Four (sometimes stylized as Fantastic 4) is a 2005 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name. It was directed by Tim Story, and released by 20th Century Fox. The film stars Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon and Kerry Washington.

Fantastic Four
The Four; Mr. Fantastic ,The Thing ,The Invisible Woman and The Human Torch are standing with their uniforms on the circled number "4" below them ,and the film's title, credits and release date underneath them.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTim Story
Written by
Based on
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyOliver Wood
Edited byWilliam Hoy
Music byJohn Ottman
Production
companies
Distributed by20th Century Fox[2]
Release date
  • July 8, 2005 (2005-07-08)
Running time
106 minutes[3]
Country
  • United States[1]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$87.5-100 million[4][5]
Box office$333.5 million[4]

This was the second live-action Fantastic Four film to be filmed. A previous attempt, titled The Fantastic Four, was a B-movie produced by Roger Corman that ultimately went unreleased. Fantastic Four was released in the United States on July 8, 2005. It received mixed to negative reviews but was a commercial success. A sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, was released in 2007. A reboot was released in 2015.

PlotEdit

Dr. Reed Richards, a bankrupt physicist, is convinced evolution was triggered millions of years ago on earth by clouds of cosmic energy in space, and has calculated that one of these clouds is soon going to pass near Earth. Together with his friend, astronaut Ben Grimm, Reed convinces Dr. Victor Von Doom, CEO of Von Doom Industries, to allow him access to his space station to test the effects of exposure to the cloud on biological samples. Von Doom agrees, in exchange for control over the experiment and a majority of the profits from whatever benefits it brings. He brings aboard his chief genetics researcher (and Reed's ex-girlfriend) Susan Storm and her reckless brother Johnny Storm, a young astronaut.

The quintet travels to space to observe the cosmic energy clouds, but Reed has miscalculated and the clouds materialize well ahead of schedule. Reed, Susan, and Johnny leave the shielded station to rescue Ben who has gone on a space-walk to place the samples, and Victor closes the shield behind them. Ben receives full exposure out in space, while the others receive a more limited dose. They return home but soon begin to develop strange powers. Reed is able to stretch like rubber; Susan can become invisible and create force fields, especially when angered; Johnny can engulf himself in fire and is able to fly; and Ben is transformed into a large, rock-based creature with superhuman strength and durability. Victor meanwhile faces a backlash from his stockholders due to the publicity from the failed mission.

Ben returns home to see his fiancée Debbie, but she cannot handle his new appearance and flees in fear. He goes to brood on Brooklyn Bridge and accidentally causes a traffic pile-up while stopping a man from committing suicide. The four use their various powers to contain the damage and prevent anyone from being hurt. While the public cheer them for their efforts, Ben sees his fiancée leave her engagement ring on the ground and run. Reed hands a heartbroken Ben the ring and vows to find a way to turn him back to normal. The media dubs them "The Fantastic Four" for their efforts. Victor watches the news story and is told that his company is lost now. The four move into Reed's lab in the Baxter Building to study their abilities. Victor offers his support in their efforts but blames Reed for the mission's failure, the lights flickering as he grows enraged.

Reed tells the group he will construct a machine to re-create the storm and reverse its effect on their bodies, but warns it could possibly accelerate them instead. However, Johnny refuses to give up his powers and uses them to help him win extreme sports thus exposing Reed, Susan, and Ben's abilities to the public which leads to a small fight between him and Ben. Meanwhile, Victor continues to mutate, his arm turning into an organic metal and allowing him to produce bolts of electricity, and he begins plotting to use his new powers to take his revenge. Victor drives a wedge between Ben and Reed, resulting in Ben walking out in a rage. Susan soon scolds Johnny on how he is using his powers just to gain popularity. This motivates Reed to attempt the machine on himself, but he cannot generate the power needed to push the storm to critical mass. Victor hears Reed tell Susan this and has Ben brought to the lab. Ben is placed in the machine and Doom uses his abilities to produce the electricity needed to power it, turning Ben back to normal and accelerating Doom's condition, causing much of his body to turn to metal. Victor knocks Ben unconscious and kidnaps Reed.

Victor – now calling himself "Doom" – dons a metal mask to hide his physical deformities and tortures Reed using a super-cooling unit. Doom fires a heat-seeking missile at the Baxter Building to kill Johnny, and Johnny flies through the city to evade it, lighting a garbage barge on fire to trick it. Susan rushes to confront Doom as Ben begins to regret his decision to turn normal. Susan frees Reed and battles Doom but is outmatched - Ben arrives to save her, transformed into The Thing again by reusing the machine. The battle spills into the streets, and the four assemble to battle Doom. Johnny and Susan combine their powers to wrap Doom in an inferno of intense heat, and Ben and Reed douse him with cold water, inducing thermal shock and freezing Doom in place.

As an epilogue, Ben informs Reed that he has accepted his condition with the help of Alicia Masters, a blind artist for whom he has developed feelings, and the team decide to embrace their roles as superheroes and unite officially as the Fantastic Four. Reed proposes to Susan, who accepts and they share a kiss. Meanwhile, Doom's statuesque remains are being transported back to his homeland of Latveria when the dockmaster's electronic manifest briefly experiences electronic interference.

CastEdit

As in almost all of the previous Marvel Comics-based films, Fantastic Four co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance. He is Willie Lumpkin, the postal worker who greets the team on their way to the Baxter Building elevator.[6] Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Logan / Wolverine in a scene in which Reed Richards changes his face to resemble Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine in an attempt to woo Susan Storm; the scene was deleted from the theatrical cut of Fantastic Four and was restored in the "Extended Cut" of the film. Canadian broadcasters Terry David Mulligan and Ben Mulroney, and American broadcaster Lauren Sánchez make cameos as reporters.[7] Cameos during the X Games scenes include professional freestyle motocross riders Kenny Bartram and Brian Deegan, and reporter Jamie Little. David Parker and Pascale Hutton appeared as Ernie and Nightclub Girlfriend, respectively.

ProductionEdit

In 1983, German producer Bernd Eichinger met with Stan Lee at his home in Los Angeles to explore obtaining an option for a movie based on the Fantastic Four.[8] The option was not available until three years later, when Eichinger's Constantin Film company obtained it from Marvel Comics for a price the producer called "not enormous", and which has been estimated to be $250,000.[9] Warner Bros and Columbia Pictures showed interest, but were cautious of Eichinger's $40–45 million budget.[9][10] With the option scheduled to expire on December 31, 1992, Eichinger asked Marvel for an extension. With none forthcoming, Eichinger planned to retain his option by producing a low-budget Fantastic Four film, reasoning, he said in 2005, "They didn't say I had to make a big movie."[9] In 1992 he approached B-movie specialist Roger Corman on the idea of producing the film on a $5 million budget in order to keep the rights,[10] which he eventually decided to bring down to $1 million.[9] In 1994, the adaptation, titled The Fantastic Four, had its trailer released to theaters, and its cast and director went on a promotional tour, however the film was not officially released. The film was accused of being an ashcan copy, meaning it was only made to keep the license.[11] Lee and Eichinger stated that the actors had no idea of the situation, instead believing they were creating a proper release.[12] Marvel Comics paid in exchange for the film's negative, so 20th Century Fox could go ahead with the big-budget adaptation,[citation needed] as well as a possible spin-off film starring the Silver Surfer for summer 1998.[13]

Now under production by Avi Arad and Ralph Winter, Fox hired Chris Columbus to write and direct Fantastic Four in 1995.[14] He developed a screenplay with Michael France, but decided to step down as director and focus on producing Fantastic Four under his 1492 Pictures company. Peter Segal was hired to direct in April 1997,[13] and was replaced by Sam Weisman by the end of the year.[15] Fox brought in Sam Hamm to rewrite the script in April 1998[16] in an attempt to lower the $165 million projected budget.[13] In February 1999, with development taking longer than expected, Eichinger and Fox signed a deal with Marvel to extend the control of the film rights for another two years, with a summer 2001 release planned,[17] and hiring Raja Gosnell to direct.[18] However, Gosnell decided to do Scooby Doo instead and dropped out in October 2000.[19] He was replaced by Peyton Reed in April 2001[20] and Mark Frost was brought on board for another rewrite. Reed departed in July 2003,[21] explaining in 2015, "I developed it for the better part of a year with three different sets of writers. But it became clear after a while that Fox had a very different movie in mind and they were also chasing a release date … so we ended up parting company."[22] Reed's version was described as being influenced by A Hard Day's Night and intended to get Alexis Denisof as Reed Richards, Charlize Theron as Susan Storm, Paul Walker as Johnny Storm, John C. Reilly as Ben Grimm and Jude Law as Victor Von Doom.[23] Sean Astin was one of the candidates to direct the movie and he tried to secure the part of Susan Storm for either Christina Aguilera or Cameron Diaz.[24] His reasoning for wanting to direct it, despite never having directed a feature before nor read any of the comics, was that he wanted to step up in filmmaking and felt that doing a Fantastic Four film would allow him to leave a mark. Despite not getting the job, Tom Rothman was impressed with his determination and hoped to work with him on a future project.[25] Marvel met with Robert Downey Jr. about playing the role of Doctor Doom.[26]

Tim Story was signed to direct in April 2004, after Fox was impressed with his early cut of Taxi and that Story is a fan of the comics.[27][28][29] Simon Kinberg wrote uncredited drafts of the script.[30] After seeing The Incredibles, Eichinger was ordered to make significant script changes and add more special effects because of similarities.[31]

ReleaseEdit

MarketingEdit

The teaser trailer was shown at screenings of Elektra.[32] The American premiere of Fantastic Four was moved from July 1, 2005, to the week of July 8 to avoid competition with Steven Spielberg's motion picture War of the Worlds, during its first week.[33] Fantastic Four opened in 3,602 movie theaters in the United States, and increased to 3,619 theaters in the following week.[34]

Box officeEdit

Fantastic Four finished at the top position at the box office with $56.1 million from 3,602 theaters over its first weekend.[35] By the end of 2005, Fantastic Four had accumulated a gross income of $330.6 million, with $154.7 million of this coming in the United States.[4]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes Fantastic Four has an approval rating of 28% based on 214 reviews with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Marred by goofy attempts at wit, subpar acting, and bland storytelling, Fantastic Four is a mediocre attempt to bring Marvel's oldest hero team to the big screen."[36] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 40 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[37] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[38]

Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one star out of a possible four, describing the film as bogged down by exposition and lacking a compelling plot, with "underwhelming" characters and overall disappointing compared to better superhero films like Batman Begins (2005) or Spider-Man 2 (2004).[39] Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post noted that it was "a movie more based on character than plot" and "mostly an origins tale". He called it "a funky, fun film version of the famous Marvel superhero[s]" but was critical of the last twenty minutes.[40] Joe Leydon of Variety called the film "unpretentious" but also "wildly uneven".[41] James Berardinelli of ReelViews having been a fan of the comics, found the film disappointing saying "This movie is more like a B-grade comic book adaptation than the A-list production it should have been." Berardinelli praised Chiklis for a standout performance despite being buried in makeup: "Fantastic Four has its good points - there are individual scenes that work" and said there are "moments of surprise and excitement...but the tempo's off, beats are missed, and the production ends up sounding out-of-tune."[42] Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman described the film as "like something left over from the '60s" and compared it unfavorably to other contemporary films such as Spider-Man 2, Batman Begins, and The Incredibles. [43] The film has earned some warmer reevaluation due to the failure of the 2015 reboot film.[44][45][46][47][48]

AccoladesEdit

At the Saturn Awards, Fantastic Four was nominated for Best Science Fiction Film, but lost the trophy to Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.[49] It was given two nominations at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards including Best Hero for Jessica Alba (she lost to Christian Bale for Batman Begins) and Best On-Screen Team for Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans and Ioan Gruffudd (they lost to Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson for Wedding Crashers). Alba was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actress for her performances in both this film and Into the Blue, but lost to Jenny McCarthy for Dirty Love.[50] The film won the Stinker Award for Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing Over $100M.[51]

Home mediaEdit

The main version of Fantastic Four on VHS and DVD was released in December 2005. This version had some changes from the one shown in cinemas. Some of these changes included the following:

  • There is a scene where Reed and Susan are in a storage room of the Baxter Building. On one of the shelves is a robot that is supposed to be H.E.R.B.I.E. from the Fantastic Four animated cartoon series from 1978.
  • The biggest change is of the scene with Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffudd's characters looking toward the Statue of Liberty. Similar lines are used in the DVD version, but the version on DVD replaces that with the pair in the planetarium, where they discuss their feelings for each other without an argumentative tone. The DVD includes the theatrical version as a bonus feature, but instead of Reed forming a square jaw, as he does in the theatrical version, he makes his skin look like that of Wolverine of the X-Men comics. The actor Gruffudd breaks the fourth wall and looks directly at the camera as he does this. This scene was created in hopes to create a cinematic universe between This film, Fox's X-Men and Sony's Spider-Man. Wolverine was also set to appear in a cameo in Spider-Man 2. The extended cut includes this as part of the movie, along with a longer version of the scene in the planetarium.[52]

The movie was also released on VHS the same day, it was later released on Blu-ray on November 14, 2006.[53]

Extended cutEdit

In June 2007, an extended cut DVD of Fantastic Four was released. It incorporated about 20 minutes of deleted scenes, and also included a preview of the sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The DVD expanded on The Thing's relationships with Alicia Masters, Doctor Doom's manipulations to break up the group, and the Human Torch's womanizing, and how it backfires.[52]

Film novelizationEdit

Fantastic Four received a novelization written by popular Marvel Comics writer Peter David, which included several scenes not in the movie.[54]

SoundtrackEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
IGN6.9/10[55]
Allmusic     [56]

Fantastic 4: The Album is the official soundtrack to the movie Fantastic Four. The soundtrack features two supergroups that were formed specifically for the album: Loser (former Marilyn Manson guitarist/writer John 5) and T.F.F. (featuring Brody Dalle of The Distillers, Chris Cester of Jet, Nick Zinner of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Dolf de Datsun of the Datsuns).[57][58]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Come On, Come In" (Velvet Revolver)3:50
2."Error Operator" (Taking Back Sunday)Taking Back SundayAriel Rechtshaid3:09
3."Relax" (Chingy)K1 Mil3:31
4."What Ever Happened to the Heroes" (Joss Stone)Beau Dozier3:56
5."Waiting (Save Your Life)" (Omnisoul)Derek A.E. FuhrmannGregg Wattenberg4:02
6."Always Come Back to You" (Ryan Cabrera)
Guy Chambers3:33
7."Everything Burns" (Ben Moody featuring Anastacia)Ben Moody3:41
8."New World Symphony" (Miri Ben-Ari featuring Pharoahe Monch)
  • Miri Ben-Ari
  • Kanye West
4:01
9."Die for You (Fantastic Four Mix)" (Megan McCauley)
Bob Marlette3:49
10."Noots" (Sum 41)Greig Nori3:49
11."Surrender" (Simple Plan)Rick NielsenSimple Plan2:58
12."I'll Take You Down" (T.F.F)Josh Deutsch2:50
13."On Fire" (Lloyd Banks)
  • K1 Mil
  • Eminem (co.)
  • Luis Resto (add.)
3:07
14."Reverie" (Megan McCauley)
  • McCauley
  • Will Baker
  • Pete Woodruff
  • Will Baker
  • Pete Woodruff
3:55
15."Goodbye to You" (Breaking Point)
  • Justin Rimer
  • Brett Erikson
  • Ben Schigel
Ben Schigel3:51
16."Shed My Skin" (Alter Bridge)Mark Tremonti
5:08
17."In Due Time" (Submersed)
Don Gilmore4:04
18."Disposable Sunshine" (Loser)Bob Marlette3:27
19."Now You Know" (Miss Eighty 6 featuring Classic)
3:03
20."Kirikirimai (Fantastic Four Remix)" (Orange Range)Orange RangeJosh Deutsch3:14

An album of John Ottman's score was released by Varèse Sarabande on July 12, 2005.

FutureEdit

SequelEdit

A sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, was released on June 15, 2007, with director Tim Story and the cast returning to the fold. The film had a slightly improved critical reception but lower financial gross than its predecessor.

2015 rebootEdit

When plans for a third film fell through, 20th Century Fox rebooted the series with 2015's Fantastic Four. The film experienced a worse critical reception than the original films and failed at the box office, leading to the cancellation of a sequel planned for a 2017 release.

Marvel Cinematic UniverseEdit

In 2019, after Disney successfully acquired Fox, the film rights of Fantastic Four were reverted to Marvel Studios, with plans to integrate the characters into Marvel Cinematic Universe confirmed at Marvel's 2019 San Diego Comic-Con Hall-H panel. In December 2020, Jon Watts was announced as the director. In April 2022, Watts stepped down from directing the film after expressing his desire to take a "break" from superhero films.[59]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ "Fantastic Four". American Film Institute. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  3. ^ "Fantastic Four (2005)". AllMovie.com. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Fantastic Four". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  5. ^ "Fantastic Four (2005)". The Numbers. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  6. ^ Matthew Kirdahy (7 February 2008). "Q&A With Stan Lee Archived June 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine". Forbes.com. Accessed February 7, 2008.
  7. ^ "The Fantastic Four". Tribute.ca. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Ito, Robert (March 2005). "Fantastic Faux!". Los Angeles. p. 109.
  9. ^ a b c d Ito, p. 110
  10. ^ a b Army Archerd (August 11, 1992). "Peters, Geffen in talks to buy Bel-Air Hotel". Variety.
  11. ^ Muto, Sheila (September 1994). "The Fantastic Four Movie You'll Never See". Wired. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  12. ^ "Fantastic Four (1994)". UGO. Archived from the original on November 5, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2007.
  13. ^ a b c Michael Fleming (April 14, 1997). "A Mania for Marvel". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  14. ^ Army Archerd (July 13, 1995). "Columbus seeing red after 'Nine' reviews". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  15. ^ Andrew Hindes (December 11, 1997). "Weisman set to helm 'Out-of-Towners'". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  16. ^ Staff (April 14, 1998). "Midler tries on noir; New Line keys on prodigy". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
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  18. ^ Chris Petrikin (July 27, 1999). "Under construction". Variety. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  19. ^ Michael Fleming (October 17, 2000). "WB's 'Scooby' gets live-action greenlight". Variety. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  20. ^ Dana Harris (April 25, 2001). "Reed takes on Fox's 'Fantastic' project". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  21. ^ Gary Susman (July 30, 2003). "Invisible Guy". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  22. ^ Parfitt, Orlando (July 16, 2015). "How Ant-Man Director Peyton Reed Fell Out With Fox Over Fantastic Four (Exclusive)". Yahoo! Movies UK. Archived from the original on July 28, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  23. ^ McCarrick, Michael (January 9, 2021). "Peyton Reed's Fantastic Four Movie Could Have Had the WEIRDEST Cast". CBR. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  24. ^ Pereira, Sergio (June 30, 2019). "Sean Astin's Fantastic Four Starring Christina Aguilera?". Fortress of Solitude. Fortress Entertainment. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  25. ^ Sean Astin Wanted to Direct a Fantastic Four Movie with Christina Aguilera. YouTube. Collider Interviews. June 19, 2019. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  26. ^ "Marvel Had Meeting with Robert Downey Jr. For Doctor Doom Role". October 21, 2021.
  27. ^ Claude Brodesser (April 7, 2004). "Fox 'Four' play heats up". Variety.
  28. ^ Heroes Are Born: Making the Fantastic Four (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2005.
  29. ^ Scott Brown (July 1, 2005). "Fantastic Voyage". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  30. ^ Susman, Gary (October 1, 2004). "Fox moves ahead on X-Men 3". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 9, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  31. ^ Patrick Sauriol (December 24, 2004). "SCOOP: Stretching the end of FANTASTIC FOUR". Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  32. ^ "Fantastic Four Clips in Elektra Spots". Superhero Hype.com. January 13, 2005. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  33. ^ Lichtenfeld, Eric (2007). Action Speaks Louder. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-8195-6801-4.
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  35. ^ Snyder, Gabriel (July 10, 2005). "'Four' play heats up summer – Variety". Variety.com. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
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  38. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 9, 2015). "'Fantastic Four' Gets Worst CinemaScore Ever for Studio Superhero Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  39. ^ Roger Ebert (July 07, 2005) 'Fantastic' flameout. RogerEbert.com, accessed 08 May 2022
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  44. ^ Century, Sara (July 8, 2020). "An Ode to 2005 Sue Storm". Syfy. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
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  47. ^ Rozsa, Matthew (September 17, 2017). "26 films Rotten Tomatoes got 100 percent wrong". Salon. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  48. ^ Iacobucci, Jordan (February 25, 2022). "10 Ways The Original Fantastic Four Films Actually Aged Well". Screenrant. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  49. ^ "The 2006 Saturn Awards Nominations – The Movie Blog". www.themovieblog.com. February 17, 2006. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
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  52. ^ a b "Fantastic Four (Comparison: US Theatrical Version - Extended Version)". Movie-Censorship.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  53. ^ "Fantastic Four Blu-ray review". HighDefDigest.com. November 13, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  54. ^ David, Peter (2005). Fantastic Four. Pocket Books. ISBN 1-416-51695-6.
  55. ^ Spence D. (July 7, 2005). "Fantastic Four -The Album". IGN. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  56. ^ Loftus, Johnny. "Fantastic Four [Original Soundtrack]". Allmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  57. ^ Sung, Mark (June 7, 2005). "Fantastic Four: The Album Details". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  58. ^ Fantastic 4: The Album (booklet). Wind-up. 2005.
  59. ^ Chanliau, Pierre (April 29, 2022). "Why Spider-Man's Jon Watts Is No Longer Rebooting Marvel Studios' Fantastic Four". The Direct. Retrieved May 28, 2022.

External linksEdit