The Gambit movie is not something I’m hotly anticipating, and right now the behind the scenes drama seems more interesting than the movie itself. And it’s not surprising that people have already started making comparisons to the production of the hot mess that was Fantastic Four, so the question is, is Gambit going to have a similar fate?
Rupert Wyatt, director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which I’m now realising is a mouthful of a title) has left the Gambit movie as reported by Deadline. The official word is that he had to leave due to scheduling conflicts. The film was initially supposed to start production in November, but was pushed back to March 2016 supposedly because of script changes.
However what we’ve also heard is that those script changes have caused the budget to increase significantly. Then there was the earlier rumour of Channing Tatum leaving the project, which I like to assume was a little play he did to help settle the earlier reported contract disputes. Point is, production has not been an easy ride.
And now with the director leaving, it’s even more problematic. Of course a director leaving a project isn’t uncommon, even within the superhero sphere, notable examples are the recent departures of Edgar Wright and Michelle MacLaren. But if we didn’t hear about any of those earlier reported issues before we found out Wyatt left, I might have accepted the scheduling conflict response, but because of what we’ve heard so far (which I should add are just rumours at this point), it does seem like it’s more than that.
If he did leave because of issues with budget and script, there’s two ways of looking at it; first it can be viewed as a little worrisome. Issues with the Gambit movie script have been reported on for a while and with production delays, it doesn’t make the issue seem any better. Gambit is coming out in 2016, where it will be judged against the other 6 comic book movies coming out. With the extra competition, it’s even more important for the quality to be better. Making mediocre comic book movies don’t work within the context of the ever-growing superhero bubble anymore. You either make a good movie, or you’ll be taken over by the other studios quickly that are making good content. So there’s a lot riding on Gambit. If Fox wants to create a proper shared universe and crossover their superhero franchises, they can’t have a Fantastic Four situation happen to them again.
However a director having issues with the script can’t always be perceived as a bad thing; maybe the vision Fox has is good yet different to the vision Wyatt has. Channing Tatum is a producer on the film and heavily involved so I’m assuming that he has a bit of power over creative decisions being made. So maybe their visions didn’t align either. Michelle MacLaren left Wonder Woman because her vision didn’t align with WB. MacLaren wanted an enormous budget for an action-packed Wonder Woman moving (with a supposed tiger sidekick), whereas WB wanted a more character focused piece. Neither side don’t seem to be in the wrong, they just have different visions. So that might be the case with Wyatt and Fox here.
As for those issues with the budget, Fox would be stupid to have this movie cost north of $100m. Honestly I don’t understand why it needs to be more than $100m anyways (as the rumour suggested) when Deadpool’s rumoured budget is around the $50m mark. That seems more appropriate to me (not that I make movies or whatever) because Gambit isn’t Superman, his powers don’t seem like they require expensive visual effects. And his movie seems like it would be on a smaller scale, because it’s a Gambit movie, not a Civil War movie.
And considering how unknown the character is, Fox shouldn’t expect the Gambit movie to gross as much as their X-Men films gross. Sure Guardians of the Galaxy was an unknown property that went on to gross over $700m, but that was a movie backed by the power of the Marvel Studios brand. Gambit can’t put “From the studio that brought you The Avengers” on their trailer, so Fox better level their expectations. You would think that if they cut Fantastic Four’s budget (which we all clearly saw in the movie), that they would also keep the budget in check for Gambit.
Anyways it’s still early days, so we shouldn’t start freaking out about Gambit losing its director just yet. But if we keep hearing more behind the scenes issues at Fox, then it’s time to start worrying. It will be interesting to see who replaces Wyatt though, we should find out soon!
Categories: comic book movies