The year is 1993. Roger Corman, one of the most prolific producer/directors of all time, is overseeing the production of The Fantastic Four film for Constantin Film. They have less than a month and only $1.5 million to bring the story of four scientists turned superheroes by space travel to life. A release date is announced for Labor Day that year, then pushed back to January 1994. Then, nothing. The film never comes out. The rights to the Fantastic Four property stay with Constantin Film and the film is never even completed.
This might sound like the premise of a strange Hollywood comedy, but it really happened. Roger Corman did oversee the production of the first ever Fantastic Four film and it never came out. The whole thing was a twisted game of contracts to hold onto adaptation rights and is now one of the most notorious dirty film business stories to come out of Hollywood (well, without a murder or other such violent crime against anyone).
Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four” is an upcoming documentary that will finally lift up the curtain to reveal the true nature of the project. Corman and the cast and crew provide interviews to go into the how and why of the only Marvel superhero film to never officially be released. There is no release date for the documentary yet, but director/editor Marty Langford is trying to get an actual theatrical release in 2014 for his film about an unreleased film.
I’m really excited to see this. I know Roger Corman, out of all the possible producers, would be the right choice to pull off a super low budget superhero film. He’s responsible for over 450 films, everything from A Bucket of Blood to Dean Koontz’ Watchers. I don’t think he’d know how to produce a film with so much extra cash flying around. His skills as a producer are so valued that he was awarded an honorary Oscar for his contribution to the creation of cinema.
So why did Constantin Film choose to not even finish the production? Or release it? Or let anyone involved in the actual day to day shoot know that this would never be released? This is the same company that stood behind the mediocre 2005 film adaptation and the terrible Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; they’re clearly not afraid of releasing bad Fantastic Four films. Why didn’t the Corman-produced adaptation even get a chance?
I hope Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four” can shed some light on that question. You can follow the project at the official Doomed! website.
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