The Fantastic Four (found unreleased Marvel superhero film; 1994)
The Fantastic Four is an unreleased low-budget feature film completed in 1994. It was produced by Roger Corman (famous for his low-budget productions) and Bernd Eichinger (who also produced another Fantastic Four movie in 2005 and its 2007 sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer). The film was based on the popular comic book series of the same name by Marvel Comics and featured the origin of the Fantastic Four and their first battle with the evil Doctor Doom and a mysterious Mole Man-like creature.
Production began on December 28th, 1992, under music video director Oley Sassone. Storyboards were drawn by artist Pete Von Sholly. The 25-day production was shot on the Concorde Pictures soundstage in Venice, California, as well as in Agoura, California for a spacecraft crash scene, the Loyola Marymount campus for a lab explosion scene, and the former Pacific Stock Exchange building in downtown Los Angeles for team meeting scenes.
Release Plans and Cancellation
A 1993 magazine article gave a tentative release date of Labor Day weekend 1993. That summer, trailers ran in theatres and on the VHS tapes of the movie Carnosaur. Cast members promoted the film at a clips-screening at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and at the San Diego Comic-Con International. By this time, the world premiere was announced to take place at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 19th, 1994, with proceeds from the event earmarked for the charities Ronald McDonald House and the Children's Miracle Network.
Producer Bernd Eichinger later announced that the film would not be released. Following the announcement of the cancellation of the film's release, a rumor spread that the studio intended this version of the Fantastic Four to be the film equivalent of an ashcan copy: they had the legal rights to create a film based on the Fantastic Four, but they were not ready to produce a big-budget film. However, they needed to produce something or else they would lose the legal right to the characters. Apparently, the studio misled everyone involved in the making of the film by letting them believe it was going to be a genuine release rather than a way to maintain their license on the property. Producer Roger Corman has since confirmed that this was indeed the case.
The film circulated in bootleg VHS form before 2004. It was hypothesized the film was initially copied via telecine a few days before a private screening. If one wants to find the better qualities of the film than currently exist, one would need to identify good quality first or second-generation VHS copies. It is also possible the original telecine transfer was not to VHS, but some other medium, which would likely have better quality than VHS copies.
A VHS-copy transfer was eventually uploaded to MySpleen and has since been mirrored to other video-sharing websites such as YouTube and Dailymotion.
Various bootleg DVD companies have released their own VHS copies, some claiming to be from early generation VHS sources. All current known copies of the film are from VHS, unfortunately.
Ever since the film was leaked to the internet, it has achieved a cult following.
- ↑ The Hollywood Reporter's article on the film's production. Retrieved 12 Aug '18
- ↑ Cinefile article on The Fantastic Four. Retrieved 24 Feb '20
- ↑ Business Insider's article on how the film became a cult classic. Retrieved 12 Aug '18