The lead up to 20th Century Fox's "Fantastic Four" reboot has been anything but smooth. The production has been plagued by reports of an isolated and erratic director, fan outcry over leaked script details and heated online debates about the decision to cast an African-American actor as a Caucasian character.
But what really raised alarm bells was Fox's choice to embargo reviews until the day before the movie's U.S. premier. With "Fantastic Four" opening Thursday night, the results are in—and they're ugly.
"Fantastic Four" currently ranks as the worst reviewed movie featuring a Marvel property on critic aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. As of Thursday afternoon, the film carried a 8 percent rating out of a possible 100 percent, based on 49 reviews.
That's worse than the 10 percent rating for the 2005 "Daredevil" spinoff and box office bomb "Elektra." Even 1986's "Howard the Duck" garnered kinder aggregate reviews, beating "Fantastic Four" by 5 percentage points.
The film is Fox's second stab at bringing Marvel's quartet of super-powered heroes to life. The studio shelved the franchise after two installments in 2005 and 2007 failed to capture moviegoer imaginations.
Eric Henderson of Slant called the new film, "So appallingly dull that even a third-act parade of exploding heads can't rouse interest." The Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez said, "the picture has the uneven tone of the work of someone who was in way over his head and lost sight of the picture he was making."
Reviews like those prompted BoxOffice.com to lower its forecast for the film's opening weekend for a second time to $43 million. Last week, it revised down its projection from $50 million to $46 million based on middling social media buzz and unexpectedly positive word of mouth for "Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation," which opened last weekend and stands to steal Fox's thunder.