Josh Trank, the director of the recent Fantastic Four reboot, may have cost 20th Century Fox more than $10 million with a single tweet. In response to the abysmal reviews and ratings before the premiere of the film, Trank’s took to Twitter on the eve of the film’s opening weekend with this message, “A year ago, I had a fantastic version of this. And it would have received great reviews. You’ll probably never see. That’s reality though.”
That tweet, which was subsequently removed from Twitter, may have constituted a breach of contract on Trank’s part. One lawyer told The Wrap, an entertainment news site, that Trank likely breached his contract with Fox, assuming the contract “contains the standard terms requiring him to provide professional performance of services, as well as requiring any statements about publicity to be cleared by the studio and refrain from rendering any derogatory remarks.”
This one tweet has been estimated to have cost $10 million or more in ticket sales. The reason being that comic book inspired films have some of the most loyal fans who, for the most part, tend to disregard critic reviews and ratings in favor of director and actor enthusiasm. The fact that Trank openly admitted his disappointment in the film to the masses will have turned away millions of dollars in ticket sales from the target audience, comic book movie lovers.
The film was estimated to bring in about $40 million on the opening weekend, but barely managed to scrape together $25 million. Chris Aronson, head of domestic distribution for Fox, said in an interview with the New York Times that he has “never seen a confluence of events impact the opening of a movie so swiftly.”
There have been other examples of directors turning on their studios, but never on a film of this magnitude. A notable example being Tony Kaye’s displeasure at the end result of American History X. However, there are other avenues that Trank’s could have taken to express his disappointment. He would not have been the first director to have his name removed from the credits.
Atkerson Law – Dallas employment lawyer