11:23am PT by Hilary Lewis
Fox Yanks 'Fantastic Four' Films from iTunes, Amazon Before Reboot Release
Jessica Alba really has become the Invisible Woman: Fox has removed all traces of hers and Chris Evans' Fantastic Four films from digital platforms as the studio prepares to release its 2015 reboot, starring Miles Teller and Kate Mara.
Fox is rebooting its Fantastic Four film franchise this summer with the release of a new take on the comic book story that also stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell. But those hoping to download Fox's most recent Fantastic Four films (the 2005 and 2007 installments with Evans and Alba) on iTunes or Amazon are out of luck.
Searches on iTunes' store and Amazon.com list both Fantastic Four and its sequel, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, as "currently unavailable."
A source close to the situation tells The Hollywood Reporter that the older titles have been removed from digital platforms ahead of the release of the new film, so as not to distract from promotion of the rebooted franchise, which is seeking to establish a different tone than the previous releases. The source says the older titles might cause confusion in the marketplace.
According to the source, the practice of removing or pulling back on the promotion of older titles while launching a new take on a franchise is not uncommon. The source also indicated the older films once again could be available digitally after this summer's Fantastic Four is released.
Fans who simply must have their fix of the earlier Fantastic Four films can rent the DVDs through Netflix, buy the DVD or Blu-ray versions on Amazon or tune into AMC this weekend, when both films will be airing.
Released in 2005, Fantastic Four tells the story of a group of astronauts who gain superpowers after cosmic-radiation exposure and take on Dr. Victor von Doom (Julian McMahon). The Tim Story-directed film also starred Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic) and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm (The Thing). Alba and Evans played siblings Sue and Johnny Storm, aka the Invisible Woman and Human Torch. Mark Frost and Michael France wrote the screenplay.
The 2007 sequel, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, found the team taking on the titular villain, voiced by Laurence Fishburne. Story returned as director, as did the quartet of superheroes and McMahon. That movie was written by Frost, Don Payne and John Turman.
The films grossed $330.6 million and $289 million worldwide, respectively.
The new Fantastic Four, directed by Josh Trank and written by Trank, Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater, is slated to hit theaters Aug. 7. A sequel to that movie already has been scheduled for June 9, 2017.
Reps for Amazon and iTunes have not yet responded to requests for comment.
Watch the trailer for the new Fantastic Four below.