Fox’s Lawyers Told Us To Redact That Awful (And Hopefully Still Fake) Fantastic Four Plot Summary
We're confused and we hate this.
About two weeks ago, we posted a story about a rumored Fantastic Four origin story plot which, aside from being horrible, had been debunked by director Josh Trank. This morning, however, we got a letter from Fox’s legal department that more or less threatened legal action if we didn’t take the plot summary down. Ugh, so does that mean it’s… real?
Let’s take a look at what the letter said first:
It has come to our attention that you have posted a purported plot details from the Fox Property on your website[…] without Fox’s authorization. These purported plot details provide important qualitative details about character, plot, setting and mood, thereby violating Fox’s rights in the copyrights to the screenplay of the Fox Property.
Further, the disclosure of purported plot details is harmful to Fox and to the filmmakers hard at work on the project. Disclosure of uncontrolled information about the Fox Property prior to its release diminishes the value of Fox’s rights in the Fox Property and deprives the filmmakers of the opportunity to present the film to the public the way they intended. It also spoils the theater experience for fans who do not want to know even the rough storyline beforehand.
We took down the offending parts of the original story in order to comply, but I’ve got to call out the second paragraph of this statement, in which Fox’s lawyers claim that we should pull the details because it makes the filmmakers sad and spoils fans. What?
Publishing a summary of a movie’s plot in a post that very clearly delineates itself to be about the plot ahead of time should not count as a spoiler (And that’s me, not resident anti-spoiler correspondent Glen Tickle, who’s saying that). If fans were that invested in having everything about the film be a secret, then they wouldn’t have clicked on the article in the first place. Plot summaries are only spoilers if you aren’t expecting to read them, and certainly reading them doesn’t make fans want to see the related films any less — that is, unless they are bad, which this one was. So very bad. Literally nothing like what you’d expect from the Fantastic Four at all.
And let’s not forget, of course, that this plot summary is purportedly not even real. In addition to that tweet Josh Trank posted about the plot rumors back in January, Badass Digest also quotes him as saying that he has no idea why Fox would even request such a takedown in the first place, because it has literally nothing to with his film. Devin Faraci writes:
I just got off the phone with him and he strongly, without caveat, denied the story details that led to Slashfilm getting legal attention from Fox. “The only truth in that plot description is that there are four characters named Reed, Ben, Sue and Johnny,” Trank told me.
And he was pretty adamant. “You’ll see in June of 2015,” that the plot description is absolutely untrue.
So… it’s not real, then? Or is Josh Trank pulling a “Star Trek Into Darkness totally won’t have Khan in it” move? Is he being forced to by Fox’s lawyers or something? What the heck is going on, and why does it make me want to see this movie less than that awful plot summary did in the first place?
And, most importantly of all, is this just what Fox’s lawyers are like when it comes to the Fantastic Four? Maybe Mitch Hurwitz and Arrested Development Season 4 were trying to tell us something all this time! Am I going to cut my hair and sleep with Terry Crews next? I don’t even know who I am anymore.
It’s worth noting here that the email we received can from an @dtecnet.com address, and not Fox, though the email was signed by Fox Group Legal’s Director of Intellectual Property Kasimira C. Verdi. That leads us to believe it’s potentially an automated request that picked some keywords out of our post, which is about a fake plot description. We’ve reached out to Fox for comment, but have not heard back at this time. We will update with any reply.