Fox’s Gambit film has had a long and troubled development history over the past several years. While Channing Tatum has consistently been set to star as the X-Men spinoff’s titular mutant, numerous directors have joined and subsequently left the project, which has seen its release date pushed back multiple times. However, according to director Rupert Wyatt — who was once slated to helm Gambit — there was a point, presumably around 2015, when the film was actually getting ready to go into production. Unfortunately, the poor performance of Fantastic Four derailed those plans.
“I was very close with Channing Tatum and his producing partner Reid Carolin, and I was on the script with him and Josh Zetumer as a writer,” Wyatt told The Beat. “We were close, I believe 10 weeks away. It simply came down to budget. There was not enough. You know all too well about the politics of the business. Fantastic Four had been released by Fox a month before and had not gone well for them, so our budget was slashed quite considerably. The inevitable, from my perspective was, ‘Well then we need to rewrite the script to tailor to our budget,’ but we were too close to a start date for Fox to really want to go there, so unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.”
Wyatt appears to be referring to director Josh Trank’s 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four, which, in addition to being critically panned, was also a box office bomb. The film had a production budget of about $155 million, with marketing and distribution costs bringing the total bill up to an estimated $200 million. When all was said and done, Trank’s Fantastic Four only earned $167.9 million, meaning that Fox took a loss on the film.
Despite his own departure from the project, Wyatt spoke highly of Tatum’s vision for Gambit and remains hopeful that the film will still get made. “All I know is Channing had a really, really wonderful idea for what that film could and should be,” Wyatt explained. “I know he and Reid are still plugging away at it, so I hope in the new Disney era, that then they get to make it.”
It’s unclear at this time what will happen to the Gambit film after Disney regains the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four, though most seem to speculate that the movie will finally be shelved.