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January 15, 2014

'Doomed' - The Untold Story of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four

I am very proud of my DVD collection... I have built it over the years since I bought my first DVD in 2000 and it is quite impressive. I have a ton of imports, rare movies, and the such... but the highlight of my collection (especially in my nerd cred portion of the collection) has to be my bootleg copy of the low budget Fantastic Four movie that was made by Roger Corman. Corman has long been known as the 'schlock king of Hollywood', a dude who has made movies out of peanuts and has had tons of success. He is one of the greatest producers/directors of all time when it comes to making magic out of a nothing budget... but that was definitely not the case when he took on one of Marvel's greatest super hero teams. Back in the days before all the current Marvel Cinematic Universe success the company had fallen on hard times and licensed out most of its character stables to various production companies. Most of those deals had expiration dates attached to them: If the company purchased the rights to a character than they had 'X' amount of years to put out a film. In order for the companies to retain the rights to the films they would have to have something constantly in the works (either filming or in development). Some studios never made a product, some made a film and then cut their losses allowing the rights to go back to Marvel, and others have produced products and maintain their licenses (much to the chagrin of Marvel like the X-Men, Spidey, etc). The German film production company Neue Constantin that owned the rights to the Fantsitic Four for numerous years in the late 80s/early 90s had never been able to get the ball rolling on a film. So in a bold move the company teamed up with Corman to make a $1 million dollar version of a Fantastic Four movie just before the deadline expired. By creating the film the company was then able to hold on to the rights and buy more time in order to possibly make another FF movie at a future date. This angered Marvel, and they paid the company to never release the film... And so begins one of the greatest debates in B movie history! Was the movie made just to keep the rights or as a intended low budget/high return venture? Did Marvel really pay for the movie to not be released? Was Corman and Neue Constantin in on the squashing of the film, all the while never telling the cast or crew? And how is it possible that such a terrible version of a movie could have been made yet they got so many things correct in the production (The Thing's costume looks great considering the low budget, and Doom is dope!)? All of these questions have lingered for years, especially when you consider that Neue Constanttin retained the rights to the FF and later produced the two big budget FF movies we got in the mid 2000s. But now we may finally get some answers in the form of a definitive documentary: Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four is about to be released!

Click after the jump for more info:
Here is the trailer:

Here is the 'Why' section from the Doomed website:

There are 336 names in the end crawl credits of the 1994 film, ‘The Fantastic Four’.  And though owners of the bootleg version of the film may appreciate them, the artists and craftspeople who created the movie have never been properly recognized.
And that’s too bad.
‘The Fantastic Four’ has never been viewed legally by anyone in the world, other than those directly involved in the production. The negative presumably sits, to this day, on some shelf in some facility, both gathering dust and fated to become it.
So – what are we going to do about that?
For starters, we have interview commitments from EVERY principal cast and crew member. And based on the pre-interviews we’ve conducted, this documentary is going to be explosive!
-When did the cast and crew discover the film would be shelved?
-What changed from script to production based on character rights (just who *is* The Jeweler?), budget, and time constraints?
-How much control did Marvel wield over the movie? Before it was made and after it was shelved?
-Is a legitimate release still possible?
-Who are today’s A-list actors who auditioned but didn’t make the cut?
For the first time in over 20 years, the TRUE account of this controversial cult classic will be revealed!
And it’s a hell of a story!

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