Why a Gambit Movie Starring Channing Tatum Might Not Makes Sense for Marvel

Source: Marvel

(Editor's note: Changes have been made to this article for the purpose of clarification. We apologize for any confusion.)

20th Century Fox (Nasdaq: FOX) is riding high following the box office success of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which continues the trend of movies based on characters from Marvel Comics, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS). But there's more news coming out courtesy of Channing Tatum, who has as-yet-unofficially snagged the role of Gambit in the forthcoming sequel X-Men: Apocalypse. Tatum told MTV his talks with the studio have included a solo Gambit film, which could release before Apocalypse. Tatum acknowledged that the "machine of the Marvel world is ginormous," so the plans could die in the idea stage. But would a solo Gambit film serve as a solid next step in a Marvel-based franchise?  

Captain America: The Winter Soldier has earned more than four times its production budget since its release in early April. X-Men: Days of Future Past has more than tripled its $200 million budget in a little over two weeks. But the recent successes make it easy to forget that Marvel has an imperfect cinematic track record. And competition from Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) DC Comics/Warner Bros has continued to heat up. 

Would a Gambit feature land another mark in the win column? 

Imperfect Gambit

Pushing a Gambit solo film seems an odd choice since the character can't even manage a successful, long-running starring role in comic books. And Tatum's comments suggested he wants to push Gambit's film in a gritty direction along the lines of The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel from Time Warner, which revitalized the Batman and Superman franchises, respectively.  

In the comics, Remy "Gambit" LeBeau is a human mutant with an ability to manipulate kinetic energy that brings him to work with the X-Men. Gambit's a Southern ladies man and thief with a love for gambling, hand-to-hand combat, and fellow mutant Rogue. Gambit's only film appearance was as a secondary character, portrayed by Taylor Kitsch, in the poorly received X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner said that Channing Tatum is her choice for Gambit but has stopped short of making an official confirmation, suggesting that there's still some contract negotiating happening behind the scenes. And the studio obviously hasn't commented on whether Gambit will make an appearance before X-Men: Apocalypse, which has a 2016 release date.

But should 20th Century Fox scrap the idea of a solo Gambit film? 

Wait on Gambit? 

Marvel characters have spawned a steady stream of hits since the 2000 release of the first X-Men film started that franchise, the original Spider-Man trilogy that's since successfully rebooted, and the 2008 release of Iron Man ushered in the Avengers age. But the box office hits make it easy to forget that Marvel was pursuing bankruptcy in the mid-'90s.  

And the 2000s have featured some duds among the star vehicles. Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Daredevil spinoff Elektra were a few titles that either barely or didn't surpass the budget with domestic ticket sales.  Elektra barely recouped its budget even when including the foreign box office, likely because the character was more interesting as a secondary character rather than the star. 

And that's the potential problem with a Gambit feature. The question isn't whether Channing Tatum can draw an audience; Tatum's more tested in that area than Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth were before Captain America and Thor, respectively. But out of all the characters that have moved in and out of the X-Men and Avengers, Gambit's story wouldn't seem particularly interesting to a wider audience as the star of the show.  

Foolish final thoughts

20th Century Fox hasn't confirmed or denied Tatum's comments so the studio could well scrap the idea of a solo Gambit feature in the idea stage. But it would behoove the company to test audience interest in the character through X-Men: Apocalypse before shoving Gambit into the spotlight.

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Read/Post Comments (22) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 11:17 AM, KingPagla wrote:

    Um... A Gambit movie would be made by FOX, not Marvel/Disney.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 11:46 AM, oliverginob wrote:

    Disney/Marvel has absolutely nothing to do with the X-Men movies and that includes any Gambit movies. the rights are owned by Fox

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 11:48 AM, psycho80 wrote:

    Try again. Fox owns X-men and anything mutant related. Marvel (Disney) isn't riding high on Days of Future Past at all. The X-men, Gambit are completely separate entities from the Avengers right now and shouldn't be discussed in the same article as if they are together.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 12:38 PM, JLM234 wrote:

    Journalism 101: Research.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 12:55 PM, KingPagla wrote:

    Odd how an article could even be posted when its basic presumptions are just flat out wrong.

    Oh, and "...might not makes sense"?

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 12:56 PM, AZRock wrote:

    Gambit has always kinda sucked as a solo character. Think about the X-men cartoon of the 90's, he was in the backdrop then as well. Most of the X-men are not main characters save Wolvie. Why make a movie over a sucky character?

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 12:59 PM, Jacquescas wrote:

    Wow, talk about wrong information in an article.

    Marvel has no control over any Xmen films, Fantastic four, Spiderman.

    Marvel couldn't do a thing if Fox wanted to make a musical starring Gambit.

    This would be Fox's decision and its a moot point, if Fox can barely get a Wolverine movie to be profitable, there is little to no chance a gambit movie will do well.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 1:07 PM, FromTheAshes21 wrote:

    Always a FOOL. Not only is this article rife with TYPOS you didn't bother to Proofread, but Marvel/Disney has NOTHING to do with the decision to make a Gambit Solo Film!!

    How can your editors not realize this gaffe as soon as the story is proposed? You guys report on these things Every Other Day, and change your Stance & Opinion Every Other Day. You don't help anyone by taking Every Position just to try to ensure that one way or another you "Called It" in an article. If you play Roulette & bet the same amount on Black & Red... you Didn't Win!

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 1:49 PM, legolas154 wrote:

    comic book guy says:

    "Worst. Article. Ever"

    Something like this should seriously prevent you from ever writing about movies again. It is just disgraceful and shows a complete lack of understanding of the rights/ownership of the mentioned properties.

    Do your research next time.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 2:45 PM, Stikman13 wrote:

    This is shameful. Whatever happened to journalistic integrity? Get some knowledge before you write about something! This is like a middle-school student got a job or something. The sad part is, no lesson will be learned. Just laugh it off and keep it dumb!

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 3:27 PM, AgeOfRobots wrote:

    Please correct the title of the article. It should read "Might Not Make Sense" instead of "Might Not Makes Sense..." Having such a basic grammatical error in the title of the article is embarrassing and strains the credibility of the author.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 3:37 PM, stovemang wrote:

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that noticed the idiot gave Disney credit instead of Fox

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 3:46 PM, legolas154 wrote:

    (Editor's note: Changes have been made to this article for the purpose of clarification. We apologize for any confusion.)

    For the purpose of clarification? are you serious? This is just shameful. Own up to your mistakes or you are just gonna be a hack writer for the rest of your life.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 4:51 PM, vocal75 wrote:

    Fox hasn't done a consistent job with their Marvel movies. Most of them have been down-right poor, actually. I'd say the first two and last two X-men movies were good and all the rest failures. With that kind of track record, I don't have high hopes for a Gambit movie. That said, if they could get a decent plot and a good director, I'd say the idea has potential. The character is the kind of anti-hero that would appeal to a lot of people in the same way Wolverine or Batman does (if they did him right). I guess if I were Fox, I'd be willing to take the chance.... And as a movie-goer, I'd be willing to give it the benefit of the doubt at this point, but wait for the reviews before forking over money to see it.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 6:48 PM, Allend406 wrote:

    Competition from DC is heating up, had to hold back the laughter.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 8:37 PM, SMP wrote:

    I hate to come off as a troll. But the fact is that this article is very poorly researched.

    The author gives the impression that she has no business writing about the business of comic book movies.

    Many posters have already commented on how Marvel Studios has very little input relatively speaking on certain film properties, most notably, the X-Men, Fantastic Four and the Spider-Man movies. Something that this author seems to know very little about.

    Brandy, please research your future work, or better yet, just check out some of the nerd message boards throughout the web.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 9:09 PM, fjc120 wrote:

    What fool is editing this article? You made the change from Disney to Fox but still forgot to update the headline which still doesn't makes sense.

    Even if the article was written correctly, I would disagree that a Gambit movie would be a bad idea for FOX because they need all of the firepower they can get to combat Disney and all of their Avengers characters. You can't compare Captain America's and Xmen's recent successes because they are made by rivals of different studios. Also, FOX needs to keep coming out with movies in order to keep the rights to their respective Marvel characters. Yes, I did my research.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 9:24 PM, Droppo wrote:

    I never cared about Gambit. He and the group of new X-men that came along in the early 90's just got in the way of the already well established characters that we had MORE THAN ENOUGH of to fill several X comics. That was about when I stopped buying comics.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 10:14 PM, diascrive wrote:

    Um yeah - Ms Betz - get your story straight first - just because its a Marvel comic does not mean it's a Marvel Movie - usually Motley does better research than this.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2014, at 10:18 PM, diascrive wrote:

    For years I trusted Motley Fool like they were outta the loop and some go get kids with damn good advice. So what's up with this, lets not blame Ms Betz - she was probably assigned this thing and has no idea about comic book movies. WTF Fool! Back to roots maybe?

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2014, at 1:07 AM, GaryFodmother wrote:

    For crying out loud, who is the editor? The title should read "...Might Not Make Sense", not "Might Not Makes Sense". That alone should have tipped us off that the writer was shooting from the hip.

    As far as Elektra goes, there is enough substance within her character and background, in which to create a feature film. Blame the writers and director for that bomb. If it's one thing that the Iron Man trilogy taught us, second rate characters can be a strong enough provide feature films as well as sequels provided that the creative teams bring quality development to the table.

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2014, at 8:51 AM, heyyo wrote:

    I think a gambit movie could work. I would start it with a big fight with most of the xmen we already know fighting like magnetos crew and remmy being the naritor of the movie. You see all the x men we know getting beat by the brother hood while gambit talks about each one. Like the fight would be shot in slower motion. And then rem my says something and you see something light up in the dark and multiple glowing cards heading to the camera . You would see cards save each of the xmen then gambit enters the shot and looks at rogue and it freezes . And rem my says that I will always remember rouge. Then it could start the movie with remmy just joining the x men. He gets contacted by his thrift guild ( it doesn't have to be the same reason as the 90's cartoon) and rogue over hears him that he is leaving and follows him to the swamp. Introduce some new villians to be intruduced in future movies and make up a new women ( if there isn't one already) with the powers of miss marvel so rouge can take her powers and become the super rogue we all love. Like make it happen during a fight that rouge is draining her powers then they both get eletricacuted to explain why she held on so long. Now you would have remmy and super rouge like save remmys brother from the group of bad guys . After they set everything right they would go back and tell pro x what happened and about rouges new powers. Then you would hear a big crash. The sign would cut back to the fight with the juggernaut entering the fight and with rouge ( now we no she has her powers. At the begining we would of saw her drop some one with the drain touch ) float up and fight Juggernaut one on one ( after he busted into the fight and hurt most if the other xmen. Rouge and juggernaut would battle with them going back and fourth. Just when you thought rouge was getting her face punched in you would see and hear an explosion hitting juggernaut . He would turn around in rage heading towards rem my. This would give rouge a chance to come up frombehing to take off his helmet. That would allow pro x or Jean gray to mess with his mind. This would free up magnets to bring his helmet back to him( in the fight he would of lost it and been nutralised by a telepath . And get away with his fallen team. The juggernaut would leave in a scream rage and it would end with rouge helping remmy and like beast or wolverine walk back to the xplane . The hole movie would be a fight vs the brotherhood and a flash back of a rouge and gambit movie that introduced a new bad buy group and gave rouge her powers too. I know there is a lot more to it but that would be how I started it. In the flash back you could have a flash back of where remmy tells rouge a out xmen wolvering origins about how after the events he heard how they operated on death pool turning him into the mech with a mouth that we all love too. Like he was telling rouge that who he thought might of took his brother or cousin or what ever the plot was. I think if you called it xmen the gambt it would be just as sucessfull as dofp . It would be simalur to how it is shot but instead of going back in time 4/5 of the movie would be like a instant flash back during a bad ass fight and ending with an epic x men battle. You could even make them fighting the new group of bad guys instead of the brother hood but mag vs pro x crew will always be the bomb to me

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Brandy Betz

Brandy Betz has written for The Motley Fool since 2011 and primarily covers health care, ETFs, and dividend stocks. You can follow her on Twitter @BrandyBetz.

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