Why is Fox Still Trying to Make the Channing Tatum “Gambit” Movie Happen?

Matthew Loffhagen
Warner Bros
(Photo: Warner Bros)

Right from the start, Fox’s “Gambit” movie has been an utter trainwreck.

The film has gone through multiple directors and several rewrites over the past few years. Pretty much the only thing that’s remained consistent has been the lead actor, Channing Tatum, who’ll be playing the titular Gambit despite being wholly unsuited to the role.

This movie was meant to be released before “Deadpool”. In another universe, this would have come and gone so long ago that we’d be pretty much ready for a reboot by this point (assuming that, in this parallel world, the movie ended up being just as awful as our version is expected to be).

Despite having gone years at a time without leadership at the head of this movie, and despite the fact that, yet again, the project doesn’t currently have a director attached, Fox is eager to start work on “Gambit”, and the movie is scheduled to start filming in June.

This is not going to end well. To even the most casual of observers, this appears to be a movie that deserves to be buried.

So why, in the face of such overwhelming adversity, is Fox so eager to push the “Gambit” movie into production, despite its lack of director?

Magic Mike
Source: Warner Bros

This could be a result of Channing Tatum’s enthusiasm for the project. The actor has spoken many times about how he just loves Gambit, and really wants to bring him to the big screen.

(In reality, there’s a good chance that Tatum is simply looking for a superhero meal ticket, but that’s beside the point.)

Perhaps someone at Fox thinks that Tatum alone is enough to sell this movie to the masses, but if that’s the case, it’s clear that they don’t actually understand superhero audiences. Looking at pretty much all modern comic book blockbusters, it’s not so much the actor behind a character that sells tickets, but the character themselves.

Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans, and even Robert Downey Jr owe their current Hollywood popularity to their comic book alter egos, rather than the other way around. Channing Tatum may have a loyal audience of fans, but it’s nowhere near the kind of audience that “Deadpool” drew in.

Gambit isn’t exactly Wolverine at the best of times – he’s a cult favorite who’s always struggled to maintain a solo comic book series, so imagining him as the big draw for a solo movie feels like overenthusiasm from Fox in general.

Perhaps, this is really all about personal passion. Maybe one of the Fox executives really likes the character.

Gambit X-Men Cartoon
Source: Marvel

This doesn’t seem too likely, considering that the decisions this company makes are primarily fueled by an interest in money. Nobody’s going to make a “Gambit” movie, bearing in mind that they’re risking their annual bonuses, simply because they enjoy the character. Especially considering that Channing Tatum is such an inappropriate choice to play Gambit in the first place.

So what’s really going on here?

More than likely, this is the result of the Fox/Disney buyout.

Any Fox movie that doesn’t get made immediately will probably get cancelled, and the studio heads at Fox have a vested interest in making a bunch of successful movies in order to show Disney that they deserve to keep their jobs.

So, “Gambit” is getting rushed out for the sake of making a quick buck, with no thought being given to the franchise, because this film simply needs to make money, and there’s no need to try and build a long-term series.

If anyone is to blame for this, it’s Warner Bros, as the DCEU proved that you can get maybe two or three profitable movies out of a comic book franchise before poor quality starts hurting your box office returns.

“Gambit” feels like a shallow cash-grab for some desperate movie executives who are far too used to getting their own way.

This is a shame; perhaps if this movie were cancelled, and Marvel instead scrapped everything and made their own “Gambit” movie, the result would be something that would be even vaguely watchable!