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UPDATE! Hugh Jackman now says he'd never sign a decade-long Wolverine contract. Says Jackman, "I would never do that. I’ve never done that mainly because, for the fans and for me, each time I’ve gone around there’s been a really good reason to do it and I don’t know what that reason is from here."
X-Men have been played on screen by Oscar winners and stage legends and the owner of some extremely famous, uh, hardware. But there is only one X-Man who is incredibly famous for playing a mutant, and that's Hugh Jackman-- which makes him incredibly valuable to the franchise as it goes forward. Fresh off the modest but significant success of The Wolverine, Jackman has proved his worth to the franchise all over again… and he's apparently aiming to get paid handsomely for it.
Granted, this news is coming from The National Enquirer, where they're reporting that Jackman has been offered $100 million to star in four more Wolverine movies. The Enquirer isn't exactly known for their track record of breaking Hollywood scoops, and they quote a "movie company spokesman" who says that "money is obviously no object"-- something that no actual spokesman would ever say in Hollywood, an industry phenomenally talented at crying poor while raking in millions. Then again, the Enquirer was the first publication to catch on to John Edwards' affair, so they're not exactly making up all of their stories.
More importantly, the Jackman story sounds believable, as Fox ramps up for next summer's big X-Men: Days of Future Past and continues to work to milk the X-Men for all they're worth. Even as Marvel Studios works to bring all their original characters back under the family umbrella, Fox is hanging on to X-Men, and is likely to continue pursuing standalone movies for separate characters now that Wolverine has done it twice. Sure, a standalone movie starring Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique would do huge business, but Jackman still remains the studio's biggest brand, and being able to slip Wolverine into a movie he's not really even part of-- like his cameo in X-Men: First Class-- remains a powerful thing for audiences.
It's unclear in this Enquirer report if Jackman would be starring in four more standalone Wolverine movies, or simply playing the character four more times-- my guess is it's the former. It would be an astonishing amount of money for an actor to turn down, but Jackman is already very wealthy as it is. The future of Wolverine, and with him maybe all of the X-Men, could rely on whether a very rich actor wants to continue getting richer.
To see Jackman's starpower in action, check out The Wolverine in theaters now-- or for the general idea, just watch the trailer below.