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While comic book movies are basically the most consistently performing blockbusters in today's Hollywood, the genre had plenty of naysayers back in 2000 when the first X-Men blockbuster was coming out. At that time it was unclear if film adaptations of the material would actually work, or if the material would only speak to geek audiences and nobody else. This was a serious concern for everyone involved with the production, but apparently someone went as far as to tell star Hugh Jackman at the time that he needed to prepare for it to be a total failure:
I remember finishing the first movie, and a mate of mine who was in Hollywood, he goes, 'Dude, I've heard not very good things about the movie. You really should book something else before it comes out.' So, there was about a 4-month gap, he goes, 'Just make sure you got something else, because when it comes out you're back down at the bottom of the pile again, you know?' Happily, he was wrong, but no one really knew, there was no comic book genre. Comic book movies were really not around at the time.
Thanks to the awards push for Logan and the theatrical release of The Greatest Showman, Hugh Jackman has been super busy this fall, and recently had a chance to sit down with Variety to discuss the earliest days of his most iconic character. The Australian actor, who was a nobody in the film industry back in 2000, discussed the fact that X-Men was very much seen as a risk when it was first coming out, but fortunately it wound up being a hit that totally changed the entire industry.
Of course, the success of X-Men (which made nearly $300 million globally) wound up totally changing Hugh Jackman's career as well, turning him into an icon of the genre. Since then, Jackman has played Wolverine nine different times, and while all of the movies experienced different degrees of success, the man became permanently associated with the hero. Now that he's retired from the franchise it will be interesting to see how he moves forward with his career, but the reality is that we will always associate him with playing the world's feistiest six-clawed mutant.
Seventeen years after its debut, the X-Men franchise is now going as strong as it ever has, and 2018 is shaping up to be a huge year for the brand. Not only will it be the first 12 month period with three new wide releases - The New Mutants, Deadpool 2 and X-Men: Dark Phoenix - but we also expect to see Gambit start production in the coming weeks. Be sure to stay tuned for more details on those projects and more as we head into the new year.