A decade is a lifetime in the film industry – and two decades is enough to reshape the landscape as we know it.
Take the comic book movie genre as an example. Back in 1997, the industry was still reeling from the disappointment of Batman Returns, and aside from The Crow and Blade, comic book movies struggled to gain much traction. How times change.
By 2017, the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Warner’s fledgling DC Extended Universe have become industries of their own, and tend to pump out two-to-three blockbusters (see: Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League) with each year that passes. That breathless output will seemingly continue long into the 2020s, given we recently learned that Disney has closed a deal to acquire Fox’s entertainment assets, thereby leaving the door open for the X-Men (and Fantastic Four! and Deadpool!) to join Marvel’s ever-evolving universe. Talk about greatness from small beginnings.
But these big-screen adaptations weren’t always viewed as sure-fire hits, as Hugh Jackman revealed during Variety’s candid Actors on Actors segment.
As a matter of fact, there was a time when the Logan star feared his first X-Men movie would fall flat, which would have left his acting career in jeopardy.
Per Variety, Hugh Jackman told Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) that he initially received a tip from an old friend:
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.
How wrong he was. Not only did Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie soar, it also launched Wolverine into the mainstream. Jackman continued to wield the adamantium claws for another 17 years, but Logan signaled the end of an era. And with Disney now in possession of Fox’s mutants, it’s only a matter of time before the Mouse House casts the net in search of a new Wolvie – if it hasn’t already.