X-Men (film series
Cover of X-Men – The Ultimate Collection, the 2011 Blu-ray box set of the first five films
|Produced by||Lauren Shuler Donner|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Budget||Total (7 films):
|Box office||Total (7 films):
The X-Men film series consists of superhero films based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. 20th Century Fox obtained the film rights to the characters in 1994, and after numerous drafts, Bryan Singer was hired to direct X-Men (2000) and its sequel, X2 (2003). Singer left the potential third and fourth films, leaving Brett Ratner to direct X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). X-Men and X2 were met with positive reviews for their dark, realistic tone and subtexts dealing with discrimination and intolerance, while X-Men: The Last Stand was met with mixed reviews.
After each film earned higher box-office grosses than its predecessor, three spin-off films were released. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), directed by Gavin Hood, features Wolverine‘s origin story. X-Men: First Class (2011), directed by Matthew Vaughn, focuses on the origins of Professor X and Magneto. The Wolverine (2013), directed by James Mangold, follows Wolverine after the events of The Last Stand. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was met with negative reviews from critics, while X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine were received more positively.
The seventh film, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) featured the return of the original trilogy cast and Singer as the director. Serving as a dual sequel to both X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class, it was met with critical acclaim.
With seven films released, the X-Men film series is the 13th highest-grossing film franchise of all-time, having grossed over $2.6 billion worldwide. It is set to continue with X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), a sequel to Days of Future Past, and a third Wolverine film (2017).
In 1994, 20th Century Fox and producer Prawan Singh bought the film rights to the X-Men. Andrew Kevin Walker was hired to write, and James Cameron expressed interest in directing. Eventually, Bryan Singer signed on to direct in July 1996. Though not a fan of the comic, Singer was fascinated by the analogies of prejudice and discrimination it offered. John Logan, Joss Whedon, Ed Solomon, Christopher McQuarrie and David Hayter wrote the script, with Hayter receiving sole credit. Principal photography began in September 1999 and ended in March 2000, in Toronto, Canada. The film was released on July 14, 2000.
The film introduces Wolverine and Rogue into the conflict between Professor Xavier‘s X-Men, and the Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto. Magneto intends to mutate world leaders at a United Nations summit with a machine he has built, to bring about acceptance of mutantkind, but Xavier realizes this forced mutation will only result in their deaths.
David Hayter and Zak Penn were hired to write their own scripts for the sequel which director Bryan Singer would pick, with an aim to release the film in December 2002. Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris were hired to re-write the script in February 2002, writing around 26 drafts and 150 on set. Principal photography began on June 2002 in Vancouver, Canada and ended in November. The film was released on May 2, 2003.
In the film, Colonel William Stryker brainwashes and questions the imprisoned Magneto about Professor Xavier’s mutant-locating machine, Cerebro. Stryker attacks the X-Mansion, and brainwashes Xavier into locating every mutant on the planet to kill them. The X-Men must team up with the Brotherhood and prevent Stryker’s worldwide genocide.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Bryan Singer initially intended to shoot the film back-to-back with a fourth film, though he left in 2004 to direct Superman Returns. Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn were hired the following month. Joss Whedon‘s Astonishing X-Men story “Gifted”, featuring a mutant cure was suggested for the primary story. Matthew Vaughn came on board as director in February 2005, but left due to the rushed production schedule. Brett Ratner was later chosen as director in June. Principal photography began in August 2005 in Vancouver, Canada and ended in January 2006. The film was released on May 26, 2006.
In the film, a pharmaceutical company has developed a suppressor of the mutant gene, provoking controversy in the mutant community. Magneto declares war on the humans and retrieves his own weapon: the Phoenix, who is the resurrected former X-Man, Jean Grey. A final battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood ensues, and Wolverine must accept that in order to stop Jean, he will have to kill her.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
David Benioff was hired to write the screenplay for the spin-off film Wolverine in October 2004. Hugh Jackman became producer as well as star, and worked with Benioff on the script. Brett Ratner was negotiated by the studio to take the helm of Wolverine after directing X-Men: The Last Stand, but no agreement was made. In July 2007, Gavin Hood was announced as director. Principal photography began in January 2008 in Queenstown, New Zealand and ended in May. The film was released on May 1, 2009.
The film is a prequel focusing on the character Wolverine and his relationship with his half-brother Victor Creed, as well his time with Team X founded by William Stryker, before and shortly after his skeleton was bonded with the indestructible metal adamantium.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Producer Lauren Shuler Donner first thought of a prequel based on the young X-Men during the production of X2, and later producer Simon Kinberg suggested to 20th Century Fox an adaptation of the comic series of the same name. Bryan Singer signed on to direct the film in December 2009, however, in March 2010 it was announced that Singer would be producing instead of directing. Matthew Vaughn, who was previously attached to direct X-Men: The Last Stand became the director, and also wrote the final script with his writing partner Jane Goldman. The film superseded a planned X-Men Origins: Magneto that entered development hell, and despite that prequel’s script not being used by any of the screenwriters as inspiration, the Writer’s Guild of America arbitration still credited Magneto writer Sheldon Turner for the film’s story. Principal photography began in August 2010 in London, England and ended in December. The film was released on June 3, 2011.
The film is a prequel set primarily in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, and the origin of their groups — the X-Men and the Brotherhood, respectively.
The Wolverine (2013)
Christopher McQuarrie, who went uncredited for his work on X-Men, was hired to write the screenplay for the second Wolverine film in August 2009. Darren Aronofsky was chosen to direct the film, though bowed out, stating the project would keep him out of the country for too long. James Mangold was later chosen to direct the film. Mark Bomback was then hired to rewrite McQuarrie’s script. Principal photography began in August 2012 in Sydney, Australia and ended in November. The film was released on July 26, 2013.
The film takes place after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand. The story features Wolverine heading to Japan for a reunion with a soldier named Ichirō Yashida whose life he saved years before. Wolverine must defend the man’s granddaughter Mariko Yashida from all manner of ninja and Yakuza assassin.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Matthew Vaughn was attached to the film as director but left the director duties in October 2012 to focus on the film Kingsman: The Secret Service. Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films and produced X-Men: First Class replaced Vaughn as the director of the film. The screenplay was written by Simon Kinberg. Principal photography began in April 2013 in Montreal, Canada and ended in August. The film was released on May 23, 2014.
The film takes place after the events of The Wolverine and features the cast of the original X-Men trilogy and X-Men: First Class. The story inspired by Chris Claremont and John Byrne‘s X-Men comic book storyline “Days of Future Past“, features Wolverine going back in 1973 to prevent an assassination that, if carried out, will lead to the creation of a new weapons system called the Sentinels that threatens the existence of mutants – and potentially, all of humanity.
Upcoming and potential films
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
In December 2013, director Bryan Singer announced on Twitter that X-Men: Apocalypse will come out in 2016. According to Singer, the film will focus on the origins of the mutant species, will be “more of a First Class sequel”, and will take place in the 1980s. Kinberg, Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty are working on the film along with Singer. McAvoy, Fassbender, Hoult, Lawrence, Jackman and Peters will reprise their roles, and Channing Tatum will appear as Gambit. The film will also feature the younger versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm. It is scheduled to be released on May 27, 2016.
Wolverine 3 (2017)
By November 2013, 20th Century Fox had begun negotiations for another solo film starring Wolverine. Mangold is in negotiations to write the treatment for the film with Donner returning to produce. Mangold has said the sequel will be inspired by other Wolverine stories from the comic books and it will be made after X-Men: Apocalypse. Hugh Jackman is set to reprise his role as Wolverine. David James Kelly was hired to write the script for the film. The film is scheduled to be released on March 3, 2017.
20th Century Fox is in development for a film version of the X-Men spin-off comic-book series X-Force. Jeff Wadlow was hired to write the script and Donner is attached to the film as a producer. Mark Millar stated that the film will feature five characters as protagonists.
In 2004, New Line Cinema attempted to produce a Deadpool film. In February 2004, writer/director David S. Goyer was working on the spin-off with actor Ryan Reynolds in the title role. However, by August 2004, Goyer lost interest in favor of other projects, but Reynolds remained interested. In March 2005, 20th Century Fox became interested in moving forward on production for Deadpool after New Line Cinema put the project in turnaround. The studio considered the Deadpool spin-off early in the development of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is why Reynolds was cast for the role. After the opening weekend success of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the studio announced that it was lending Deadpool out to writers with Lauren Shuler Donner and Marvel Studios acting as producers. Donner stated that she wants the film to ignore the version of Deadpool seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and reboot the character. She also stated that Deadpool will have the attributes that the character has in the comics, such as breaking the fourth wall. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were hired to write the script in January 2010. Robert Rodriguez was sent an early draft of the screenplay in June 2010. After negotiations with Rodriguez fell through, Adam Berg emerged as a top contender to direct. In April 2011, visual effects specialist Tim Miller was hired to direct the film.
These are the characters that appeared in more than two X-Men films.
|X-Men||X2||X-Men: The Last Stand||X-Men Origins: Wolverine||X-Men: First Class||The Wolverine||X-Men: Days of Future Past|
|Director||Bryan Singer||Brett Ratner||Gavin Hood||Matthew Vaughn||James Mangold||Bryan Singer|
|Producer(s)||Lauren Shuler Donner
|Lauren Shuler Donner
|Lauren Shuler Donner
Bryan Singer (uncredited)
|Lauren Shuler Donner
|Lauren Shuler Donner
|Lauren Shuler Donner
|Executive producer(s)||Avi Arad
Avi Arad (uncredited)
Joe Caracciolo, Jr.
Ashley Edward Miller
|Composer||Michael Kamen||John Ottman||John Powell||Harry Gregson-Williams||Henry Jackman||Marco Beltrami||John Ottman|
|Director of photography||Newton Thomas Sigel||Dante Spinotti||Donald M. McAlpine||John Mathieson||Ross Emery||Newton Thomas Sigel|
|John Ottman||Mark Goldblatt
|Nicholas De Toth
|Michael McCusker||John Ottman|
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office gross||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|Worldwide||United States||United States||International||Worldwide||All time
|X-Men||July 13, 2000||July 14, 2000||$157,299,717||$139,039,810||$296,339,527||#235||#326||$75 million|||
|X2||April 30, 2003||May 2, 2003||$214,949,694||$192,761,855||$407,711,549||#124||#182||$110 million|||
|X-Men: The Last Stand||May 24, 2006||May 26, 2006||$234,362,462||$224,997,093||$459,359,555||#98||#145||$210 million|||
|X-Men Origins: Wolverine||April 29, 2009||May 1, 2009||$179,883,157||$193,179,707||$373,062,864||#179||#209||$150 million|||
|X-Men: First Class||June 1, 2011||June 3, 2011||$146,408,305||$207,215,819||$353,624,124||#269||#237||$160 million|||
|The Wolverine||July 24, 2013||July 26, 2013||$132,556,852||$282,271,394||$414,828,246||#337||#175||$120 million|||
|X-Men: Days of Future Past||May 21, 2014||May 23, 2014||$124,500,629
(as of May 28, 2014)
(as of May 27, 2014)
(as of May 28, 2014)
The first three X-Men films set opening records in the United States: X-Men had the highest July opening yet, while X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand earned the fourth highest opening weekends yet. All of these records have since been surpassed. The next three X-Men films after X-Men: The Last Stand opened lower than their predecessor and didn’t set opening records.
The X-Men film series is the third most successful film series based on Marvel Comics characters after the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Spider-Man films respectively. It is also the 13th highest-grossing film franchise of all time, having grossed over $2.6 billion worldwide.
|X-Men||82% (154 reviews)||64 (33 reviews)|
|X2||87% (224 reviews)||68 (37 reviews)|
|X-Men: The Last Stand||58% (231 reviews)||58 (38 reviews)|
|X-Men Origins: Wolverine||38% (253 reviews)||40 (39 reviews)|
|X-Men: First Class||87% (244 reviews)||65 (38 reviews)|
|The Wolverine||69% (214 reviews)||60 (43 reviews)|
|X-Men: Days of Future Past||91% (209 reviews)||74 (43 reviews)|
Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe praised the first three X-Men films as “more than a cash-guzzling wham-bang Hollywood franchise… these three movies sport philosophy, ideas, a telethon-load of causes, and a highly elastic us-versus-them allegory.” Morris praised X-Men: The Last Stand for “put[ting] the heroes of a mighty summer blockbuster in a rare mortal position. Realism at this time of year? How unorthodox!” Roger Ebert gave the films good reviews, but criticized them because “there are just plain too many mutants, and their powers are so various and ill-matched that it’s hard to keep them all on the same canvas.”
The first two films were highly praised due to their cerebral tone, but when director Bryan Singer left, many criticized his successor Brett Ratner. Colin Colvert of the Star Tribune felt “Singer’s sensitivity to [the discrimination themes] made the first two X-Men films surprisingly resonant and soulful for comic-based summer extravaganzas… Singer is adept at juggling large casts of three-dimensional characters, Ratner makes shallow, unimaginative bang-ups.” James Berardinelli felt, “X-Men: The Last Stand isn’t as taut or satisfying as X-Men 2, but it’s better constructed and better paced than the original X-Men. The differences in quality between the three are minor, however; despite the change in directors, there seems to be a single vision.” David Denby of The New Yorker praised “the liquid beauty and the poetic fantasy of Singer’s work”, but called Ratner’s film “a crude synthesizer of comedy and action tropes.” Singer’s third film in the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past was also highly praised. Alonso Duralde of The Wrap felt that “Singer keeps things moving along briskly enough that you can just go along with the ride of Superhero Stuff without getting bogged down”.
The X-Men films received good reviews from fans of the comic books, but there was criticism of the large cast, and the limited screentime for all of them. Richard George of IGN praised the depictions of Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey, Storm, William Stryker, Mystique, Beast and Nightcrawler; however, George thought many of the younger X-Men characters, such as Rogue, Iceman, Pyro, and Kitty Pryde were “adjectiveless teenager[s]”, and was disappointed by Cyclops‘ characterization. He observed the filmmakers were “big fans of silent henchmen”, due to the small roles of the various villainous mutants; such as Lady Deathstrike. George thought that the success of X-Men paved the way for other hits like the Spider-Man series, Fantastic Four, V for Vendetta and Singer’s own adaptation of Superman, Superman Returns. Spider-Man director Sam Raimi said he was a fan of the series, particularly Singer’s films. Film historian Kim Newman also tonally compared Batman Begins to Singer’s films.
In June 2000, Marvel published a comic book prequel to X-Men, titled X-Men: Beginnings, revealing the backstories of Magneto, Rogue and Wolverine. There was also an adaptation of the film. Marvel also released an adaptation of X2, which also contained prequels detailing Nightcrawler‘s backstory and Wolverine’s time searching for Alkali Lake. Del Rey Books also published novelizations of the three films. The latter two were written by Chris Claremont. On July 6 a video game X-Men: Mutant Academy for PlayStation and Game Boy Color was released by Activision. It shares the title fonts and a number of costumes from the film. The game also contains the behind-the-scenes material from the first X-Men movie, which may be unlocked. In April 2003, a multi-console video game titled X2: Wolverine’s Revenge was released, which served as a tie-in to X2. A significant feature has Mark Hamill providing the voice-over for Wolverine with Hugh Jackman‘s likeness, while Patrick Stewart reprises his film role as Professor X. In 2006, X-Men: The Official Game was released, which was set between X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. In 2009, the video game X-Men Origins: Wolverine based on the movie of the same name was released.
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