X-Men (film series)
|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 (5 films):
|Box office||Total (5 films):
The X-Men film series consists of superhero films based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The films star an ensemble cast, focusing on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy) and Magneto (Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender). The films follow Wolverine as he is drawn into the conflict between Xavier and Magneto, who have opposing views on humanity's relationship with mutants. Xavier believes humanity and mutants can coexist, but Magneto believes that mutants are destined to rule humanity. The films also developed sub-plots based on the comics' "Weapon X", "Dark Phoenix", and "Days of Future Past" storylines.
20th Century Fox earned 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: X-Men United (2003). Singer left potential third and fourth films to direct Superman Returns, leaving Brett Ratner to direct X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). Critics praised Singer's films for their dark, realistic tone and subtexts dealing with discrimination and intolerance, while Ratner's film was met with mixed reviews.
As each film out-grossed its predecessor, Fox developed additional films, starting with X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), a prequel directed by Gavin Hood explaining Wolverine's origin story. It was followed by X-Men: First Class (2011), another prequel directed by Matthew Vaughn that focuses on the origins of the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, while retconning some plot points from the main trilogy. The series is set to continue with The Wolverine (2013), a spin-off directed by James Mangold about Wolverine after the events of The Last Stand, and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), a dual sequel to both The Last Stand and First Class, with Singer returning as director.
X-Men (2000) 
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. Filming took place from September 22, 1999, to March 3, 2000, in Toronto. The film was released in theaters on 14 July 2000.
The first X-Men film introduced 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.
X2: X-Men United (2003) 
Fox hired David Hayter and Zak Penn to write their own scripts for the sequel which 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. Production began on June 17, 2002, in Vancouver and wrapped by November. The film was released on 2 May 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 third film back-to-back with a fourth, though he left in 2004 to direct Superman Returns. Singer had only completed a third of a treatment focusing on Phoenix, and introducing Emma Frost, a role intended for Sigourney Weaver and Gambit a role Singer meant for Keanu Reeves to portray. Additionally, Singer wanted to showcase more characterizations of Rogue, Iceman, and Pyro. Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn were hired the following month, and a studio executive read Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men story "Gifted", featuring a mutant cure, suggesting it for the primary story. Matthew Vaughn came on board as director in February 2005, but left due to the rushed production schedule. Brett Ratner took over in June, and filming began in August 2005. The film was released on 26 May 2006.
In the film, a pharmaceutical company has developed an antidote to the mutant gene, provoking controversy in the mutant community. Magneto declares war on the humans and retrieves his own weapon: the telekinetic and telepathic Phoenix, who is the resurrected former X-Man, Jean Grey. After Phoenix kills Cyclops, a final battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood ensues, and Wolverine must accept that in order to save Jean from her second personality, he will have to kill her.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) 
David Benioff was hired to pen 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. He did not see the need for an R rating. 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. Unlike the other films, it was shot in Australia and New Zealand.
The film is a prequel focusing on the character Wolverine and his relationship with his half-brother Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), as well his time with Team X, before and shortly after his skeleton was bonded with the indestructible metal adamantium. The film was released on 1 May 2009.
X-Men: First Class (2011) 
Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film stars James McAvoy as the young Charles Xavier, and Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr. It is a prequel focusing on "the formative years of Xavier and Magneto, and the formation of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Children and where their relationship took a wrong turn." The villains of the film are the Hellfire Club, featuring Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw and January Jones as Emma Frost. Bryan Singer signed on to direct the film in December 2009, however, in March 2010 it was announced that Singer would be producing X-Men: First Class instead of directing. The film began principal photography in September 2010 in London. The film was released on 3 June 2011 and received positive reviews from critics.
The Wolverine (2013) 
Christopher McQuarrie, who went uncredited for his work on X-Men, was hired to write the screenplay for the Wolverine sequel 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. Filming began in August 2012 in Australia and ended in November. The movie is scheduled to be released on 26 July 2013. The film is intended to be a stand-alone film, taking place after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) 
Directed by Bryan Singer, the film will feature the cast of the original X-Men trilogy and X-Men: First Class. Set in 1973, 10 years after X-Men: First Class, the film features a script from Simon Kinberg and is said to be inspired by Chris Claremont and John Byrne's X-Men comic book storyline, "Days of Future Past". Matthew Vaughn was supposed to direct the film but left the director duties to focus on Mark Millar's The Secret Service film adaptation. Vaughn will still be attached to the film writing alongside Kinberg and producing. Principal photography began in April 2013. The film is scheduled to be released on 18 July 2014.
Potential films 
20th Century Fox's creative consultant for film based on Marvel Comics, Mark Millar, stated that the upcoming reboot of the Fantastic Four film series might share continuity with the X-Men film series, creating a shared universe similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe produced by Marvel Studios. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner expressed interest in having the X-Men characters appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, saying, "I would love it. I personally have close ties to Marvel because of Kevin Feige, because Kevin worked for me. But to take our characters and mingle them in the way that they were written, yeah, absolutely."
As far back as 2003, New Line Cinema was attempting 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. "We would completely reinvent it," Goyer explained. "We can't connect it to Weapon X or anything like that." 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, Fox 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 that we saw in Wolverine and just start over again. Reboot it. Because this guy talks, obviously, and to muzzle him would be insane." She also confirmed 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. Filming was scheduled to begin with Reynolds in 2012. In April 2011, it was announced that visual effects specialist Tim Miller would be directing the film. According to Miller, it's up to 20th Century Fox whether or not the film happens.
Recurring characters 
Box office performance 
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|Worldwide||United States||United States||International||Worldwide||All time
|All time worldwide|
|X-Men||July 13, 2000||July 14, 2000||$157,299,717||$139,039,810||$296,339,527||#220||#292||$75,000,000|||
|X2||April 30, 2003||May 2, 2003||$214,949,694||$192,761,855||$407,711,549||#113
|X-Men: The Last Stand||May 24, 2006||May 26, 2006||$234,362,462||$224,997,093||$459,359,555||#87
|X-Men Origins: Wolverine||April 29, 2009||May 1, 2009||$179,883,157||$193,179,707||$373,062,864||#165||#171||$150,000,000|||
|X-Men: First Class||June 1, 2011||June 3, 2011||$146,408,305||$207,215,819||$353,624,124||#251||#210||$160,000,000|||
|The Wolverine||July 24, 2013||July 26, 2013|||
|X-Men: Days of Future Past||
Some of the 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. X-Men: The Last Stand and X2 rank as the tenth and twelfth most successful superhero films, while X-Men is twenty first. The third, second and first films are the fifth, sixth and seventh most successful Marvel Comics adaptations, as well as overall the seventh, eighth and fifteenth most successful comic book adaptations. It is Marvel's third most successful film series after the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Spider-Man films respectively.
Critical response 
|X-Men||82% (155 reviews)||64 (33 reviews)|
|X2||87% (224 reviews)||68 (38 reviews)|
|X-Men: The Last Stand||57% (229 reviews)||58 (38 reviews)|
|X-Men Origins: Wolverine||38% (252 reviews)||40 (39 reviews)|
|X-Men: First Class||88% (241 reviews)||65 (37 reviews)|
Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe praised the 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." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle, criticized the films' themes, saying "The pretensions take the form of the central metaphor that compares mutants to people of extraordinary, groundbreaking talent. That metaphor is bogus... The vision at the heart of X-Men – of a golden Utopia in which humans live side by side with mutants – is absurd."
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 "Bryan 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."
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." 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.
Tie-in material 
On June 1, 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. 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 with the same name was released.
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