Logan hits theaters at the beginning of next month, and tickets for opening weekend are selling fast. Box-office projections for Logan, an R-rated comic book adaptation, have it making between $55 million – $60 million on its first three days in theaters. Thus far, the risk seems to be paying off for 20th Century Fox, who needed quite a bit of convincing to try something so bold and new with their most popular X-Men character.
The combined success of Deadpool, another R-rated comic book adaptation, and the determination of Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold to improve on their second collaboration (The Wolverine) eventually sold the studio on the idea of Logan. 20th Century Fox chairman, Stacey Snider, recently spoke about the studio’s initial reaction to Jackman and Mangold’s pitch of a third and final Wolverine film being a Western:
“Inside, there was real consternation about the intensity of the tone of the film. It’s more of an elegy about life and death. The paradigm for it was a Western, and my colleagues were up in arms. It’s not a wise-cracking cigar-chomping mutton-sporting Wolverine, and the debate internally became, isn’t that freakin’ boring? Isn’t it exciting to imagine Wolverine as a real guy and he’s world-weary and he doesn’t want to fight anymore until a little girl needs him?”
Say what you will about 20th Century Fox’s overall inconsistency to produce a coherent X-Men universe, but they’re doing big things for the genre by taking risks like these. If Logan is as successful as Deadpool, it’ll once again prove that comic book movies are capable of breaking the current genre mold and become their own sub-genre films with a distinctive tone (i.e. The Dark Knight). As a fan of the genre, I encourage these difficult decisions to gamble, but only when the creative vision calls for it.