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C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Wolverine, Aronofsky and the sad state of Fox

Mar. 23, 2011by: Chris Bumbray

Last week, Darren Aronofsky; riding a career high after the tremendous critical and commercial success of BLACK SWAN, stepped down from 20th Century Fox’s upcoming X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE sequel, appropriately titled THE WOLVERINE. In the wake of his recent separation from actress Rachel Weisz, Aronofsky apparently re-prioritized his family commitments somewhat, and opted that the year-long production, slated to be shot on location in Japan was too long a separation. Fair enough. A movie is a movie, and family is family, and no one can fault Aronofsky for stepping down if that;s the reason.


That said, over the last few days, there’s been a lot of speculation that Aronofsky decided to step down due to BLACK SWAN’s success, which has made him bankable for the first time in his career. WOLVERINE was supposed to be the paycheck job that would do that, but instead audiences seem to have finally embraced Aronofsky’s work in its most undiluted form. Instead of WOLVERINE, I imagine he’ll be signing onto something less commercial, and more in line with his own interests as a filmmaker.

If that’s the case, then it’s still probably for the best that he’s stepping down, as who really wants to see a diluted Aronofsky film? Fans are understandably upset that he won’t be tackling the character, but how edgy would Fox have let Aronofsky make the film?


Since about 2005, 20th Century Fox, once one of the best studios in town, has made some of the worst “tentpole” films on record. Both FANTASTIC FOUR films, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, ERAGON, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, HITMAN, both ALIEN VS. PREDATOR films, THE HAPPENING, MEET DAVE, X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE, BABYLON A.D, MAX PAYNE, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI, DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION, ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS, THE A-TEAM, the list goes on and on. Other than the occasional fluke like TAKEN (produced by Luc Besson’s Europa Corp), AVATAR (credit that one to James Cameron alone, rather than the studio) and WALK THE LINE, their output has been atrocious.

Of course, this doesn’t include Fox Searchlight, with them consistently putting out good films. But as far as the high-profile blockbusters go, what the hell is going on? Considering their full production slate, at least a few of the films I listed should have been good, but none of them were. Why? I think the big problem is the infamous way that Fox seems to make these films by committee. Many of the films I listed, including HITMAN, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, X-FILES, BABYLON A.D, and WOLVERINE were apparently butchered in the editing room, with many of the directors going on record stating that Fox ruined their films by insisting on PG-13 ratings, and a 100 minute running time.

Gavin Hood’s been a scapegoat for the failure of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, but I doubt anyone working under the same circumstances could have made that into a good film, and that includes Aronofsky. The budget looks like it was nickled and dimed (Wolvie's claws are some of the worst CGI in memory), and I've heard a lot of the film was reshot by the studio in the hope of "saving it" but likely making it even worse (although, that's purely speculation on my part). Under Aronofsky, WOLVERINE might have been a tight superhero flick, but would they have allowed him to make it truly unique? Remember when Ridley Scott was forced to cut an hour out of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?


Perhaps we’re to blame, as Fox many not be good at making good movies, but they sure are good at making money. If we had taken a stand and boycotted X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, or the FANTASTIC FOUR films, maybe they would have seen the error of their ways- but they still made a mint off each film, no matter how bad they were.

To give Fox a modicum of credit, they are improving somewhat. Despite his experience on KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, Ridley Scott is returning to the studio to make the intriguing sounding PROMETHEUS. Whether or not they allow him to make a good film remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful. Matthew Vaughn was brought on board to make X-MEN FIRST CLASS, which seems to be an inspired choice, but once again- whether or not it ends up being a good film remains to be seen.

As for WOLVERINE, I’m convinced it’ll get made no matter what. It’s as inevitable as the sun rising in the morning, as it’s all but a guaranteed hit no matter how bad the film might end up. My hope is that greed won’t rule the day, and that they’ll wait for someone with a unique take on the material to come along, rather than assigning it to one of their resident hacks like John Moore. My choice would be for them to wait for Bryan Singer to wrap JACK THE GIANT KILLER, or give it to an interesting up-and-comer like Duncan Jones, or better yet- someone like Edgar Wright, who could probably make a killer comic book film. Sadly, I’m not too optimistic, as they likely want someone who’ll jump in right away and get the production rolling by the fall so they can make a summer 2012 release date.

Extra Tidbit: Of course, there's also the whole question of whether or not the film will still be shot on location in Japan in the wake of the Earthquake/reactor crisis. Hopefully, the studio will go through with their plan to shoot on location.
Source: JoBlo.com

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+9
11:36AM on 03/23/2011

God Bless You

You and I should be best friends. All I do is complain about how horrible of a studio Fox has become. They ruin almost everything they touch. The X-Files was the last straw for me. X-Men: First Class looks promising, but we'll find out soon enough.
You and I should be best friends. All I do is complain about how horrible of a studio Fox has become. They ruin almost everything they touch. The X-Files was the last straw for me. X-Men: First Class looks promising, but we'll find out soon enough.
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11:42AM on 03/23/2011

Where do I sign?

TCF needs to take lessons from WB... WB has been taking risks left and right with their properties and where it pays off, they have an invaluable franchise!

Having Aronofsky helm Wolverine is like giving Nolan Batman.... it's a gutsy move that breaks records!

TCF gave X-Men to Singer for two pretty great installments, then they let Ratner literally kill off the series!! Now they're trying to cash-in on the individual characters and I promise you that people will lose interest after
TCF needs to take lessons from WB... WB has been taking risks left and right with their properties and where it pays off, they have an invaluable franchise!

Having Aronofsky helm Wolverine is like giving Nolan Batman.... it's a gutsy move that breaks records!

TCF gave X-Men to Singer for two pretty great installments, then they let Ratner literally kill off the series!! Now they're trying to cash-in on the individual characters and I promise you that people will lose interest after another one like ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. Aronofsky would've turned that shit around.. he's a master storyteller and could've easily set the groundwork for a whole new stand-alone series.

TCF, what are you doing? Do what it takes to get that guy back!! GO!!!!!!
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11:49AM on 03/23/2011

Best thing to do

Best thing for Fox to do would be to wait until Aronofsky is ready to take on the film. (Or as you pointed out wait for Singer) That way it would give Jackman more time to work out and get to that huge body mass him and Darren were talking about. Also it would give Japan time to rebuild if they still plan on shooting there. Not to mention the script can continue to be worked on until it is perfect. Fans would have no problem waiting for this movie as long as the final project is everything that
Best thing for Fox to do would be to wait until Aronofsky is ready to take on the film. (Or as you pointed out wait for Singer) That way it would give Jackman more time to work out and get to that huge body mass him and Darren were talking about. Also it would give Japan time to rebuild if they still plan on shooting there. Not to mention the script can continue to be worked on until it is perfect. Fans would have no problem waiting for this movie as long as the final project is everything that it was hyped to be. There are so many damn comic book movies coming out it would be easy for them to fast track this and have it get lost among the sea of them. Wait until Aronofsky is ready and then knock this one out of the park.

I do think that there is more behind Aronofsky's reasoning than the family thing, but you actually brought up a good point about "Black Swan". Darren's films have never been bankable. I'm still surprised at how popular "Black Swan" became. It may not be my favorite Aronofsky film by any means but when I hear my mom and other casual moviegoers discussing an Aronofsky film, well that's just cool as hell. Whatever he does next is going to be great, like always, I just hope it's The Wolverine.

If I was Jackman I would demand more creative control over the film (hell the guy has played the character for four films and is one of the major reasons the movies are popular) That way if Darren doesn't come back Hugh can still keep some of his ideas alive.
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+5
11:54AM on 03/23/2011
I, too, was bummed that Aronofsky bailed, whether it was to stay away for a paycheck movie or because his marriage is crumbling, which personal issues could have played a bigger role because he actually seemed excited in interviews to do this. It's why Vaughn bailed out of X3 and it went to Ratner. All in all, it'll be business as usual as Fox. I'd like to see Tony Scott get it. He's been around long enough to play studio ball but not get pushed around like Hood did on Origins or any newer "it"
I, too, was bummed that Aronofsky bailed, whether it was to stay away for a paycheck movie or because his marriage is crumbling, which personal issues could have played a bigger role because he actually seemed excited in interviews to do this. It's why Vaughn bailed out of X3 and it went to Ratner. All in all, it'll be business as usual as Fox. I'd like to see Tony Scott get it. He's been around long enough to play studio ball but not get pushed around like Hood did on Origins or any newer "it" director right now, like Duncan Jones.
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1:28PM on 03/23/2011
Tony Scott would be an amazing choice. I honestly think he has been making better movies than his brother recently. Say what you will but in my opinion "Man on Fire" is one of the best films of the past decade. I loved the unique camera angles he used but I also agree he overused them a bit in "Domino".

However I think those fast cuts and edits could look brilliant if used doing Wolverine's berzerker rage mode. Imagine seeing it from Wolvie's eyes with quick flashes of him tearing people
Tony Scott would be an amazing choice. I honestly think he has been making better movies than his brother recently. Say what you will but in my opinion "Man on Fire" is one of the best films of the past decade. I loved the unique camera angles he used but I also agree he overused them a bit in "Domino".

However I think those fast cuts and edits could look brilliant if used doing Wolverine's berzerker rage mode. Imagine seeing it from Wolvie's eyes with quick flashes of him tearing people apart. Damn that would be awesome.
11:59AM on 03/23/2011
I agree with this. The first movie could have been better. I mean you have one of the most iconic, most bad ass comic book charactere ever and with all the great source material throughout the years you think it would be easy to make a really good Wolverine movie. I liked the first one for what it was and also because I am bias because I am a die hard X-Men fan and love everything X-Men.

Fox has screwed up alot of movies or have made these movies "less than average". But they're still not
I agree with this. The first movie could have been better. I mean you have one of the most iconic, most bad ass comic book charactere ever and with all the great source material throughout the years you think it would be easy to make a really good Wolverine movie. I liked the first one for what it was and also because I am bias because I am a die hard X-Men fan and love everything X-Men.

Fox has screwed up alot of movies or have made these movies "less than average". But they're still not the worst movies out there. They're all good fun, popcorn flicks.

As for who should direct "The Wolverine". Either wait for Aronofsky to get his act together or let Singer/Duncan Jones/Edgar Wright/Matt Reeves direct.
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1:06AM on 03/24/2011
your still here?
your still here?
2:09PM on 03/23/2011
Matt Reeves, interesting suggestion. I wouldn't have come up with that myself but, now said, that might be a good idea.
Matt Reeves, interesting suggestion. I wouldn't have come up with that myself but, now said, that might be a good idea.
+2
12:00PM on 03/23/2011
Pretty much agree 100%.

It could be a big combination of reasons for Aronofsky's departure, but I wouldn't be surprised if Fox's committee approach to butchering films had some influence. Also, I'd rather see him tackle his own projects.
Pretty much agree 100%.

It could be a big combination of reasons for Aronofsky's departure, but I wouldn't be surprised if Fox's committee approach to butchering films had some influence. Also, I'd rather see him tackle his own projects.
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12:09PM on 03/23/2011

It's not for his family...

Think about it. He signed the contract for Wolverine before Black Swan came out. He probably saw Nolan (who also burst on the scene in 1998) making comic book money, and wanted a taste. So they offer him $5 million and he accepts not because he wants to, but because just for once he wants to earn millions for a movie.

Fast forward to now, Black Swan is a huge success, he gets an 8-figure reward and thus has no reason to do Wolverine. THAT'S why he's out.
Think about it. He signed the contract for Wolverine before Black Swan came out. He probably saw Nolan (who also burst on the scene in 1998) making comic book money, and wanted a taste. So they offer him $5 million and he accepts not because he wants to, but because just for once he wants to earn millions for a movie.

Fast forward to now, Black Swan is a huge success, he gets an 8-figure reward and thus has no reason to do Wolverine. THAT'S why he's out.
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+10
12:16PM on 03/23/2011
Fox superhero movies are like Platinum Dunes horror movies. They suck because the people pulling the strings suck and are trying to make every film into whatever is popular at the moment. I guarantee that no director could make a good film with Fox's involvement.
Fox superhero movies are like Platinum Dunes horror movies. They suck because the people pulling the strings suck and are trying to make every film into whatever is popular at the moment. I guarantee that no director could make a good film with Fox's involvement.
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12:22PM on 03/23/2011
I wholeheartedly agree w/ you on the point the Fox is a shit show in how they operate. Unfortunately though I'm quite pessimistic (and I'm usually very optimistic) on another Wolverine movie. I think we've already seen Wolvie at his best in X2. X3 and Origins are such bad memories that maybe its time to give the big lug a break from film.
I wholeheartedly agree w/ you on the point the Fox is a shit show in how they operate. Unfortunately though I'm quite pessimistic (and I'm usually very optimistic) on another Wolverine movie. I think we've already seen Wolvie at his best in X2. X3 and Origins are such bad memories that maybe its time to give the big lug a break from film.
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1:12PM on 03/23/2011
I can't believe that you guys are still holding out hope for X-men: First Class. I liked Kick-Ass. I like Mathew Vaughn's style. X-men: First Class was a bad idea from the get go. I might catch it on Netflix.
I can't believe that you guys are still holding out hope for X-men: First Class. I liked Kick-Ass. I like Mathew Vaughn's style. X-men: First Class was a bad idea from the get go. I might catch it on Netflix.
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+8
1:31PM on 03/23/2011
You also forgot Daredevil as well. And I dont know how it was possible to make Wolverine's claws look worse in Origins than in the first X-Men movie. Really did their technology get worse in 10 years?
You also forgot Daredevil as well. And I dont know how it was possible to make Wolverine's claws look worse in Origins than in the first X-Men movie. Really did their technology get worse in 10 years?
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1:58PM on 03/23/2011

Well said

Despite by the speculation of what goes on behind the scenes. It cannot be stressed enough just how consistently shit FOX blockbuster Films have been. This is also a company that spews "FOX NEWS" propaganda disguised as Journalism. So I can honestly say I don't expect much here.

Shitty that My Favourite Comic book character is in the Hands of these Rich Pricks who make money by making shit movies.

It proves that content of the film means fuck all, and that marketing of the film is what
Despite by the speculation of what goes on behind the scenes. It cannot be stressed enough just how consistently shit FOX blockbuster Films have been. This is also a company that spews "FOX NEWS" propaganda disguised as Journalism. So I can honestly say I don't expect much here.

Shitty that My Favourite Comic book character is in the Hands of these Rich Pricks who make money by making shit movies.

It proves that content of the film means fuck all, and that marketing of the film is what makes them money providing by dumbing down movies to fit the PG rating. (Notice how EVERY movie seems to be PG?)

I wish this movie was given to me to Direct. :(
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2:30PM on 03/23/2011
Studios are only trustworthy when they give the director complete control over the final product. Unfortunately for Wolvie, unlike most studios, Fox doesn't give the director complete control unless his name ends in Cameron.

When Aronofsky was announced, it looked like they had enough confidence in his recent success that they were going to let him fly with whatever he wanted. But now that he's out, I wouldn't count on Fox picking someone as good as Aronofsky.

Given how bad X3 and
Studios are only trustworthy when they give the director complete control over the final product. Unfortunately for Wolvie, unlike most studios, Fox doesn't give the director complete control unless his name ends in Cameron.

When Aronofsky was announced, it looked like they had enough confidence in his recent success that they were going to let him fly with whatever he wanted. But now that he's out, I wouldn't count on Fox picking someone as good as Aronofsky.

Given how bad X3 and Origins were (and how poor Origins' box office was) you'd think Fox would be willing to pay top dollar to an incredible director to helm The Wolverine. Let's hope that is the case.

Personally, I'll only be interested in this project if they get another Auteur on board (Alfonso Cuarón, Park Chan-wook, etc.)
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3:01PM on 03/23/2011

Well...

...I hate to be the one to catch you up on current events, but Hollywood's all ready screwed up Wolverine. Time to move on and hope that in a few years when they decide to "reboot" everything, that they do it right.
...I hate to be the one to catch you up on current events, but Hollywood's all ready screwed up Wolverine. Time to move on and hope that in a few years when they decide to "reboot" everything, that they do it right.
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3:20PM on 03/23/2011
The unrated version of Hitman is so much better.
The unrated version of Hitman is so much better.
Your Reply:



3:36PM on 03/23/2011
I think I liked AvP2 because The Wolf was an amazing lead Predator. Also, I think I'm just a fanboy :/ meh
I think I liked AvP2 because The Wolf was an amazing lead Predator. Also, I think I'm just a fanboy :/ meh
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+4
7:19PM on 03/23/2011
Two solutions for "The Wolverine"
- Shoot the movie in the US.
I know the story takes place in Japan but exteriors can be shot in a month and the rest of the movie shot in american studios.

- If Aronofsky can't be convinced to stay: Hire Christopher McQuarrie.
He wrote the script and his "The Way of the Gun" is extremely underrated. He probably has more experience with action than Aronofsky
Two solutions for "The Wolverine"
- Shoot the movie in the US.
I know the story takes place in Japan but exteriors can be shot in a month and the rest of the movie shot in american studios.

- If Aronofsky can't be convinced to stay: Hire Christopher McQuarrie.
He wrote the script and his "The Way of the Gun" is extremely underrated. He probably has more experience with action than Aronofsky
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7:44PM on 03/23/2011
Personally, I don't feel that X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, or THE A-TEAM are bad films. Wolverine was still one of the best "tentpole" films of the weak summer of 2009. Could it have been better? Sure. Was it as bad as people pretend it to be? Hell no. Fox does have some turds on that list but so does all the other studios.
Personally, I don't feel that X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, or THE A-TEAM are bad films. Wolverine was still one of the best "tentpole" films of the weak summer of 2009. Could it have been better? Sure. Was it as bad as people pretend it to be? Hell no. Fox does have some turds on that list but so does all the other studios.
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8:02PM on 03/23/2011
I guess its as robo cop 2 demonstrated in a classic scene. Get a couple of idiots together with a bunch of stupid ideas and even the most effective of things can be turned into a walking piece of shit.
I guess its as robo cop 2 demonstrated in a classic scene. Get a couple of idiots together with a bunch of stupid ideas and even the most effective of things can be turned into a walking piece of shit.
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9:28PM on 03/23/2011
Overall, I agree with this article, but I am not sure if I shall ever understand the hate and bile launched at "The A-Team". It's a helluva lot better than the fucking "Expendables".
Overall, I agree with this article, but I am not sure if I shall ever understand the hate and bile launched at "The A-Team". It's a helluva lot better than the fucking "Expendables".
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2:22PM on 03/24/2011
Hmm... better, no. Equal, perhaps. There was good things and bad things about each of them. I was impressed overall with both movies though, and I'm patiently awaiting their inevitable sequels.
Hmm... better, no. Equal, perhaps. There was good things and bad things about each of them. I was impressed overall with both movies though, and I'm patiently awaiting their inevitable sequels.
+0
10:15PM on 03/23/2011
i just hope they wait it out and really think it through before bringing in any director.
i just hope they wait it out and really think it through before bringing in any director.
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11:13PM on 03/23/2011

C'MON JOBLO #1 - GET SOME NEW MATERIAL

see: C'Mon Hollywood #190, #203

and for the record, Die Hard 4 was awesome.
see: C'Mon Hollywood #190, #203

and for the record, Die Hard 4 was awesome.
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4:43AM on 03/24/2011
#swag
#swag
4:43AM on 03/24/2011
oh what a price to pay the trains were 15 minutes late OH WHAT A PRICE TO PAYYYY TO BE THE AUTHOR OF YOUR FATE
oh what a price to pay the trains were 15 minutes late OH WHAT A PRICE TO PAYYYY TO BE THE AUTHOR OF YOUR FATE
4:42AM on 03/24/2011
anyone who knows anything about fucking anything die hard knows that die hard 2 is the one that sucks and 4 captures the spirit of mctiernan much more effortlessly... get the fuck outta my thread weak otaku
anyone who knows anything about fucking anything die hard knows that die hard 2 is the one that sucks and 4 captures the spirit of mctiernan much more effortlessly... get the fuck outta my thread weak otaku
1:04AM on 03/24/2011
Die Hard 4 fucking sucked....in fact it's NOT Die Hard 4, because it doesn't belong with the original 3.
Die Hard 4 fucking sucked....in fact it's NOT Die Hard 4, because it doesn't belong with the original 3.
11:34PM on 03/23/2011
20th century fox does suck assed holes but they do so unneccessarily. Why can't they take note of what warner bros/legendary has done with their films in the last six years;

Batman Begins (2005)
Superman Returns (2006)
Lady in the Water (2006)
The Ant Bully (2006)
Beerfest (2006)
We Are Marshall (2006)
300 (2007)
10,000 BC (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Watchmen (2009)
Observe and Report (2009)
The Hangover (2009)
Trick 'r Treat (2009)
Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Ninja
20th century fox does suck assed holes but they do so unneccessarily. Why can't they take note of what warner bros/legendary has done with their films in the last six years;

Batman Begins (2005)
Superman Returns (2006)
Lady in the Water (2006)
The Ant Bully (2006)
Beerfest (2006)
We Are Marshall (2006)
300 (2007)
10,000 BC (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Watchmen (2009)
Observe and Report (2009)
The Hangover (2009)
Trick 'r Treat (2009)
Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Ninja Assassin (2009)
Clash of the Titans (2010)
Jonah Hex (2010)
Inception (2010)
The Town (2010)
Due Date (2010)
Sucker Punch (2011)


Yeah, some of those are shit, but the ones that aren't are amazing films and they perform well at the box office. Case and point; Schumacher fucked up the batman franchise so WB let chris nolan take a stab at it and BB helped resusitate life back into the franchise and gave it credibility. Once people saw that batman was good again TDK destroyed records at the box office. So Fox, let directors take a chance and make good films because when they do score, they usually score big.
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9:02AM on 03/24/2011
Think Im in the minority here, but was never keen on seeing another Wolverine movie, specially as Xmen 1-3 were pretty much all about him.

However, would have been interesting to see DA's take on it.

Personally would much prefer to see other characters from the X-men stable get their own movies - Gambit, or Psylocke maybe for my choice...
Think Im in the minority here, but was never keen on seeing another Wolverine movie, specially as Xmen 1-3 were pretty much all about him.

However, would have been interesting to see DA's take on it.

Personally would much prefer to see other characters from the X-men stable get their own movies - Gambit, or Psylocke maybe for my choice...
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9:44AM on 03/24/2011

Huh?

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD?
STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI? DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION?
THE A-TEAM?

I think all these movies were better than expected. Live Free or Die Hard was better than Die Hard 3. The Chun Li movie was much better than the first Street Fighter movie (possibly one of the worst movies of all time). And while Dragonball was lackluster, I thought the casting was good, although I never watched the original animation.

Anyway, you forgot Daredevil and Elektra. Daredevil
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD?
STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI? DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION?
THE A-TEAM?

I think all these movies were better than expected. Live Free or Die Hard was better than Die Hard 3. The Chun Li movie was much better than the first Street Fighter movie (possibly one of the worst movies of all time). And while Dragonball was lackluster, I thought the casting was good, although I never watched the original animation.

Anyway, you forgot Daredevil and Elektra. Daredevil was cut to ribbons, so I've heard, but the finished product wasn't a bad movie. Elektra was a bad movie but a good Elektra movie would have to be rated R. She's not a goody two shoes hero. The same logic would apply to making a Catwoman movie.
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