‘Mined to death’? ‘X-Men’ director says Hollywood is killing the superhero movie

Aug. 06, 2010 | 4:18 p.m.
X-Men First Class team

The clock is ticking on the superhero craze in Hollywood, according to Matthew Vaughn, the director now filming “X-Men: First Class” for Fox in London.

“It’s been mined to death and in some cases the quality control is not what it’s supposed to be,” Vaughn said. “People are just going to get bored of it.”

Vaughn, who produced, directed and co-wrote “Kick-Ass,” says he pounced on the chance to make a film about the uncanny mutants from Marvel Comics because he expects the current boom in superhero cinema to fizzle out in the near future.

“I’ve always wanted to do a big-budget superhero film and I think we’ve kind of crossed the Rubicon with superhero films,” Vaughn said. “I think [the opportunity to do one], it’s only going to be there two or three more times.”

“Then,” he added, “the genre is going to be dead for a while because the audience has just been pummeled too much.”

Next summer, “X-Men: First Class” will join “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Thor” and “Green Lantern” in a parade of costumed heroes in big-budget films at the cineplex.

Vaughn said audience fatigue is already starting to set in. The subject material can’t sustain the Hollywood trample, he said, and the inevitable box-office duds and derivative projects will mark the end of the gold rush by studios.

“It is a crowded room,” Vaughn said “It’s too crowded.”

Claudia Schiffer and Matthew Vaughn

The 39-year-old filmmaker (who is married to German model Claudia Schiffer) is known for a candor that is rare in Hollywood circles.

He had been in talks to direct the third “X-Men” film but that didn’t work out (he instead went off to make the underrated “Stardust“) and the superhero project went to Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour“), who delivered “X-Men: The Last Stand,” the 2006 film that became the biggest money-maker in the franchise despite far more sour reviews than the two previous films.

Vaughn didn’t shy away from slagging on Ratner’s film: “As it happens, I could have made something a hundred times better than the film that was eventually made,” Vaughn told the Daily Telegraph. “It sounds arrogant, but I could have done something with far more emotion and heart.”

Vaughn made his mark in movies as the producer of three Guy Ritchie films — “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Snatch” and “Swept Away.” He made his directorial debut with “Layer Cake” in 2004. “X-Men: First Class,” starring James McAvoy as Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) and Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr (aka, Magneto) is due in theaters in June 2011.

– Geoff Boucher

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IMAGES: Top and bottom, “X-Men: First Class” by John Cassaday (Marvel Comics). Middle, Claudia Schiffer and Matthew Vaughn at the March premiere of “Kick-Ass” in London (Fergus McDonald/Getty Images)

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