‘X-Men: First Class’ is a lesson in franchise evolution

June 05, 2011 | 7:23 a.m.

Michael Fassbender in "X-Men: First Class." (Twentieth Century Fox)

The sleekest superhero film of the summer is “X-Men: First Class,”  and Steven Zeitchik has an astute look at the business moves behind the mutant epic that has taken a proven franchise into new territory. Here’s an excerpt, but read the whole piece (With “X-Men: First Class,” Fox tries a new mutation), which ran on the front page of Saturday’s Business section.

Although the fifth installment in the franchise about superhero mutants resembles many of Hollywood’s summer offerings — a big-budget action movie based on a popular comic book series — the latest “X-Men” is a vastly different creature that presents some unique marketing challenges.

The movie, which cost News Corp.-owned Fox and its two financial partners $160 million to produce before tax breaks, replaces its most bankable star, Hugh Jackman, with an ensemble of less proven younger actors led by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. It’s also the most ambitious production yet from director Matthew Vaughn, mainly known for smaller-scale independent films such as last year’s “Kick-Ass” and the 2005 crime thriller “Layer Cake.”

And “X-Men” is set against such historical events as the 1962 Cuban missile crisis that are unfamiliar to much of the film’s target audience of teens and twentysomethings. Fox executives say they believe that some of these peculiarities will work in their favor as the movie debuts this weekend. “We feel we have a number of big advantages,” said Oren Aviv, Fox’s chief marketing officer. “This is a film that feels contemporary but it has iconic images from the 1960s.”

With stars like James McAvoy already mulling over the sequel opportunities and Vaughn proving himself to be a director who can handle pressure and work effectively with big stars, Fox has now positioned itself to move forward with a franchise that looked pretty shaky not all that long ago.

– Geoff Boucher

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Comments


7 Responses to ‘X-Men: First Class’ is a lesson in franchise evolution

  1. Jack says:

    "And “X-Men” is set against such historical events as the 1962 Cuban missile crisis that are unfamiliar to much of the film’s target audience of…twentysomethings…"

    What gave you the idea that twentysomethings don't know about the Cuban Missile crisis?

  2. zadocpaet says:

    Great movie, but the greatest? I don't think so. But really, really good.
    POLL: Is X-Men: First Class better than The Dark Knight?
    LINK: http://www.wepolls.com/r/622478

  3. brettghampton says:

    Shouldn't that be "the sleekest superhero film yet of the summer"? Have you seen "Green Lantern" or "Captain America: The First Avenger" yet?

  4. Adamo says:

    I'm so sick of the "forty/fifty-and above-somethings" thinking that the "twentysomethings" don't know anything.

  5. Brizeycon says:

    Saw it yesterday, best of the X-men franchise in my opinion, I loved it, but does it top Dark Knight…..hard tro compare, they are different types of movies, different types of heroes, both along with Watchmen are now my Favourite superhero movies,

    Would love to see Vaughn do the next Wolverine

  6. eagle1 says:

    Emory University bioethics professor Paul Root Wolpe explores the science and ethics of human genetic mutation and how it applies to the X-Men.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh30K_kMyCU

  7. bgroxs says:

    boooo to that…its not even for kids its for babies….they should have made some costumes….puting a girl bug….wat a shit class.wasted 2 hours of ma life….

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