Hugh Jackman Considered ‘The Greatest Showman’ a Huge Risk
Hugh Jackman on 1 of his riskiest movies
Jackman showcased his talent for music in the 2017 movie The Greatest Showman. The film was a bit of a passion project for the actor, and was based on the life of showman P.T. Barnum. Speaking to Today, Jackman shared that he got the idea to do the film after hosting the Academy Awards one night.
“The producer said, ‘You’ve done movies for Wolverine. You’ve done musicals on Broadway and the West End. You should put the two together,” Jackman said.
But right from the beginning, the Oscar-nominated actor knew it would be difficult for the feature to make it to the big screen. The Greatest Showman being a musical meant that studios might not have been willing to take a chance on the project.
“I think just the climate of Hollywood was like, ‘There’s just too many risks. There’s too much to do. It’s too much, let’s not do that anymore.’ I mean, there’s been musicals, obviously: Les Mis, Mamma Mia. But an original movie musical is really hard. So that was, yeah, seven years ago, and here we are,” Jackman once said in an interview with Jess Cagle (via Yahoo).
Jackman also felt that musicals were either considered really good or really bad with little gray area in between. This added a bit more pressure on The Greatest Showman.
“A bad musical stinks to high heaven, but when a musical works, there’s nothing like it,” Jackman once told Variety. “People are screaming and cheering. Nothing I’ve found has matched it. By the end, as you take the curtain call, there’s no sense you’re in front of strangers. It’s an intimacy you get that’s more intense than you have with people you’ve known for many years. It’s everyone coming together and opening their heart.”
Hugh Jackman was worried about ‘The Greatest Showman’ when it had 1 of the worst theater openings in history
The Greatest Showman received mixed reviews from critics. But film-goers seemed to enjoy it well enough – so much so that, according to The Numbers, the movie pulled $429,968,454 worldwide. Off a budget of $85 million, its gross was more than impressive. The Deadpool 3 star considered the film’s success a huge payoff for the effort and hard work put into the feature.
“The amount of work, the amount of risks that the studio took, first time director, Justin and Benj were just starting out. A musical of that size, we were told it was not a good idea. There are so many underdog elements to this story,” Jackman told E! Insider in a 2018 interview.
But initially, the film’s financial outlook didn’t look too healthy. The Fountain star admitted that he was a bit concerned when the film’s opening numbers started coming in.
“I’m still a little bit in shock. Yeah, I was worried! Everyone was worried. And by the way, when we opened, I believe we were the second worst opening of any movie in Hollywood history. I probably had good reason to be worried,” he once told Radio Times.
Hugh Jackman joked that he wouldn’t mind a sequel to ‘The Greatest Showman’
The Greatest Showman seemed to tell a complete story. But Jackman’s Showman co-star Michelle Williams once shared that she wouldn’t mind doing a sequel to the project. In an interview with People, he quipped he wasn’t opposed to revisiting Showman again, either.
“Listen, if you know anything about my filmography, you’d know I’m totally against sequels in every shape or form,” he joked. “No more than nine films!”