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Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Oct. 4, 2023

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Hugh Jackman going out on top

Many actors bow out of successful film franchises


With razor-sharp accuracy — and claws — Hugh Jackman nailed the character of Wolverine, so it was disheartening when he announced that “Logan” would be his last outing as the mutant in the Marvel Comics film franchise. But the actor cited several reasons — age and his skin cancer diagnosis — as factors in his decision.

No one can claim it was a lack of moviegoers — “Logan” debuted with box-office sales of $85.3 million, the fourth-largest March opening weekend. Jackman can join these other actors who bid farewell to a successful movie series at the peak of its success.

• SEAN CONNERY, THE 007 FILMS — After 1967’s “You Only Live Twice,” the virile Scotsman shook up his final martini primarily because he felt underpaid, given his box-office performance. He may have been right: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) with replacement George Lazenby was the least successful Bond film to date. Connery returned for “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971) for a salary bump up to $1.25 million and 12.5 percent of the profits, but then left the series again. (He did make a surprising, final, return for 1983’s “Never Say Never Again.”)

• STEVE GUTTENBERG, “POLICE ACADEMY” — No one expected the low-budget, lowbrow “Police Academy” (1984) to take in $81.2 million and spawn six sequels. Guttenberg played recruit Mahoney through the fourth entry, “Citizens on Patrol.” The reason he stopped pounding the “Police Academy” beat was simple: “They just decided they’d had enough of paying me,” Guttenberg told the entertainment website The A.V. Club in 2015. “It was one of those deals: they just didn’t want to pay me any more.”

• MEGAN FOX, “TRANSFORMERS” — Fox reportedly opted not to reprise her role as Mikaela Banes, the girlfriend of protagonist Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (2011) because she had clashed with director Michael Bay. “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is,” she told Wonderland magazine in 2009.

• JENNIFER LAWRENCE, “X-MEN” — Even before the release of last year’s “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the Oscar-winning actress had indicated that this might be her final appearance as the blue-toned, shape-shifting Mystique. “It is my last one, actually,” she told MTV in 2015, although Lawrence did say last year that she might consider coming back if co-stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender returned.