Development of X-Men began as far back as 1984 with Orion Pictures, with James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow in discussions at one point. The film rights were bought by 20th Century Fox in 1994, and various scripts and film treatments were commissioned from Andrew Kevin Walker, John Logan, Joss Whedon, and Michael Chabon. Singer signed to direct in 1996, with further rewrites by Ed Solomon, Singer, Tom DeSanto, Christopher McQuarrie, and Hayter, in which Beast and Nightcrawler were deleted over budget concerns from Fox. X-Men marked the Hollywood debut for Jackman, a last-second choice for Wolverine, cast three weeks into filming. Filming took place from September 22, 1999 to March 3, 2000, primarily in Toronto.
X-Men premiered at Ellis Island on July 12, 2000, and was released in the United States on July 14, 2000. It was a box office success, grossing over $296.3 million worldwide, and received positive reviews from critics, citing its performances, story, and thematic depth. The film's success led to a series of sequels, prequels, and spin-offs, with the overall success of the series spawning a reemergence of superhero films, a genre that would remain highly popular for the next two decades.