LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hugh Jackman on Friday slashes his way back to his starmaking role as a razor-clawed mutant in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" after his glitzy turn hosting the Oscars and starring in romance "Australia" that flopped at U.S. box offices.

The change is good for the Aussie star because of the exposure it brings, but despite the box office appeal of the "X-Men" movies, Jackman said these days he leans more toward starring on Broadway, where he won a Tony.

It's Jackman's fourth turn as tough-talking Wolverine, a role he won in the 2000 film "X-Men," fresh from starring in a London stage production of the musical "Oklahoma!"

"There's no doubt that as soon as this movie came out, that my career was like a Great Dane dragging me down the street," Jackman told Reuters about the last nine years of his career.

The 2000 "X-Men" made $296 million at worldwide box offices and helped usher in the latest wave of comic book movies. The 2003 "X2" topped that with $408 million, and the 2006 "X-Men: The Last Stand" burst past it at $459 million.

Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media by Numbers reckons "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" could fetch from $85 million to $100 million at U.S. box offices on its debut weekend -- the first weekend of Hollywood's summer season.

Jackman, 40, said playing Wolverine has been a challenge because of the "sustained energy" he needs while shooting.

"Underneath you've got to feel he's ready to explode all the time," he said of the character.

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photo: Actor Hugh Jackman gestures as he attends the premiere of the movie "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" in Tempe, Arizona, April 27, 2009 (REUTERS/Joshua Lott).