In spite of The Mummy’s poor performance, Universal insists that their shared cinematic universe will go ahead as planned.
The Mummy, the newest reboot of the 1932 Universal monster movie, underperformed with a domestic box office of $32.2 million. Starring Tom Cruise and featuring Sofia Boutella as the titular villain, the film is the first entry in Universal’s upcoming “Dark Universe.”
Directed by Alex Kurtzman, The Mummy took in a foreign box office of $141.8 million. Even in the face of The Mummy‘s terrible reviews, Universal has defended its fledgling franchise.
“The Dark Universe is a continuation of a love affair the studio has had with its classic monsters,” Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, told The Hollywood Reporter. “It is a Valentine to the genre that is in our DNA.”
Carpou is referring to the series of horror and science fiction films produced by Universal from the 1920s to the 1950s. Frequently starring Bela Lugosi (Dracula), Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, The Mummy), and Lon Chaney, Jr. (The Wolf Man), the films made Universal Studios famous back in the day.
Now Universal is back at it, but with considerably less success the second time around. While the Dark Universe “does not rest on the success or failure of The Mummy,” some horror fans are dubious.
First, we have the cast. Russell Crowe made his lackluster debut as Dr. Jekyll. Johnny Depp will play the Invisible Man in a future film. Given both actors’ heavily diminishing returns over the years, it’s safe not to expect much from these performances.
Then, we have the name. “Dark Universe?” Really? Just…really?
Finally, this convoluted film is not Universal’s only recent monster movie failure. In 2014, they released the critically panned Dracula Untold. Attempting to be an origin story for the vampire count, the movie had reshoots done to connect it to the Dark Universe.
However, Dracula Untold failed to elicit much enthusiasm one way or another. In spite of this, Universal announced last month that The Mummy would kick off their Dark Universe. The Mummy is no Iron Man, but Carpou gave us some hope:
"As each of these films is produced, each will have its own story to tell with unique aspirations. Each title will be its own entity."
At least Universal seems pretty confident in their next entry, Bride of Frankenstein, based on one of their most critically praised classics. And let’s face it. The Mummy‘s original source material wasn’t exactly quality cinema. The best we can do is wait and hope that The Mummy was a fluke.
Bride of Frankenstein will be directed by Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast) and will be released Feb. 14, 2019.