Universal's Monster Movie Universe Looks Dead As Bosses Quit And The Mummy Flops

Dark and done.


When Universal officially launched its Dark Universe monster movie franchise in May, it looked set for success. The first movie in the series, The Mummy, starred Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, and the likes of Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem were lined up for future films. But the disappointing box office results for The Mummy and the indefinite delay of the second movie, The Bride of Frankenstein, have cast doubt on the future of the series.

It has now been reported that the two producers in charge of the franchise's creative direction have quit entirely. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have left to focus on other projects. Kurtzman is heavily involved with TV, including Star Trek: Discovery, while Morgan is writing the Fast & Furious spin-off which will star Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

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In a statement, Universal president of production Peter Cramer, said, "We've learned many lessons throughout the creative process on Dark Universe so far, and we are viewing these titles as filmmaker-driven vehicles, each with their own distinct vision. We are not rushing to meet a release date and will move forward with these films when we feel they are the best versions of themselves."

Whatever happens, there is no denying that this situation is a mess for Universal. The launch of the interconnected universe was very high profile, and THR states that the expensively refurbished Hollywood offices designed as a headquarters for the series are now sitting empty. As Cramer's statement suggests, one option the studio is reportedly considering is making standalone monster movies with established filmmakers, and abandoning the connected universe concept entirely.

The first sign that the Dark Universe was in trouble came last month, when Bride of Frankenstein director Bill Condon denied that his film was connected to a wider cinematic universe. "It has nothing to do with anything else. Nothing. Zero," he told Collider. Shortly after this, Universal cancelled pre-production entirely, and removed the film from its release slate.

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Avatar image for mursexxx


[who cares, didn't read]

Avatar image for bjohnson003

Tom Cruise vehicle , guest starring the Mummy.

Avatar image for teppolundgren

Good. Anything that hurts Scientology should be celebrated.

Avatar image for el_swanno

The irony is that the film was actually financially successful internationally. It only flopped in the English-speaking markets.

Avatar image for bat725

Well, I can tell you right off the bat, the problem was Kurtzman, he sucks.

Second, they need to make these movies dark and scary, but not necesssarily rated R. I don’t think sex or bad language will give them the tone of the originals. They should even consider filming in black and white.

And, they should definitely film these movies as standalone films, BUT, with the intent of eventually having them all get together in one movie. I grew up watching Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. It’s so cool seeing Bela Lugosi’s Dracula together with Lon Chaney’s Wolfman and Vincent Price’s Invisible Man. Just a darn shame they couldn’t get Boris Karloff to play Frankenstein, but that movie’s awesome!

Avatar image for SirNormanislost

you know what the problem was? no brenden fraiser

Avatar image for Keaze_

What is this connected-universe mania thing?

Who the f*** cares if the mummy happens in the same dimension as frankenstein or whatever. Who cares??

And clearly I don't know much about the movie business, but this sentence: "It has now been reported that the two producers in charge of the franchise's creative direction have quit entirely." Is it just me or the movies flopping are pretty much attributed to those two guys? I mean they are creative directors, so I guess they did a bad job? I can't imagine they're like "f*** this, universal's stuff isnt working". Didn't YOU oversee the movie..?

I might be wrong though. I'm not that familiar with the differences between director, producer, executive producer, etc.

Anyways, I watched The Mummy when I had absolutely nothing to do, and it wasn't even that bad of a movie.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

@Keaze_: it's because of marvel and its cinematic universe that raked in a motherload of money. As per usual the higher ups missed the point as to why that one succeeded.

Avatar image for xenomorphalien

Should we be surprised? The Mummy looked like trash from a mile away. And whatever the hell "The Bride of Frankenstein" was going to be, I'm sure it would be even worse. This had doom written on it from the start.

Avatar image for Pyrosa

Maybe Hollywood needs to understand that repeatedly casting their ultra-expensive "A-list" actors into everything is NOT what people want. They want good stories and fresh faces.

Anytime I see Will Smith, James Franco, Tom Cruise, etc., it's an immediate "waste no money on this" signal.

Avatar image for GinsuVictim

@Pyrosa: How did you manage to lump Franco in with those guys?

Avatar image for SirNormanislost

@GinsuVictim: ^^of all the names that could of been picked Franco certainly isn't on the tom cruise level

even will smiths career has been on the back slide for a while

Avatar image for lonewolf1044

So many remakes appearing lately and some of them are not well thought out. The Mummy for me was too soon for an remake and the star did not fit the role and was not well thought out. Sure you can throw a few scenes in that looks cool but the parts just gets bogged down.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

"When Universal officially launched its Dark Universe monster movie franchise in May, it looked set for success."

No it didn't LOL.

Avatar image for edwardnygma

@gamingdevil800: lol

Avatar image for s1taz4a3l

Well, thats what they get for putting a 60 year old 90% of the screen time as a lead just because he tested well with female demos.

And what a joke Jeckyll/Hyde were, i mean WTH russel crowe transform into a cockney..... if he doesnt take his medicine. It should be the other way around LOL.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

@s1taz4a3l: They should of tried to make a decent horror movie or horror/thriller like the latest IT movie. Also without Tom Cruise

Avatar image for lonewolf1044

@gamingdevil800: I agree, the series does not fit him and it is not because of what sect he follows. I like Cruise regardless of the what sect he follows.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

@lonewolf1044: Like this movie was a stinker but he was great in American Made.

Avatar image for jmartin1016

Who told them to make an action movie?

Avatar image for g4m1ngon

100% investment and 200% profit. wtF? How is that a failure?

Avatar image for pointingmonkey

@g4m1ngon: It's probably to do with how poorly the film performed at the domestic box office. Companies seem to sometimes lose faith, if a film doesn't at the very least make back its budget domestically. That's all I can think as to why this would be considered a failure. If you look at Hollywood rule of wanting 3 times the budget back, at the worldwide box office. The Mummy was a success. 125 million budget with 409 million box office is a 3.272 bigger return. But then I guess it all comes down to what sort of a deal Tom Cruise got. If he's taking home a percentage of the gross, it could cut into their profits.

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@g4m1ngon: Where are you getting 200% profit from?

Avatar image for bdrtfm

@g4m1ngon: That's a failure for Hollywood standards. "Blockbusters" like this are supposed to make 500% profit or they get mad and pound their fists on the floor because a hundred million or so is peanuts.

Avatar image for edwardnygma

@bdrtfm: True

Avatar image for catsimboy

When you have to keep changing the Mummy into some crazy sorcerer maybe it's time to realize that the Mummy just isn't a movie monster that translates well today. It's like Bela Lugosi's Dracula doing hypnosis stuff with his hands, it's friggin laughable now. People see scarier stuff on a daily basis than that (like the Burger King commercials). Let those movies stay in the past, people aren't interested in seeing new versions of them.

Avatar image for Richardthe3rd

@catsimboy: they could've taken the mummy and made it compelling. They failed miserably.

It's not the fault of the IP, it's the fault of the writers and the producers absolutely missing the mark.

Tom Cruise was miscast, and his PR goodwill has absolutely run-out thanks to his bat shit crazy social presence. There were a lot of small bad decisions with this that added up to a bad project, but the dark universe concept in and of itself wasn't the problem IMO.

Avatar image for catsimboy

@Richardthe3rd: The Mummy IP=Slow moving zombie wrapped in bandages chasing around Abbott and Costello. If you're going to do anything besides that why even call it The Mummy? Call it Adventures in Egypt or something because it barely has anything to do with a mummy.

Avatar image for profdet529

@catsimboy: Have you seen the original Mummy from 1932 staring Boris Karloff as Imhotep? He has a lot more in common with Dracula than the slightly more exotic pseudo-zombie we automatically think of. The sequel is where the shambler comes from. A modern version of the scheming, ancient Egyptian priest searching for his lost love could be decent.

Avatar image for catsimboy

@profdet529: Well either one they're not like the modern takes of The Mummy which are more like Indiana Jones action adventure movies.

Avatar image for bdrtfm

@catsimboy: Bram Stoker's Dracula was one my favorite monster movies. It had back story. It showed all the powers and limitations of Dracula and had some pretty freaky scenes in it. Great actors for it's time. That is how you do a good monster movie. Hollywood thinks special effects and super powers is all people want and how you make a good monster movie these days. It leaves nothing to the imagination and is way over the top. It's like each studio is trying to one up each other on how powerful and fresh their monster is rather than making a compelling and imaginative story.

Avatar image for bdrtfm

Their first mistake was starting off with a weak monster story . Seriously, all the nasty creatures that have been invented over the centuries and they decide to go with the mummy as their intro to the universe? Not like we didn't have 3 or 4 mummy movies not so long ago already. Their second mistake is taking their first mistake as a sign that nobody is interested in what they are trying to do and overreacting. Write a better story with a better monster/villain, focus on the movie and not the universe. I mean the entire series of scenes with Dr. Jekyll was just bad and distracting. The mummy was too boring and easily trapped. The mummy in the 1999 version was a kick azz, nasty looking piece of work. The mummy in this version was just meh. And Nick becoming this superduper freakazoid monster to fight monsters sounds kind of dumb as well. I mean, are they going to have the same guy taking on each monster in every movie a.k.a. Van Helsing with weird super powers instead of gadgets? Learn from your mistakes and make the next one better. Don't just say screw it and stick it on the shelf.

Oh, and enough with Cruise. He doesn't have the star power he once did. Get some younger actors current audiences can appreciate, not a bunch of actors that an old guy like me grew up watching.

Avatar image for m4a5

See, Marvel "started" their universe by focusing on the individual movie, then the universe as an afterthought. The Mummy was made with the focus of starting the dark universe.

And I guess it helps that Marvel has better quality control lol

Avatar image for MJ12-Conspiracy

personally for me I view what penny Dreadful did to be awesome stuff cus they took many gothic horror stories and created a really cool universe with it but what universal is trying to do isn't good at all, Dracula Untold was sorta interesting cus they tried to base it off the actual history but it was still pretty meh, The Mummy was doomed to fail in my eyes simply cus I've never cared for the whole curse of the mummy crap...FFS, those tomb robbers died cus they didn't take precautions and they breathed ancient spores that we don't have immunities to now, it wasn't a curse but sensationalist journalism even then blew it up.......meh

and a mummy is nothing more than a better dressed zombie, the corpse a king god perhaps but a zombie all the same......

why not get the rights to something else or invent new movies??? there's an idea, come up with something new...

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

@MJ12-Conspiracy: Penny Dreadful was really underrated and ended way too prematurely there was a lot of horror stories they left untouched with that series.

Avatar image for MJ12-Conspiracy

@gamingdevil800: actually the creators of the show said that when they got to season 3 they weren't sure where to go with it from there if they left it open ended so they just ended the story, capped it off and it worked, all the parts resolved pretty well.....

and yeah, there was a lot they could have worked in like the Hunchback, the black lagoon monster, mummies etc but I think they did good with what they had...

Avatar image for spartanx169x

@gamingdevil800: The marketing of Penny Dreadful was the downfall of it. I had not idea if what it actually was until the series got cancelled. I thought it along the lines of American Horror Story but in a different time period, when it actually wasn't. I'm sure many others had the same impression.

Avatar image for Xristophoros

all it takes is one flop to give up on an entire vision? have some backbone you greedy suits. next time you greenlight a film, ask yourselves if the script is any good and if you are making the right call. have some foresight or get the hell out of your position and leave it for someone who does. hollywood's image just keeps getting worse by the day.

Avatar image for jack00

Shame, it looked like a really cool idea :( I don't know why the critics decided to destroy the movie like that, it was good brainless entertaining fun. Seems today the more you trash talk something, the more people feel vindicated and smart or whatever...

Avatar image for superklyph

You know it was doomed the moment they randomly removed the Dracula movie from the universe.

Avatar image for bigdavex

Feels strange to say it, but even 2004's Van Helsing was a much better tribute to the classic Universal monster movies, since you could at least tell that the people making it were genuine fans of the original movies, even if they did end up producing a really stupid action film. The Mummy 2017 was just a cynical cash-grab of the worst kind.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@zero_juice: I did and it was awful. It started out alright, but the story was just silly - characters boring. The Brandon Fraser films were at least a good time (barring the third).

Avatar image for Xanthus179

@graffitiheart: I had to figure out what you meant by a third Mummy film, then I remembered that we don't talk about The Scorpion King. It's just too painful.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@Xanthus179: Oh I was talking about Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The Scorpion King is even worse. I guess there's a lot of competition for worst Mummy film.

Avatar image for eggs_benedict

@Xanthus179: i think he means the third mummy film: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Avatar image for hardcoregamer1

This is great news, all these movies should flop so hollywood is forced to be creative and come up with fresh ideas instead of making the same thing over and over again.

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