The future of the nascent Dark Universe was thrown into doubt when this summer’s The Mummy received heavily negative reviews and failed to live up to box office expectations. With a whole host of other horror remakes starring big names lined up – e.g. Johnny Depp’s The Invisible Man – Universal are still expected to continue their plans to create a unified monster-filled universe, but will likely take things in a different direction from what was initially mapped out.
Recently, things seemed to be settling down for the Dark Universe, especially when director Bill Condon teased some fresh details about his remake of 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, starring Javier Bardem as the famous monster and Angelina Jolie as his titular bride. He even hinted that it was to go before the cameras early next year. So far, so good, right? Well, unfortunately, it looks like he spoke too soon.
Deadline are today reporting that Universal have hit the pause button on production in order to allow further work on the script to be done by David Koepp. Pre-production had just begun in London ahead of the expected February 1st start, but now crew members have been told pack up and return home for the foreseeable future. Deadline have also been assured that Bardem and Jolie are still on board the project and are happy to wait for the go-ahead.
The studio released a statement earlier today explaining what had happened:
“After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone Bride of Frankenstein. None of us want to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together.”
You can understand Universal’s hesitation to jump into another movie without making totally sure that they’re on the right track. One of the big criticisms of The Mummy was the confusion over its tone: did it want to be a crowd-pleasing action/adventure flick? Or a more traditional supernatural horror?
The studio needs to make sure that Bride of Frankenstein doesn’t have a similar identity crisis if it is to outshine its predecessor in terms of critical – and, they would hope, financial – success, and as such, it’s easy to see why they’re hitting the pause button here.