Things aren’t looking too good for Universal’s Dark Universe.
As is standard for Hollywood’s interwoven franchises, the studio ran the risk of putting the cart before the horse by announcing big-budget fantasy flicks based on cinema’s most iconic creatures – think The Invisible Man and Frankenstein’s Monster – long before The Mummy became the first domino to fall. That was back in June, and after swallowing a financial hit in excess of $95 million, it’s clear that Universal’s classic monsters universe has endured a rocky start.
In the fallout of The Mummy, reports claimed that internal meddling and the so-called ‘Cruise Control’ effect hampered production, resulting in an overstuffed blockbuster that was so concerned with setting up the future that it failed to deliver a half-decent story centering on Sofia Boutella’s unruly deity. To make matters worse, we’re learning that director Alex Kurtzman is now mulling over his future within the Dark Universe.
Speaking to IGN during the promotion of Star Trek: Discovery, Kurtzman cast doubt over his involvement in Universal’s franchise, stating, “You know the truth is, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I haven’t really decided. Is the honest answer.”
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Kurtzman is still listed as a producer on 2019’s Bride of Frankenstein, not to mention future DU movies like Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man and Van Helsing. Last we reported, Channing Tatum was being eyed to headline the latter, but there’s no question that the studio’s cinematic universe is still in a state of flux.
While discussing Star Trek: Discovery and knowing when to walk away from a series, Kurtzman noted:
I have to stay interested in it. I have to feel like my passion is there for it. I think in the case of Star Trek if your passion isn’t there you shouldn’t be doing it.
In a separate interview, the filmmaker touched base on The Mummy‘s success overseas, and whether future entries in the Universal franchise will cater to international audiences.
It’s hard for me to know, is the truth. I think every movie will be different. I certainly know that the legacy of the monsters have endured across the world throughout the years. Almost a century. So I have to believe American audiences will find it too with the right ingredients.
The Mummy clearly dealt a heavy blow to Universal’s Dark Universe, though it remains to be seen if Kurtzman will walk away altogether. As things stand, next up for the DU is the release of Bride of Frankenstein on February 14th, 2019. Beauty and the Beast helmer Bill Condon is behind the lens for that one.