There’s no shame in the opening installment of a planned franchise failing to do what was intended, when we’ve seen plenty of blockbusters designed with the intention of launching a multi-film series fall spectacularly at the first hurdle.
However, the same project accomplishing the feat twice under different circumstances is nothing if not unique, even though Dracula Untold managed to land a fairly unwanted place in the history books as a result.
Luke Evans’ Vlad the Impaler was once set to lead his own supernatural set of big screen adventures, but reshoots set even bigger plans in motion, before precisely nothing materialized in the aftermath.
Dracula Untold did a decent turn at the box office after earning $217 million on a $70 million budget, but a 25% Rotten Tomatoes score wasn’t the greatest of critical returns. A modern-day epilogue looked to position Evans as a key part of the Dark Universe for good measure, before that too was quickly squashed.
The Mummy director Alex Kurtzman disregarded it as canon very early on, effectively rendering the final five minutes of Dracula Untold as utterly pointless. When his Tom Cruise vehicle tanked and brought about the death of the Dark Universe in record time, it inadvertently upped Gary Shore’s reinvention of Bram Stoker’s literary creation to zero-for-two.
Dracula Untold didn’t get a sequel, it was given a brand new ending to lead into a shared universe it was never acknowledged as an official part of, and then found itself swept under the rug once the Dark Universe fell apart. Ouch.
Hardly the stuff of legend, then, but it has proven to be a consistently solid performer among streaming subscribers. Now available on HBO Max, it’s appeared out of nowhere to become the sixth most-watched title on the platform in the United States, as per FlixPatrol.