Universal are determined to keep churning out movies based on their stable of classic monsters one way or another, with the latest approach having seen the studio switch their focus from the misguided star-powered blockbusters which conspired to kill the Dark Universe at the first hurdle, to lower budget efforts that are much more filmmaker-driven.
Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man was a fantastic step in the right direction, raking in over $130 million at the box office on a $7 million budget and receiving widespread critical acclaim. And just like the that, the floodgates have opened once again and now Whannell will direct Ryan Gosling in The Wolfman, while Karyn Kusama’s Dracula, Elizabeth Banks’ The Invisible Woman, Dexter Fletcher’s Renfield, Paul Feig’s Dark Army and many more are all in various stages of development.
A while back, James Wan was attached to a new take on Frankenstein, but the Aquaman director has switched gears it seems and will instead produce a fresh spin on Van Helsing through his Atomic Monster company, with Overlord‘s Julius Avery locked in to helm and rewrite a script initially penned by longtime Marvel scribe Eric Pearson, who’s been credited on Thor: Ragnarok and Black Widow, as well as doing polishes on everything from Ant-Man to Avengers: Endgame.
Avery has just wrapped Sylvester Stallone’s gritty superhero movie Samaritan, so the Van Helsing reboot could theoretically be up and running pretty quickly. The legendary monster hunter is a key part of the Dracula lore, and has more than enough potential to anchor a multi-film series of his own, although the smart money is on Avery’s version being a lot smaller in scale than the overstuffed 2004 blockbuster starring Hugh Jackman, which had enough plot and action to carry three movies.