Top Producers Depart Universal Monsters 'Dark Universe' Franchise as Studio Changes Course


Perhaps the funniest part of last summer's reboot of The Mummy is before the film even begins: The planet-shaped Universal logo continues turning longer than it should to eclipse itself into a brand-new Dark Universe logo. That lopsided worldwide performance is similar to Pacific Rim and Snow White and the Huntsman, both of which earned sequels, but Mummy may not have provided enough enthusiastic momentum to build an interconnected series of monster movies with big name talent like Cruise, Johnny Depp, and Javier Bardem attached. Cracks started to show when Alex Kurtzman, one of the franchise's leading minds, stated that he wasn't sure about his commitment to future monster-themed films.

The Dark Universe that Universal Pictures dreamt up a year ago is probably coming to an end. Word from the studio was that the film wasn't cancelled, merely "postponed", with the previously-set February 14, 2019 release date scrapped.

The follow-up movie to The Mummy is also now in serious doubt as The Hollywood Reporter revealed the current fate of the Dark Universe today.

Now, despite that hopeful statement, we shouldn't expect to have a monster-themed cinematic universe anytime soon. They already acquired Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe in The Mummy.

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The next movie was expected to be The Bride of Frankenstein, with Angelina Jolie talked about as the lead.

"This affords Alex Kurtzman more time for a project that is really working well: Star Trek Discovery", says New York-based freelance critic Jordan Hoffman, host of the official Star Trek podcast, who was in attendance of a Mummy screening that elicited unintended laughter from the crowd. One of those paths involves launching standalone films with other producers, possibly including Blumhouse head and horror mastermind Jason Blum. Another is to focus more on lower budget individual monster movies disconnected from a larger framework.

"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", Universal president of production Peter Cramer said. The decision allows Kurtzman to focus on Star Trek: Discovery, which he is now producing, while Morgan is returning to the Fast and Furious universe. Yes, says comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, pointing to Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man: Homecoming success after the franchise had lost its footing with 2014's Amazing Spider-Man 2 or Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok, which had an opening weekend that outperformed the two previous Chris Hemsworth-led solo outings.