The Dark Universe Is Dead—I’m Sure Someone Is Upset by That Somewhere
It seems like after the dismal numbers that The Mummy (2017) brought in that Universal is finally letting go of their dreams of a Universal Movie Universe aka The Dark Universe.
This is not a huge loss. I may have nostalgia for the 90s/00s The Mummy duo (I will not recognize that Rachel Weisz-less film), but those movies were at least silly campy fun with some decent PG-13 horror. While it was awesome that this remake decided to bring in a lady Mummy (#feminism?), the whole idea that it was this film that was supposed to usher in a multi-movie franchise…eh.
Universal had extensive plans for the franchise. The Bride of Frankenstein was meant to follow The Mummy in 2019. They would be joined by new versions of Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Invisible Man, and Phantom of the Opera.
How about you still make those movies and just make them good? I mean all of these films are due for an upgrade of some kind, I especially would be interested to see how a more book accurate Phantom of the Opera would fill out, but hopefully with more Christine and less…ugh Raoul.
Also, Hunchback of Notre Dame would be especially timely now in Paris considering the current anti-immigrant climate that is sweeping all of Europe.
However, at the end of the day, this was a solid case of counting your chickens before they hatch. I know that now in this world of multiple superhero movies a year it seems strange to not have a shared universe, but the first Iron Man was not created to launch the MCU. I remember being so excited to see it in theaters, not because I cared about Iron Man, but I (a) thought the trailer looked interesting and it was something I’d never seen before and (b) major burning thirst for Robert Downey Jr. The first Iron Man film was excellent and because it was it allowed the universe to expand slowly into something more.
Universal was ready to do all of these projects before even seeing how the film would do. Not to mention you cast Johnny Depp as your leading man in The Invisible Man? Poor choices all around. We’ve also done the whole Victorian monsters share a world thing: it was called Penny Dreadful and it was excellent.
The lesson to take from this and from the DCEU is that if you want to create a multiple film series you need to make sure that at the very least your first movie is good. At least.
(via The Verge, image: Universal Pictures)
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