Marvel made shared universes fashionable in Hollywood, which led to everyone wanting to have their own. Neither could rival Disney-owned superheroes, but there is one especially memorable case for bad, Universal’s Dark Universe.
May 22 was called to be a day for history at Universal. It was then that the world premiere of ‘The mummy’ took place, a relaunch of the mythical creature with the presence of Tom Cruise as an additional claim to the public. It was also when the producer officially announced the birth of the Dark Universe and practically the last time he spoke of it again.
Everything began to go wrong on June 9, the release date of the film directed by Alex Kurtzman which failed at the box office, mainly due to its discreet performance in theaters in the United States. It didn’t help too much that most of the reviews were pretty negative, but Universal had invested a whopping $ 345 million in production and marketing costs, estimating some losses for the study of between 60 and 100 million dollars.
The point is that Universal had already announced in a big way the continuity of the Dark Universe beyond ‘The Mummy’. The next adventure was to be a remake of ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ directed by Bill Condon and with Javier Bardem in the role of the legendary monster. Then it would be the turn of an update of ‘The invisible man’ starring Johnny Depp.
The idea was to premiere this adaptation of ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ in 2019 and they also wanted to have Angelina Jolie, but Universal quickly lost interest in the Dark Universe after the failure of ‘The Mummy’. As early as November 2017, Kurtzman y Chris Morgan they left the Dark Universe when until then they were the main responsible for its development.
Change of strategy
That led Universal to completely rethink the strategy, putting aside the idea of a shared universe with connected films to bet on productions with more modest budgets. In this way, the film of ‘The invisible man’ with Depp became a Blumhouse production headed by Elisabeth Moss.
It is true that the 143 million dollars harvested at the box office by ‘The invisible man’ may be a little compared to the 410 of ‘The Mummy’, but it is that the film directed by Leigh Whannell it barely cost 7 million dollars. Much more profitable, and that its tour in theaters was directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Finally, ‘The Mummy’ is the only proof of that Dark Universe that was called to revolutionize Hollywood and that the only thing it achieved was to harm Universal’s economy. Today you have the opportunity to recover the film in La 1 starting at 22:05 and checking the succession of errors that ended up condemning it.
A disaster in every way
For now, Cruise’s signing was a total mistake, since his character was clearly intended for a younger actor, something that is noticeable in several moments of ‘The Mummy’. In addition, it ends up becoming more of a Tom Cruise movie than anything else, completely wasting its most terrifying side to give rise to a monotonous action movie with characters that matter little to the viewer.
And it is one thing to give another approach to the character, something that he had already done Stephen Sommers in 1999 with a wonderful film about this character closer to the adventures of Indiana Jones than to terror, but at least you have to know what you are looking for and how to do it as well as possible. In the case at hand, it seemed to be more concerned with laying the foundations of a universe that never went further than trying to make a film that was at least entertaining. If even Kurtzman himself remembers the experience as painful.
Luckily, Universal knew how to correct the course and bet on another approach to its mythical horror monsters that has already paid off. Rectifying is wise.
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a historic fiasco that wiped out the Dark Universe with which Universal wanted to imitate Marvel superheroes