Universal Pictures planning classic monsters reboot franchise

Russell Crowe, Javier Bardem, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Sofia BoutellaIt’s an exciting time for fans of The Mummy, with the reboot starring Tom Cruise due in theaters on June 9, 2017. The first ever Mummy film debuted back in 1932 and was followed by five more installments. But there’s even more to this movie than meets the eye!

Universal Studios released many different classics in the past in addition to The Mummy, which introduced us to monsters who are still relevant today, such as Frankenstein and Dracula. Now the studio has plans to relaunch this realm of monsters, calling it the “Dark Universe.”

Other films planned in the extended universe include Bride of Frankenstein starring Javier Bardem, and The Invisible Man featuring Johnny Depp. Russell Crowe will portray Dr. Jekyll, who will be the only one of the group to appear in upcoming Mummy film. The Mummy itself will be played by actress Sofia Boutella.

The Dark Universe films will be connected by a mysterious organization known as Prodigium. Led by Dr. Jekyll, their mission is to track and destroy monsters across the world. Working behind the government’s back, and with practices “concealed by millennia of secrecy,” the organization’s main goal is to protect the public from knowledge of evil.

After The Mummy is released, Universal has confirmed that Bride of Frankenstein will be the next film to get the reboot treatment. The movie will be directed by Oscar-winner Bill Condon and is scheduled to release Valentine’s Day 2019. It has long been rumored that they want to cast Angelina Jolie in the film alongside Javier, but negotiations haven’t begun yet. Rumors have also been circulating that the studio would like to have Dwayne Johnson for the reboot of the 1941 film, The Wolf Man.

Some may think that the idea of a shared universe derives from Marvel or Star Wars, but it was actually Universal who owned the first cinematic universe in the 1940s, titled “Universal Monsters.” Films such as Frankenstein and The Invisible Man were part of this universe, and the studio is using The Mummy reboot to help relaunch the world.

Although most of the film jargon and technology needed to create a shared universe simply wasn’t around at this time, there was still a clear sense of continuity, particularly with films such as Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and House of Frankenstein. These movies were a combination of unique monsters put together into one feature film. At the time this was unheard of — no other studio was making movies in which characters were crossing over into other films.

It was widely believed before this announcement that Universal would release a Dark Universe film including all the characters in 2018. We now know that’s not the case, and it is unclear when that movie will come out. It seems that they want to introduce each character in their own feature before putting something together that includes everyone.

This makes a lot of sense because the Marvel films have done well due to the fact they established all the characters in prior films before combining them into one movie. For example, The Avengers has had great success with their shared universe, but heroes such as Iron Man and Hulk had already starred in their own features.

One major distinction between the Marvel Universe and Universal’s will be the budget. We already know that Avengers: Infinity War is going to be expensive for Disney. While The Mummy cost Universal $125 million, and actors like Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise don’t come cheap, it has been reported that producer Jason Blum is interested in working on some of these films. Jason has a deal with Universal under his company Blumhouse Productions, and has a long track record of turning small budgets into big money makers. Paranormal Activity only had a budget of $15,000, but managed to almost rake in a whopping $200 million at the box office in 2009, while this year’s Get Out earned a worldwide total of over $240 million on a budget of $5 million. ~Brenden Zerihun

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Comments & Discussion

  1. DM • June 5, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

    Awesome news! I’m a huge fan of the Universal Monsters series and look forward to them being resurrected!
    Maybe even a few NEW monsters!

  2. Snepts • June 6, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

    Way to keep on top of things, tribute — this was announced months ago.

  3. Snepts • June 6, 2017 @ 4:49 PM

    DRACULA has already been rebooted (as DRACULA UNTOLD) for the Dark Universe.

  4. Joanne • June 6, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

    That’s cool, can’t wait to see them and especially see who’s going to be in them!

  5. Snepts • June 7, 2017 @ 4:25 AM

    They’re taking the Classic Monsters and rebooting them as action movies; MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: CRUISING WITH THE MUMMY opens this week.

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