Dark Universe producers depart after The Mummy box office bomb
The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella, was meant to mark the beginning of the Dark Universe, Universal’s shared cinematic universe of monster movies. The studio announced in May additional plans for Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster, and the next installment of the franchise, The Bride of Frankenstein. The studio, however, seems to have a hit a bump in the road.
Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan — who were involved as producers, writers, and pseudo-architects of the Dark Universe — have moved onto other projects, EW has learned. This follows the disastrous debut of The Mummy, which put the future of the franchise in doubt when it opened to an abysmal $32.2 million back in June. The film performed much better overseas, surpassing $400 million, but it still cost millions for production and marketing.
Critics slammed the film as “the worst Tom Cruise movie ever,” “empty-calorie creature-feature” fare, and more like “a feature-length trailer” instead of a movie.
Morgan, who has a first-look deal with Universal, is now writing the Hobbs-centric spin-off to Fast & Furious, in addition to television projects like Netflix’s Bird Box series. Kurtzman, meanwhile, has become tied up with CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery. A source at the studio, however, confirms that Universal is still very much committed to developing the Dark Universe.
The source also confirms that Bill Condon (Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast) is still attached to direct The Bride of Frankenstein, even though the film was pushed from its planned Feb. 14, 2019 release date.
“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’s president of production Peter Cramer told The Hollywood Reporter, which was first to report the news. “We are not rushing to meet a release date and will move forward with these films when we feel they are the best versions of themselves.”