Universal has been trying to launch their Monster universe for a while. They tried with Dracula Untold, but when only six people saw that movie, they decided that wasn’t the time and scrapped the plans. Then they regrouped, and launched The Mummy – Alex Kurtzman’s monster movie starring box office gold Tom Cruise, complete with a cameo from Dr. Jekyl (Russell Crowe), who was to be the Nick Fury of the Dark Universe.
But audiences didn’t really respond to that either. Turns out, the final product wasn’t the movie that Kurtzman wanted to make and it may have sunk the Dark Universe before it ever really got started. He talked to The Hollywood Reporter about it.
“The Mummy wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I’m no longer involved in that and have no idea what’s going on with it. I look back on it now [and] what felt painful at the time ended up being an incredible blessing for me. I learned that I need to follow my own instincts, and when I can’t fully do that, I don’t think I can succeed. Those films are beautiful because the monsters are broken characters, and we see ourselves in them. I hope those are the movies that they make; I want to see them.”
He’s right. The charm of those old monster movies is that you are sympathetic towards the monster. They are damaged characters, and damaged characters are always relatable.
Universal had lofty plans, from The Invisible Man, to The Wolf Man to Bride of Frankenstein and more. They even took a Dark Universe cast photo!
Whatever the future of the Dark Universe is – if there is a future – it will not involve Kurtzman. He is too busy making a thousand different Star Trek shows for CBS All Access.
You know a movie is problematic when Tom Cruise, the biggest movie star in the world – the last genuine “movie star” in the world – is in almost every scene and the needle hardly moves.
There is a silver lining in everything, and for The Mummy, it seems that Kurtzman learned how to be a better filmmaker. Maybe Universal will learn how to not rush shared universes too.