That’s right folks, after only one film into Universal Pictures “Dark Universe” initiative, it looks like it might be over from the start. It was announced today the producer architects behind it all, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have stepped away from those projects and the planned monsterverse has suddenly gone dark.
In the wake of the poor performance by its first movie in their planned “Dark Universe”, Tom Cruise starrer The Mummy, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan depart after the failure of The Mummy, leaving the planned franchise rudderless (with empty offices).
Just five months after Universal released a much-discussed cast photo promising a slew of movies starring the likes of Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe and Javier Bardem — all drawn on characters like the Invisible Man, Wolf Man and Frankenstein in its stable of classic horror films — none of the projects appears to have a pulse.
Kurtzman, whose deal with Universal lapsed in September, is focusing on television (he’s an executive producer on CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery and his overall deal with CBS involves more than a half-dozen shows), while Morgan has returned to the Fast and Furious franchise and is writing a spinoff for Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
In early October, Universal pulled the plug on preproduction that had started in London for Bride of Frankenstein — which was to have followed The Mummy as the second entry in the series — partly because execs felt the script by David Koepp and overseen by director Bill Condon wasn’t ready. Angelina Jolie had been courted for the lead but is now not attached. Insiders insist Condon (Beauty and the Beast) remains attached, but no date has been set to resume work, and a Feb. 14, 2019, release has been shelved.
Universal is exploring its options. One road involves offering the IP to high-profile filmmakers or producers (Jason Blum has been mentioned) with ideas for one-off movies not connected to a larger universe. And the studio could find a new architect who could overhaul the concept.
Is there hope for the Dark Universe? Yes, says comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, pointing to Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming success after the franchise had lost its footing with 2014’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 or Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, which had an opening weekend that outperformed the two previous Chris Hemsworth-led solo outings. “It’s never too late to course-correct,” he says, “because with each movie, you get another shot.”
“There’s no way to give up on this. This is Universal’s legacy,” he adds.
All of us here at Horror Patch are HUGE fans of Universal’s classic monsters and we hope something can be done about this. Get Jason Blum involved, he has the Midas Touch when it comes to horror, if anyone can save this franchise he can.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter