Inspired by Marvel’s formidable formula, Universal also wanted its extended universe built around its cult monsters. Alas, the ship very quickly took on water because of “The Mummy”. Back to the failure of the Dark Universe and what it was supposed to be.
The Mummy : Tom Cruise in the heart of a shipwreck
The presence of Tom Cruise at the top of the bill is most of the time synonymous with success. He continues to be a hit with the saga Impossible mission, forging his own legend at the same time. We do not forget, however, that he was involved in the disaster The Mummy. The feature film was a resounding flop, being slaughtered by critics. He only reported $409 million at the worldwide box office, which is a disappointing total when you consider that the project cost $125 million (excluding promotional costs). The storyline follows Tom Cruise as Nick Norton, a military man who discovers Ahmanet’s tomb and triggers a series of dramatic events.
Back to the Dark Universe
The Mummy is not just an isolated failure, it brings down the whole connected universe project that Universal had in mind. The studio, to take advantage of its catalog and drawing inspiration from the Marvel model, wanted to develop the Dark Universe. The latter would have made it possible to summon figures known as Frankenstein, Wolfman or the Invisible Man. Johnny Depp was to play the latter, Javier Bardem would have appeared in the casting of Bride of Frankenstein and Russell Crowe was to continue to camp Dr Jekyll after his appearance in The Mummy. This character was very important because the whole connected had to revolve around him, and more specifically around the Prodigium organization. This was meant to watch over monsters in the world and hunt them down when the need arose.
There was also talk of a feature film called Dark Army, with Paul Feig writing and directing. Like a Avengers, should it bring together all popular figures? This seems to be the most likely hypothesis, but the cancellation of the Dark Universe did not allow us to know more. This failure is ultimately not so surprising. Originally, before The Mummyit is the catastrophic Dracula Untold which was to serve as the starting point for the Dark Universe. The rendering was so bad that the feature film was excluded to make room for The Mummy. For a much more glorious result…
As of now, Universal hasn’t given up on its urge to bring its monsters back to life. Except that this approach will materialize by independent projects from each other. Either what began to be done with the super Invisible Man by Leigh Whannell.