Just because someone else does it, doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone. After Marvel had some success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe, all the major studios wanted to concoct a shared universe with some of their more famous IPs. Universal had the unearthly idea of trying that with their monster franchise, subsequently titled as “Dark Universe”. However, it seems it went from dark to black after the architects of their franchise have left the studio.
You may remember Tom Cruise’s The Mummy that came out this summer. That was the film that was to launch the franchise and it performed poorly at the box office. Writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have departed the franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kurtzman’s deal with Universal lapsed in September, and he shifted focus to Star Trek Discovery and other CBS TV projects. Morgan has returned to the Fast and Furious franchise and is writing a spinoff for Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
Even more telling is that Universal pulled the plug on preproduction on Bride of Frankenstein. That was to be the follow-up to The Mummy which was to star Angelina Jolie and be directed by Bill Condon. However, the claims for its pulling was because the script wasn’t ready but even more telling is the release date has been pulled entirely.
“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,” says Universal president of production Peter Cramer. “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.”
While Universal tried to construct a shared universe, and Paramount is doing the same, it does not guarantee it will work. Marvel didn’t come out expecting to do a shared universe like they did. They tried their hand at their first film and it was good. A solid movie with an actual story. It worked, not every story did, but they got better. Marvel took one film at a time in the beginning. Once production was complete, then they would move onto the next film. Obviously, things have changed since then.
Also, it has to be something people want to see. The Mummy felt off. Everything from the characters with no direction to the convoluted story. Noting that this is something bigger but there was no real conclusion to this story. Instead of being Iron Man, it felt more like Iron Man 2. These characters do not need to be connected. They just need to be good and go from there.