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You'd better call your "mummy" for this one, because it looks like Universal's Dark Universe could be in even more trouble than we first thought. Kicking off the studio's own monsterverse with the good and the great of scary stories, #AlexKurtzman's #TheMummy failed to resurrect itself from an early grave and stick a huge question mark on where Universal should go next.
Fans were left to watch #TheMummy literally unravel before our eyes amidst a wave of negative reviews and tumbling box office takings, however, the drama didn't end there. With lackluster performances from the likes of #TomCruise and #RussellCrowe — and with both expected to reprise their roles — The Mummy put the Dark Universe in jeopardy before it had even begun. Now it seems like even the man at the helm can't decide whether to abandon ship or sail into the Black Lagoon.
A Monster F*ck Up
Speaking to IGN, Kurtzman has offered a rather grim update on the continuing chances of the #DarkUniverse, so grab a shovel, Universal, you may need to dig your way out of this one. Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour, Kurtzman himself didn't seem to know if he will/can return to the Dark Universe:
"You know the truth is, I don't know. I really don't know. I haven't really decided. Is the honest answer."
If that prognosis wasn't vague enough, the director seemed to give the equally somber message that he just didn't care anymore and will presumably be focusing his energy on CBS's upcoming Star Trek: Discovery:
"I have to stay interested in it. I have to feel like my passion is there for it. I think in the case of Star Trek if your passion isn't there you shouldn't be doing it."
Given that Kurtzman was attached to direct 2019's Bride of Frankenstein and other movies featuring rogues like Van Helsing and the Wolfman, it sounds like these films are now up in the air as well. Sure, Kurtzman doesn't have to carry on with the Dark Universe, but it isn't exactly a confidence boost for those already critical fans.
Will the horror ever end?
It may be too late to hit the reset button and start again for the Dark Universe, but is it really worth it to keep flogging the dead corpse? In a separate interview, Kurtzman seemed to lay blame on the doorstep of American audiences and hoped that the continuing universe could do better both internationally and domestically:
"It's hard for me to know, is the truth. I think every movie will be different. I certainly know that the legacy of the monsters have endured across the world throughout the years. Almost a century. So I have to believe American audiences will find it too with the right ingredients."
Universal has clearly sunk a lot of money into establishing its own expanded universe, and the likes of Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man and Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's Monster won't come cheap, let alone the cost of paying for Cruise's inflated ego. However, while the comic book world of the MCU seems to have it nailed, the Dark Universe is hardly off to a flying start.
While Kurtzman doesn't officially declare he is out, you can't exactly blame the director for feeling dented after the slew of negativity surrounding The Mummy. Given that Kurtzman's entry was outshone by the middling Brendan Fraser era of Egyptian evil, that isn't exactly something I would be putting on my resumé.