From 2008-2012, Marvel Entertainment, alongside their parent corporation The Walt Disney Company, launched a revolutionary shared universe of films officially labeled the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The idea, championed by producer Kevin Feige, was to take all the existing superhero properties that the business owned and have them adapted into a series of films that occupied the same fictional world, much like in the comics of the same name.
While the plan proved to be financially invigorating, resulting in large box office grosses for the franchise, one cannot exactly call the MCU a revolutionary concept. Back in the 1930s-40s, Universal Studios garnered a wide fan base for producing many horror monster films, such as Dracula and Frankenstein, that went on to become classics of the genre. This proved so fruitful, that the company decided to introduce crossovers within it, producing some widely-regarded movies like the Abbot and Costello series. Unfortunately, the B-Movie fervor of the 1950s ultimately took over the creative direction of the Universal Monsters, throwing them into exploitation territory that consequently ruined the brand name.
Now in the 21st century, Universal Pictures has finally decided to bring their monsters back to life, launching a modernized reboot with the upcoming The Mummy. Ignoring the popular exotic adventures of the Brendan Fraser series, the new Mummy will be acting as a thematic remake of the revered 1932 Boris Karloff flick of the same name. With Sofia Boutella cast as the titular character (hearkening back to Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars which featured a female mummy) and Tom Cruise tapped as the lead, one would think the film would be in safe hands for the future.
Unfortunately, the first trailer that was released opened up to mixed reviews from fans of the beloved monsters. Part of the problem was the way the trailer was cut together, as it primarily featured a metropolitan city as the setting, as opposed to the brief glimpses at the more exotic locations that made the past iterations enjoyable to watch from an eye candy perspective. But another more prevalent issue, at least based off of the scenes shown, was that the film was abandoning the horror tropes that made the originals so iconic. Whether it was the atypical shot of Tom Cruise running, a military raid in what looks like Egypt, or the Mummy herself bringing about a generic city destruction, no one can deny that visually it lacked any sort of spark to set it apart from the action film template that has been dominating the industry for decades now.
The division in charge of marketing at Universal Pictures seems to have caught on to the animosity and has decided to fight back against potential detractors with two new pieces of media. The first is a poster depicting a close-up view of Boutella’s antagonistic persona. While the Mummy was visible in the trailer, this new photo is distinct in that it gives audiences a permanent glimpse into the design of the character, notably her double-iris (indicating some sort of black magic) and what seems to be presumably hieroglyphic markings on her cheek and forehead (paying homage to the creature’s Egyptian roots).
The second, however, is another short teaser. Unlike the official trailer, which suffered from the aforementioned problems, this new clip orients more around the mythological origins of the film, depicting Cruise entering what appears to be a burial ground for the Mummy. The full second trailer will be released today, so stay tuned for it.
Regardless, these new advertisement schemes from Universal Studios indicate that they will most likely be refocusing the marketing to make the film look less like another Tom Cruise action picture and more of the horror movie that fans know and love.
[Featured Image by Universal Pictures]