Following the rise in popularity of superhero comic book adaptations from both Marvel and DC Comics, Universal Pictures has seen an opportunity to get in on the lucrative franchise scheme. For Universal, however, it won’t be heros, but villains upon which the studio is pinning its hopes. Everything old is new again and so it will be with Universal’s monsters in a refreshed reboot of the classic monster films of the 50s and 60s. Previously, Universal studio heads teased this concept with the introduction of The Mummy, but now there’s a name for this franchise.
Universal Pictures Presents The Dark Universe
As USA Today reported, Universal Pictures is planning an entire cinematic universe around their line of classic monsters, but the studio isn’t just relying on fans of the classic horror films. Each franchise within their Dark Universe will be backed by celebrities with established star power, such as is the case with Tom Cruise’s role in The Mummy. The culmination of pop culture icons coming together with the beloved classic horror movies of old seems like a winning formula for Universal Pictures, but is the studio trying too hard?
Some argue that pushing forward with the Dark Universe before The Mummy has even debuted in theaters might be pushing disaster. If that’s the case, what will those critics say to the news that Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem have already signed on to star in the next installments of Universal’s revamped monster movies?
Mr. Depp is set to star as Frankenstein’s Monster, while Bardem will play the Invisible Man.
“We take enormous pride in the creativity and passion that has inspired the reimagining of Universal’s iconic monsters and promise audiences we will expand this series strategically,” said Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Pictures.
The studio has already released a Dark Universe logo in which the classic Universal lettering is given a dark and modernized twist, watermarked against a blackened image of Earth. The studio has also asked award-winning composer Danny Elfman to create an original theme for the Dark Universe logo.
As for the films, the next Dark Universe project is set to be a reboot of Bride of Frankenstein with a planned theatrical release of February 14, 2019.
“The Bride of Frankenstein remains the most iconic female monster in film history, and that’s a testament to (James) Whale’s masterpiece—which endures as one of the greatest movies ever made,” said Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast), who has been tapped to direct the film.
There’s More To The Dark Universe Than Classic Hollywood Monsters And A-List Actors
Deadline reports that Universal Pictures has also tapped a group to oversee the entire Dark Universe, beginning with The Mummy director, Alex Kurtzman. Also tasked with overseeing the project will be David Koepp (who is also drafting the Bride of Frankenstein script), producer Chris Morgan, and filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible).
Universal Pictures revealed that their Dark Universe won’t just be a random collection of monster movies, but, instead, will have a central plot interwoven throughout the various films. Prodigium is a secretive worldwide organization, led by none other than Russell Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll from The Mummy. Prodigium has two main objectives.
First and foremost, the organization tasks itself with protecting the public from these monsters and that includes keeping the existence of these creature as secret as possible. Secondly, Prodigium will have a scientific interest in the monsters they discover, tracking them and studying them as much as possible. When necessary, they will destroy the monsters.
The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, and Annabelle Wallis, is scheduled to premiere in theaters on June 9.
[Featured Image by Universal Pictures]