Warner Bros. announced a new release date for Wonder Woman. Putting it in near direct confrontation with Universal’s The Mummy, Universal Monsters Universe considers the possibility of Universal shuffling the release date for The Mummy.
This is a complete work of my own thoughts and does not reflect Universal Studios’ business plan in any way regarding the release of The Mummy. It is UMU’s hope to entertain and provoke a thought behind what we hope/expect to be a major release for the studio and a fun ride for fans and audiences. – Steven
Universal’s big screen reboot/remake of their 1932 classic, The Mummy, is set for release on June 9, 2017. It currently just began principal photography in Oxford, England this week and has all the makings of a hit. The Mummy stars Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella (Kingsman, Tiger Raid, Star Trek Beyond) and is being directed by Alex Kurtzman (People Like Us). Universal’s plans to resurrect one of their most famous of monsters has been in talks pretty much ever since The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor released in August of 2008. The reboot, as we know it today, has been in firm development since the announcement of writer Jon Spaihts in 2012. The Mummy went through two directors and has seen four release date changes. With the announcement of Warner Bros. moving up the release date of the much anticipated Wonder Woman, should Universal once again shift the release for The Mummy?
The Hollywood Reporter announced Warner Bros. move to shift Wonder Woman ahead to June 2, 2017 – a full three weeks ahead of its original release of June 23rd. This now puts the first solo outing for Gal Gadot’s iconic Amazon hero one week ahead of The Mummy. At this time audiences will be very familiar with the DC Films brand, having seen this year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and August’s Suicide Squad so Wonder Woman should be an even hotter summer release than of what fans are already expecting it to be.
The Mummy is an interesting film. It’s Universal’s first major theatrical release under their Universal Monsters Universe or Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe (we prefer UMU, but that’s just us) brand It’s still somewhat unclear as to whether or not they’ll be incorporating 2014’s Dracula Untold into the series in the way Warner Bros. and DC considers 2013’s Man of Steel to be the soft start to their cinematic/shared universe. It’s also possible that Dracula Untold will become the Green Lantern to Universal’s series of connected monster films; and the Bram Stoker vampire will eventually be recast. *For more on this dilemma, check out “Dracula Untold and Unloved.”
There’s a lot riding on the bandaged shoulders of Universal’s iconic creature. With the anticipated release of The Mummy and starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella, who by June 2017 will already have Kingsman, Tiger Raid, and Star Trek Beyond in her resume, the film should, by all means, be a hit. But Universal is surely counting on this film to be a blockbuster and major summer 2017 release. One that will blow the tomb open and get audiences excited about future installments, including The Invisible Man with Johnny Depp.
So, should Universal consider moving the release date for The Mummy?
Universal is going to want the best for their Universal Monsters Universe of films and see that it makes the most money it can. Now is Tom Cruise the guarantee of a sure fire hit at the box office? Arguably not any more and please understand that this is coming from the number one Tom Cruise fan! But Cruise’s last film with Universal, Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion made $286.2 million with a budget of $120 million. While those numbers sound good, domestically the film closed in the USA with only $89 million plus. Foreign was $197 million plus. However, Oblivion did open to $37.1 million in North America making it Tom Cruise’s best North American opening behind the Mission: Impossible series and War of the Worlds.
As of right now, Sofia Boutella has yet to open a movie that has her featured as a main lead. And The Mummy is her movie! She’s the title character. I express the same sentiment in regards to Sofia Boutella as I did Tom Cruise. I love Sofia; I think she’s incredible, talented, and completely adorable. I believe she’s going to be the “must” actress of this year and next and that she has a bright future ahead.
So, with all that said, we know that Tom Cruise’s name isn’t a guarantee of box office bucks (at least not with every film), nor is Miss Boutella (not yet). But The Mummy has done good business for Universal with 1999’s making $415.9 million on a budget of $80 million.
With where Universal’s The Mummy is situated right now, it opens a week after Warner Bros. Wonder Woman and a week before Cars 3 for Disney/Pixar and Kingsman sequel for 20th Century Fox. With a steady campaign, The Mummy could perform quite well with no real competition until June 23rd’s Transformers 5. With filming yet to begin, Transformers 5 could see a change in release, but will probably stay secure in its June 23 spot. The Mummy could be switched with Universal’s Despicable Me 3 on June 30th, but the following week is the first solo Marvel Spider-Man movie and Despicable Me is a proven franchise, just as much as Universal’s Fast series. The Mummy could easily occupy the April 14th spot that Fast 8 has but that is likely to stay put as Universal should be supremely confident in that series.
2017 is a tough year to reschedule a big budget potential blockbuster because nearly every week of the year is occupied by a major movie. January has Vin Diesel’s return to xXx along with Milla Jovovich reprising her role as Alice for one last time in Screen Gems’ Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. February is filled with two Universal movies – Fifty Shades Darker which is best left for the pre-Valentines Day weekend, along with The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon and opening February 17th.
- The Mummy has the potential to be placed up against the March 24th studio releases of Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, Power Rangers, and A Cure for Wellness. Universal’s The Mummy could easily go up against those movies. And, let’s not forget, Universal originally had March 24th pegged as the release for The Mummy before they moved it to June 9th.
- The Mummy could swap it’s release date with Tom Cruise’s other Universal film, Mena. The Doug Liman directed film is scheduled for January 6, 2017. With The Mummy occupying the first weekend in January, it not only has the opportunity to dominate at the box office with no real competition until January 20th’s xXx. It would be an interesting move considering the high nature and notoriety regarding The Mummy but it could serve Universal well.
- The Mummy could very well stay and occupy the release of June 9, 2017. Going up against The Divergent Series: Ascendant and World War Z II, it should be fine and will more than likely make money. Even opening one week after Wonder Woman.
As such a big fan and supporter of Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, The Mummy and all those involved, I’d like to see this do as well as it can. It’s a sentiment that Universal definitely shares as it is their product and the start of what they want to be a shared universe of films. The Mummy, in many ways needs to do well just as much as it should do well. With a smart marketing campaign, Universal could have a very big hit on their hands.
My suggestion? Come out with a strong presence during this July’s San Diego Comic Con. Bring the cast and director, along with a sizzle reel to excite audiences. How to follow that up? Cut a really smart trailer and also maintain a presence at October’s New York Comic Con. Who do you bring to New York? Sofia Boutella and Jake Johnson; maybe even surprise people with Tom Cruise appearing during the panel. But definitely have Sofia Boutella and Jake Johnson on hand and for press room (round table and step and repeat).
Merchandise! I believe Jakks Pacific has the license to Universal movies so make toys, just like Toy Island did with The Mummy 1999 and Jakks did with Returns. I know Tom Cruise is particular about his likeness being used, but how about a Tom Cruise figure? Definitely a Sofia Boutella Mummy figure and collectibles!
With the right heart and thought behind The Mummy, the Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella film could do very, very well at the box office in 2017, no matter where it lands. If only the politics behind scheduling weren’t as tightly bandaged as the classic Universal creature!
The Mummy is directed by Alex Kurtzman, from a script by Jon Spaihts. It stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Marwan Kenzari, and Sofia Boutella. The Mummy opens June 9, 2017.
*Box office numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo.
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)