Let’s talk about The Mummy. As of this writing, I’ve seen the first entry in the “Dark Universe” three times. I loved it and I’m even more excited now for the planned follow-ups such as Bride of Frankenstein. However, there is no getting around the fact that The Mummy didn’t perform as well as we all hoped. With that being said, the June 9th release was always a tough spot for Universal’s “Dark Universe” picture and one we speculated about some time ago in April 2016. Having The Mummy open immediately after Wonder Woman was not the best decision and while the two films are very different from one another, the size of DC’s fourth “Extended Universe” picture was just too large to open against. Perhaps at a quieter spot, potentially in January (when American Made was originally supposed to release) or in March (when The Mummy was originally supposed to open) Alex Kurtzman’s film could have done better.
The Mummy opened with $32.246 million from a $12 million Friday in North America. Scott Mendelson of Forbes posted that the best case scenario is “the $125m horror/action hybrid is looking at a $90m domestic total.” Looking at past Tom Cruise headlined films, The Mummy has opened better than Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Edge of Tomorrow, and just under Oblivion. Interestingly, The Mummy has had a similar start to 2010’s The Wolfman, which earned $31 million over the Fri-Sun period of its President’s Day Weekend. Interestingly, The Mummy has performed much better internationally (as Tom Cruise movies normally do) with “an estimated $141.8 million weekend launch in 63 international box office markets.” That would give Tom Cruise his biggest opening ever.
It will be interesting now to see if The Mummy has legs domestically and also internationally. Speaking to the film’s $174 million worldwide debut, Nick Carpou, president of domestic theatrical distribution for Universal Pictures, said:
“Obviously we always want to do the best gross we can and we were challenged domestically, but the film is terrific entertainment, and overall it’s going to be Tom’s biggest international opening of all time. The accumulation adds up to a box office total we’re proud of. The Dark Universe is a continuation of a love affair the studio has had with its classic monsters. It is a Valentine to the genre that is in our DNA. As each of these films is produced, each will have its own story to tell with unique aspirations. Each title will be its own entity.”
If Universal is proud, then we’re also proud. The Mummy was a hard sell from the beginning as many Universal Monsters fans weren’t sold on just how much this film would honor the integrity of the 1932 classic, along with the fact that many were unhappy that Tom Cruise was headlining the first entry in the “Dark Universe.” In an era of world building, many are skeptical of future cinematic universes yet many forget that Marvel does not claim ownership of this formula. Universal does! They did it first! And with their classic monsters!
I have already been asked if I’m worried about The Mummy, or the “Dark Universe,” and I’ll tell you the same thing – I’m not. The Mummy really isn’t the most iconic of Universal Monsters. When you get into the iconography of the Universal Monsters, it’s really Frankenstein, Bride, The Wolf man that are, especially in performance and make-up. As we move forward, we’ll undoubtedly have stronger pictures as we deal with classic monsters that are truly identifiable and unique to the Universal brand. The “Dark Universe” will move forward and Bride of Frankenstein will happen. It always would be a soft reboot of sorts given that it is its own solo movie. With over a year until it releases, Universal Pictures has more than enough time to ensure that Bride of Frankenstein does as well as it can (and it will!) However, it is believed that the weight of the “Dark Universe” will rest now on the success of Bride of Frankenstein, but with a director like Bill Condon on board, and following his success with Beauty and the Beast, it’s expected that there will be more goodwill towards Bride as opposed to The Mummy.
On that note, I think I’m going to catch The Mummy for the fourth time! It was a tremendously fun and wild ride that had a lot of truly terrific and talented people work on it. It’s a film well worth supporting and I hope you all choose to go see it again!
As always, stay tuned to Universal Monsters Universe for the latest on The Mummy and the Universal Monsters Universe of films.
Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.
Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.
From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.
The Mummy is directed by Alex Kurtzman, from a script by Jon Spaihts, Dylan Kussman, and Christopher McQuarrie. The film stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Marwan Kenzari, Courtney B. Vance, Russell Crowe and Sofia Boutella. The film is now playing in theaters everywhere.
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)