There seems to be some trouble brewing (or dying) in Universal’s Dark Universe. THR is reporting that producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan — architects of what was to be the shared universe of Universal’s iconic monsters — have departed.
The outlet states that this departure has left Dark Universe-decorated offices empty (literally), and the franchise rudderless.
Kurtzman has left to focus on television, and Morgan has returned to the Fast & Furious franchise, writing the 2019 Hobbs and Shaw spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
This all comes several months after Tom Cruise’s The Mummy reboot was released. Sadly (but deservedly, in this writer’s opinion), the film received a critical lashing, and only went on to make $80 million domestically. Of course, it managed to make $400 million worldwide, and given its $125 million budget, it likely made at least a little bit of profit, but it was by no means a way to kick off a shared universe.
This wasn’t the first red flag. Director Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast) was all set to start shooting the next Dark Universe installment, Bride of Frankenstein, this coming February, but the film’s 2019 release date was delayed to an unspecified date.
At the time, the studio said:
“After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone Bride of Frankenstein. None of us want to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together.”
Universal is now reportedly exploring its options. Do they continue on with a new architect, or do they scrap this approach altogether and take a more standard approach of making one-offs using the property?
Universal president of production Peter Cramer had the following to say:
“We’ve learned many lessons throughout the creative process on Dark Universe so far, and we are viewing these titles as filmmaker-driven vehicles, each with their own distinct vision. We are not rushing to meet a release date and will move forward with these films when we feel they are the best versions of themselves.”
While this may seem all doom and gloom for Universal, comScore box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian doesn’t think it means the end.
“It’s never too late to course-correct,” he said, “because with each movie, you get another shot. There’s no way to give up on this. This is Universal’s legacy.”
What do you think? Does it sound like it’s too late? Let us know down below!
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