On Wednesday, we reported on some of the doubts that Universal is having regarding its Dark Universe, which will bring together characters like the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Invisible Man. Our own David Kozlowski has major doubts that this is one that can get off the ground. With its aging stars, he didn’t believe that this is something that can appeal to a young and growing audience.
However, there is one aspect of this horror-based franchise that can’t be ignored. As Marvel has proven, each film need not exist within the same genre. Shared universes allows for films to be different genres, as evidenced in the differences between movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. However, when all said and done, Marvel, DC, and even Legendary and Warner Bros.’ MonsterVerse need one thing: a big budget.
The horror genre is one that has its DNA embedded in budget filmmaking. Yes, The Mummy is a $125 million film, but just because The Mummy was made for huge dollars doesn’t mean that the rest of them have to. Given the number of low-key monsters they can take advantage of, there’s no reason the same can’t be done of this universe. Sure, every now and then there can be a big film like The Mummy, but who’s to say that The Invisible Man will need more than $20 million?
Many seem ready to see The Mummy crash and burn, but the reality is if it’s well received by audiences and still flops at the box office, Universal can still salvage the universe by making lower budget horror films set in this universe. And by and large, well done low budget horror films tend to do VERY well, as Blumhouse has proven. And according to THR, Jason Blum has even expressed interest in tackling a low budget film in this universe.
In all honesty, I’d almost like to see that more. It’s easy to make something of spectacle with a boatload of money, but it takes real skill to bring chills to an audience on a low budget, and that’s the sweet spot where horror thrives.
Perhaps even more important is the idea of this universe differentiating itself from the others. Between the other three big players, they have sheer spectacle covered. There may be new, exciting ground to be covered in the lower budget spectrum of things — things that audiences will be hungry for, given the oversaturation of big budget blockbusters today.
What do you think? Would the Dark Universe work better by taking advantage of the lower budget aspect of horror? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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