Universal Monsters: The Studio Working To Make Good Standalone Films, First & Foremost

– by Joseph Medina

If you visit LRM frequently, you know that discussions regarding shared universes are aplenty here. Hell, they’re aplenty in today’s day and age of film discussion. Ever since Marvel Studios changed the world with The Avengers back in 2012, every other studio has seemed set on making their own world, whether audiences love it or not. It’s happening with the DC Extended Universe, the Godzilla-Kong MonsterVerse, the eventual Call of Duty universe, and finally, the Universal Monsters Universe (that name is hopefully a work in progress). 

As the momentum on some of these franchises start to kick in, audiences are becoming more cynical, and ironically enough, they’re getting hungry for more films to stand alone. As time has gone on, some have been increasingly frustrated by the tendency for each new movie to be a 120-minute trailer for the next film, whatever that may be. In the case of something like Batman v Superman, some may also argue that it spends too much time trying to set up the shared universe that it forgets to stand alone.



It’s with this mindset that audiences are getting introduced to The Mummy, which is set to kick off the Universal Monsters Universe. Even in the latest trailer, the appearance of Doctor Jekyll seems to imply that they have their eyes firmly set on future films. But is that the case?

Speaking with Collider, The Mummy producer Chris Morgan pretty much stated that their current focus is not on building the world as much as it is making each standalone film work.

“We kind of designed them all to be kind of standalone sorts of franchises that have kind of similar things between them. And as the scripts came in, then we started putting them in a, ‘Well this would be a good order. We reveal this here’ so now it really comes down to, again, it’s a studio decision on which film is coming out next. Just with all the films we’re working on, Bride of Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolfman, Invisible Man, and on and on and on, it’s a real embarrassment of riches in terms of awesome, fun characters. I always say it this way: I’m in my office right now and I’ve got a Werewolf head mounted on the wall. It’s pretty good to come into your office and—that’s what you’re working with, you’re working with monsters that are 80, almost 100 years old. There’s a real legacy, a real respect, the fact that this studio, I don’t think, would have lasted if it wasn’t for the monsters, it really built up.”

So if you’re worried about the new movie being nothing more than a tease for the Van Helsing, you’re dead wrong — at least according to Morgan. From what it sounds like, the specific order leading up to the eventual teamup won’t matter as much as it matters in the DC Extended Universe. This actually makes us pretty hopeful that the bits of carryover between each film will be minimal. Like with all the films before The Avengers in the MCU, you can watch most of them in any order without consequence (Iron Man 2 notwithstanding).

I keep making comparisons to all the superhero movies, and it’s easy to do so because those films are farthest along in their universe, but are these monster movies going to virtually be the same as superhero films, except with monsters? Morgan doesn’t think so.

“We live in a world of superhero movies now—and by the way, I love them and I see them all and I have a great time, but I can’t identify with them as closely as I want to because I know I’ll never be perfect like that. Whereas the monster movies are saying that everybody has darkness in them, everyone has secrets and things they are ashamed of and don’t want to say or something that feels monstrous and dangerous about them. We’re just kind of embracing that and saying, ‘That’s ok.’ The films are just gonna be interesting, emotional, action-y, largely global sorts of films. I think The Mummy trailer sets up, in a really good way, kind of the tone of these films.”

Given that we get at least a handful of superhero films in today’s day and age, I think many are looking for something a little bit different. We’re seeing a slight resurgence in mid-budget films, and another aspect that has room to grow is in the non-superhero blockbuster, which is an area we’re hoping this franchise will fill.

What do you think of Morgan’s comments? Does any of it get you more excited for these Universe Monsters? Let us know in the comments down below!

The Mummy hits theaters on June 9, 2017.

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SOURCE: Collider

Film, News The Mummy, Universal Monsters