– by Joseph Jammer Medina

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.

RELATED – The Mummy Director Alex Kurtzman Isn’t Sure If He’ll Stay Involved In The Dark Universe

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.

Back when the future looked bright for the Dark Universe.

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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  • Vector

    Titanic’s Passengers Exit, Is The Ship In Trouble?


    • TheOct8pus

      That would make a great monster movie: the passengers of the Titanic finally make their way across the ocean, as the undead!!!!

      • Kristopher Goforth

        Ghostbusters 2…..

        • TheOct8pus

          Yes….but a lot better and without any sentient slime or Vigo of Carpathia…

  • Lenin1959

    The end of the shared universes is nigh… REPENT!

  • suckit15694

    The first movie should have been The Shape of Water. Or they should use that as a way to make the other movies . One offs that have similar characters but are different from the originals .

  • TheOct8pus

    Is anyone asking for these to be made??

  • Kronx

    The difference between this universe and the others is that the others are built around characters. The Dark Universe is centered around ideas.

    When someone mentions Spiderman, you think Peter Parker, a high school geek who got powers. If a new Mummy movie came out tomorrow with completely different characters, it wouldn’t matter. The Mummy could be from ancient Egypt. It could be from space. It wouldn’t matter. It’s the idea of an undead mystical creature that sells it.

    As such, we’re not invested in the stories of these monsters. So a universe built around teaming them up is destined to fail.

    Now cross Universal’s monsters with something like… Fast and the Furious…

    • Wild Dreams

      At this point I wouldn’t even put it passed them to add zombies to the Fast and the Furious franchise……

      • randomironicname

        I didn’t know I wanted that; but now I do.

  • Storymark

    When has it not been in trouble, really?

  • Victor Roa

    “film maker driven” Where have I heard that before?

  • JZC

    That is what happens when you say yes to everything in lieu of real talent.

  • Ryan Johnson

    Actually, it probably did not make a small profit. The THR article stresses that $125 million was the minimum budget (may have been higher) plus at least $100 million for marketing, meaning it would have to clear $450 million worldwide to start to show profit. It likely lost tens of millions.

  • randomironicname

    Xenu will not be pleased.

  • cckrad

    who gives a fuck about this? anyone?

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.