‘The Mummy’ Could Render Universal’s Dark Universe Plans Dead on Arrival

Reviews, tracking for Tom Cruise pic hurt studios' goal of shared horror cinematic universe.

June 8, 2017 10:35 am

Not even Tom Cruise may be able to save The Mummy from a disappointing opening at the box office this weekend, as the horror flick has been cursed by bad reviews and tracking that predicts a loss to Wonder Woman.

But the news could be a true horror for Universal, which has been banking on the reboot as the first film in a shared cinematic universe featuring the classic horror monsters in the studio’s vault—including the Phantom of the Opera, the Creature From the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Wolfman. (Russell Crowe appears in The Mummy as Dr. Jekyll.)

The goal, just like Warner Bros.’s shared cinematic universe built around the DC Comics superheroes that Wonder Woman furthers, is to match the success that Marvel Studios managed with its own superhero franchises-within-a-mega-franchise model. Everyone in Hollywood is looking for their own version of The Avengers.

But the first installment’s reviews aren’t just bad, they’re terrifying. IndieWire critic David Ehrlich fumed, “Not only is The Mummy the worst movie that Tom Cruise has ever made, it’s also obviously the worst movie that Tom Cruise has ever made—it stands out like a flat note on a grand piano.”

“It’s no surprise that the action to come has vastly more in common with the CGI bombast of the Brendan Fraser-starring Mummy films than the quiet, slow-creeping horror of the version Karl Freund directed in 1932,” writes The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore. “What is surprising is that this film’s action makes one slightly nostalgic for the 1999 incarnation, or at least prompts one to ask if it wasn’t maybe more fun than we gave it credit for.”

New Jersey.com critic Stephen Whitty summed things up by saying “the whole thing feels cursed.”

And that means an ambitious slate of further horror movies may be cursed as well. There may be fatigue with the whole shared cinematic universe formula. As Looper points out, there may be limited affection for the characters from modern audiences. (After all, they do feel a little dusty.)


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