After being announced five months ago, Universal’s Dark Universe may be dead.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have departed the franchise. Kurtzman is reportedly focusing on TV projects, including “Star Trek: Discovery” for CBS All-Access. His deal with Universal lapsed in September. Meanwhile, Morgan has returned to the “Fast and Furious” franchise and is writing a spin-off for Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
“The Mummy,” starring Tom Cruise, kicked off the Dark Universe in June. The film had a budget of over $125 million and included marketing costs of at least $100 million, and grossed $409 million in worldwide box office.
“Bride of Frankenstein,” written and directed by Bill Condon (who also directed Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast”) was slated to be the second movie in the Dark Universe franchise. Universal stopped production on “Bride of Frankenstein” in early October, partly because they felt the script wasn’t ready. Condon is reportedly still attached, but no date has been set to resume production and its February 14, 2019, release date has been scrapped. Angelina Jolie, who was in talks to star, is no longer attached.
Other monster movies slated for the Dark Universe series included The Invisible Man, Frankenstein’s monster, and Dr. Jekyll. Those films were to star Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, and Russell Crowe.
However, there is still hope for the monsters to be revived. It’s not uncommon for franchises to bounce back after one film does poorly in theaters, says box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
“There’s no way to give up on this. This is Universal’s legacy,” he said.