If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Remember when the Tom Cruise action take on The Mummy was rolled out? All the studios wanted a cinematic universe. All assumed it was just as easy as announcing one and then rushing for the line.
Marvel just sat back, laughing and shaking its head as, studio after studio, sailed headlong onto the rocks and broke apart, sinking without a trace.
Universal hilariously announced their big star, big budget Dark Universe as a done deal. A photoshoot of premium talent announce their intent.
Tom Cruise in The Mummy was first up, with a cameo from Russell Crowe’s Dr Jekyll. Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man was also in the mix. Dracula Untold with Luke Evans was talked up as an origin, with a post credits sequence to tease future movies.
The Mummy opened with a Dark Universe logo and we were off.
Then it sank with out a trace at the box-office and Universal swept the whole thing under the rug, and seemed embarrassed, hoping we would forget.
However, their classic monster movie inventory is impressive, and as an idea, it wouldn’t just die.
…Try, Try Again
Universal Pictures decided to switch their focus to individual filmmakers with a passion for Universal classic monsters. The drive for the cinematic universe was toned down. Blumhouse and The Invisible Man are first up.
Next, is the return of somebody whose last foray into the world of the undead didn’t quite go according to plan.
Universal Studios just cut a deal to develop Dark Army with Paul Feig. The man behind the truly awful creative and financial disaster that was Ghostbusters 2016. Not only was he the key creative on a movie that nearly killed Sony, but he was also heavily involved in what came afterwards.
Remember, rather than just admit the movie was a substandard production with unlikeable characters acting out a script without an ounce of the wit and heart of the original movies, they decided the problem was the audience.
An orchestrated effort to portray those critical of the movie as “sexist” and “racist” was a low point in Hollywood relations with its core audience.
However, no lessons appear to have been learned as this playbook is deployed again and again when a race-switch or gender re-casting fails to chime with an audience.
The problem is never the filmmakers, or the studio, it’s the audience.
It was a shame to see Feig stoop to this level as his previous efforts such as Spy and Bridesmaids had been entertaining and successful.
Dark Army will be a monster movie. No one is giving much away, but it is thought it will include creatures from Universal’s classic collection, and will have ties to a bigger monster universe.
For the sake of these much-loved icons, we hope Feig has learned his lesson, or we will get Draculetta and Franniestein, then it will somehow be our fault when it sucks.