Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

All the dirt. All the top secret stuff. Anything that has to do with the process of getting us to sit and watch something projected on the big screen.

Re: The Creature From the Black Lagoon

Postby TheButcher on Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:05 am

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:Heheh... what a lot of a you young goddamn know-it-alla putzes donna realize is a that a the original, she done inna the 3D, eh? Holy crappa! I remember seeing the original inna the theater anna I had onna those a funny-looking glasses, eh? Anna when a we go under a the water, it's a like a giant pool of a water sitting right inna front of a you, eh?

Iffa they gonna to do it again, then a the Dino says a they should a do it inna the IMAX 3D!!!

Deadline March 31, 2017:
‘Aquaman’ Scribe Will Beall Diving Into Universal’s ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’
Mike Fleming Jr wrote:EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has set Will Beall to write The Creature From The Black Lagoon, from an idea Beall had to revive the classic 1954 film as part of the studio’s classic monsters franchise. Beall just scripted another underwater event movie, Aquaman, which James Wan is directing with Jason Momoa in the title role for Warner Bros and DC. Beall also exec produced Training Day, the CBS series transplant of the hit movie. After the untimely death of series star Bill Paxton, that series is going to wind down and end after the network broadcasts the 13 episodes that were completed. Beall, whose breakthrough came with Gangster Squad, has worked on a string of Warner Bros projects that include The Legend of Conan, the latter of which is being produced by Chris Morgan. Morgan and Alex Kurtzman are producing Creature, and they are the architects of Universal’s Monsters Universe. That program starts June 9 with the release of The Mummy, which Kurtzman directed and stars Tom Cruise, and had a rousing presentation at Cinemacon this week.

Creature has long been under development at the studio, going back to when it was shepherded by Gary Ross, whose father co-wrote the original. That horror classic focused on a group of scientists on an expedition through the Amazon who discover a human-fish hybrid. Julie Adams played the leading female role of Kay Lawrence, and her portrayal helped define the scream queen genre. There are several roles that will likely draw big stars. CAA and Management 360 rep Beall.
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Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

Postby TheButcher on Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:43 am

AICN:
After hitting a Billion on BEAUTY & THE BEAST, Bill Condon proposes THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN next!
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Re: The Mummyverse!

Postby TheButcher on Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:21 am

The Mummy: Princess Ahmanet’s Backside Revealed
“The movie’s called The Mummy, not The Mummy Meets 12 Other Monsters. If we create a world that feels interesting and scary, then we will have succeeded in setting up the larger universe.”
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Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

Postby TheButcher on Fri May 19, 2017 7:40 am

THE MUMMY: "Dr. Jekyll Reveal" Trailer (2017)

The Prodigium
We recognize, examine, contain and destroy evil.
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Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

Postby TheButcher on Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:32 am

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Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

Postby TheButcher on Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:33 am

Sunday Reads: The Gill Man And The Woman Who Made Him
Meet Millicent Patrick, the most famous monster maker you've never heard of.
SCOTT WAMPLER wrote:Of the many iconic Universal Monster designs, The Creature From The Black Lagoon's titular beast has always been my favorite. It's the most otherworldly and freaky-looking of the Uni Monster heavyweights, and it's also the most-impressive, from a technical standpoint. As an added bonus, there's a great - albeit somewhat depressing - story surrounding the Creature's design, one that too many people remain unaware of.

Unlike Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), and The Wolf Man (1941), all of which featured creature design from the legendary Jack Pierce, The Creature From The Black Lagoon was designed by a woman named Millicent Patrick. Patrick was something of a jack-of-all-trades, working around Hollywood as an animator (in 1941, she became the first female animator ever hired by Disney), an actress, and - starting in 1953 - as a creature designer for Universal (It Came From Outer Space, Abbott And Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde). In 1954, the studio began work on Creature From The Black Lagoon, and by all accounts Patrick was largely responsible for designing the iconic suit Ben Chapman and Ricou Browning would go on to wear in that film.

Problem was, Patrick wasn't the only makeup effects artist working on the film. Bud Westmore was also involved, and...well, Bud Westmore was a big effing deal. Like Jack Pierce, Westmore was a legendary makeup artist, a guy who eventually racked up 450+ film credits over the course of his career (including work on The Munsters and Man of A Thousand Faces). He was also a scion of the famed Westmore family, whose contributions to the art of Hollywood makeup design really can't be overstated (the Westmores literally founded Hollywood's first-ever makeup department, all the way back in 1917).

So, when it came time to roll out Creature From The Black Lagoon, Patrick went on a promotional tour with the film, screening the film around the country and giving interviews where she wasn't shy about discussing her role in the creation of the Creature's design. Back in Hollywood, Universal was thrilled at the reaction CFTBL was getting from audiences: it was clear they had a big hit on their hands. Bud Westmore was not so thrilled. There's a great article about Patrick over on Tor, and they describe Westmore's reaction thusly:

Even before Ms. Patrick began her tour, make-up department head George Hamilton “Bud” Westmore had sent memos to the Universal front office taking exception to the studio’s intention to bill her as “The Beauty Who Created the Beast,” by claiming that the Creature was entirely the product of his own efforts. In February, while the tour was in full swing, Westmore went to great lengths to secure clippings of her numerous newspaper interviews, some citing her as the Creature’s sole creator, without mention of Westmore or of the other members of the make-up department staff. Westmore made it clear in his complaints to Universal executives that he had no intentions of engaging Ms. Patrick’s services as a sketch artist again. In correspondence between executives Clark Ramsey and Charles Simonelli dated the first of March 1954, Ramsey noted that Westmore was behaving childishly over the matter, and that Patrick had done everything possible to credit Westmore during her interviews. He further expressed regret at Westmore’s intention to penalize her.


Westmore followed through on that intention: once Patrick wrapped work on another Universal project she'd been working on, she was effectively booted from the studio's makeup department. Creature From The Black Lagoon should've been a career-launching hit for her, but thanks to Westmore's antics, Patrick's career as a makeup effects artist stalled out almost as soon as it'd begun. She continued to find work as an actress, but that work was in mostly forgettable films and even more forgettable TV shows (and usually in uncredited roles). Westmore, meanwhile, spent the next several decades telling everyone who'd listen that he'd been the one behind the Gill-Man design. Eventually Westmore died, and the biggest building on the Universal lot was named in his honor (Hooray for Hollywood!).

Luckily, the story of "The Beauty Who Created The Beast" has become more and more well-known over the past few decades, and every time someone tells it Patrick gets a little more of the credit she deserved back in 1954. That's a bittersweet ending to the tale-- it's too bad she didn't get even more recognition before her death in 1998-- but it's something. Drink to Patrick the next time you watch Creature From The Black Lagoon*, and be sure to tell all your friends who really designed that awesome costume. It's what Bud Westmore would've done.

* = Which should be often: Creature From The Black Lagoon is one of the best Uni Monsters films. I was lucky enough to catch a digitally restored, 3D rerelease of the film via the Alamo Drafthouse a few years ago, and I was blown away by it. Not only how by how great it looked (especially the underwater photography), but by how thoroughly it holds up sixty years later.

This article originally appeared on the site in 2014.
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Re: Universal's Dark Universe: The Mummy

Postby TheButcher on Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:49 am

SPOILERS


'The Mummy': What the Critics Are Saying
The first reviews for Alex Kurtzman's The Mummy are in, and it's not looking good for the Tom Cruise-starrer.


REVIEW: THE MUMMY
This may well be the worst film Cruise has ever done.
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Tom Cruise is The Bride of Frankenstein!

Postby TheButcher on Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:59 am

AICN:
After hitting a Billion on BEAUTY & THE BEAST, Bill Condon proposes THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN next!

Producer Alex Kurtzman Teases ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and the Bride’s “Independence”
One of the overseers of Dark Universe provides a hint at what we might get from ‘Bride of Frankenstein’.
MATT GOLDBERG wrote:Steve Weintraub recently spoke with producer Alex Kurtzman about the film while doing press for Kurtzman’s new film, The Mummy, and here’s what he had to say:

“David Koepp wrote the script. It’s really good. If you look at the original Bride, it’s one of the weirdest movies ever made. It’s truly a strange movie, and the Bride doesn’t appear until the end of the film, and she’s been built to be Frankenstein’s mate and takes one look at him and rejects him immediately. He gets so angry, he pulls a lever and the building explodes and that’s the end of the movie, and you’re like, “I have no idea what just happened, but it was amazing!” It’s fascinating to me that as a character with no dialogue for generation after generation after generation has been remembered. And I think she’s been remembered for her defiance and remembered for independence. She’s certainly been remembered for her iconic look. And I love that and I think Bill is going to do something amazing with that.”

It seems that the idea with Bride is to take her few moments on screen and try to expand that into a character centered on “defiance” and “independence.” We still don’t know what the plot will entail, but at least there’s a clear idea of the central character taking shape. While I adore James Whale’s original movie, I definitely think there’s room for a remake in terms of exploring the character in a way that hasn’t been done before. Whereas the producers behind Dark Universe will have to strain to find new takes on the Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein, there’s lots of open road when it comes to the Bride of Frankenstein.
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Re: He-Mummy v Scorpion King: Dawn of Dark Universe

Postby TheButcher on Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:38 pm

Universal’s Dark Universe: Where Do We Go From Here?
How Universal can save their shared universe.
ROBERT SAUCEDO wrote:The Mummy could have been Blade, but with mummies. Instead it was Blade: Trinity, but with mummies – and baby, that’s just no good.
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Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

Postby TheButcher on Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:46 pm

THR JUNE 12, 2017:
Box Office: 'The Mummy's' U.S. Demise Puts Universal's New Dark Universe on Notice
Pamela McClintock wrote:Late last month, Universal Pictures announced the name of its new stable of interconnected films featuring the classic monsters that made the studio famous in days gone by — "Dark Universe." It was a bold move, considering the first title in the series, The Mummy, was weeks away from hitting theaters.

Universal got a good scare over the weekend when the Mummy reboot, starring Tom Cruise, opened to just $32.2 million to place No. 2 in North America behind holdover Wonder Woman. It is far from a monstrous start for a summer event film that cost $125 million to produce before a major marketing spend. The studio can certainly take solace in the fact that The Mummy awoke overseas with $141.8 million from 63 markets. It's Cruise's top foreign debut to date, but a film's U.S. performance still sets the tones for headlines.

Alex Kurtzman directed The Mummy, which also stars Sofia Boutella as the Mummy, Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll and Annabelle Wallis.

Executives at Universal insist that the Dark Universe — the studio's answer to Marvel and DC's superhero cinematic universes — does not rest on the success or failure of The Mummy, which was decimated by critics for turning an epic and sometimes campy tale into a modern-day action pic. The movie currently has a 17 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the worst of Cruise's career behind Cocktail (five percent).

"The Dark Universe is a continuation of a love affair the studio has had with its classic monsters. It is a Valentine to the genre that is in our DNA," says Universal domestic distribution president Nick Carpou.

But the pressure is on. The studio will need to get the creative tone, and economics, right if the plan is to work. Universal insiders stress that each film in the series will have different budgets.

The studio is already heavily touting Bride of Frankenstein, which Bill Condon is directing, for a Feb. 14, 2019 release. Universal and Condon, fresh off the $1 billion-plus success of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, have cast Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's Monster, though his female counterpart has not yet been announced.

There's also an Invisible Man movie planned with Johnny Depp, and talk of a standalone Dr. Jekyll with Crowe, among others. (Crowe's Dr. Jekyll is set to provide the glue linking the films together, with his mysterious organization Prodigium charged with tracking the world's monsters.) And there are rumors that Dwayne Johnson could resurface in the "monsterverse" for a Wolfman reboot (he starred in 2002's Mummy spinoff The Scorpion King).

"As each of these films is produced, each will have its own story to tell with unique aspirations. Each title will be its own entity," says Carpou.

Box-office analysts agree The Mummy doesn't spell an early grave for the fledgling franchise.

"I don't think Universal's Dark Universe will collapse because of The Mummy underperforming, but it should make the studio think twice about pumping so much money into their vastly expanding universe," says Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations. "There will be a lot riding on Bride of Frankenstein. And when I say a lot, I mean everything."

Paul Dergarabedian of comScore adds that many Hollywood tentpoles unearth most of their treasure overseas, including Depp's 2017 summer tentpole, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Pirates 5 has earned an okay $135 million domestically to date, compared to nearly $393 million to date internationally.

"Bad reviews and low aggregate scores combined with negative social media buzz definitely hurt The Mummy in North America, while simultaneously having almost zero impact on international returns. Sound familiar? It should," says Dergarabeidan. "If every potential universe banked its future on North American returns only, there may arguably be no movies with greater than a '2' after their title given this current climate. Thankfully for the Dark Universe and other big brands, the international component is the lifeline to a continued cinematic future and a creates a valid justification for further creative and monetary investment."
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Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

Postby TheButcher on Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:13 am

Wolfpack wrote:Mo mummy, mo problems.

Inside ‘The Mummy’s’ Troubles: Tom Cruise Had Excessive Control (EXCLUSIVE)
"Ramin Setoodeh & Brent Lang wrote:There were few signs that a major blockbuster was about to premiere when “The Mummy” rolled into Manhattan last week. The marquee of the AMC Loews Lincoln Square Theatres had gone blank. The carpet was totally covered with black plastic. Security only let guests past barricades after quizzing them about what they were there to see, and everybody had to walk through two imposing metal detectors.

Inside the theater, Tom Cruise was jubilant, as he stood in front of the crowd. “Hey y’all,” said the 54-year-old actor. He introduced Alex Kurtzman, the film’s director, as well as the cast members, who stood quietly as Cruise delivered a 10-minute improvised speech. “Movies aren’t made by single people,” he said. “It’s a team effort.”

But in the case of “The Mummy,” one person–Cruise–had an excessive amount of control, according to several people interviewed. The reboot of “The Mummy” was supposed to be the start of a mega-franchise for Universal Pictures. But instead, it’s become a textbook case of a movie star run amok.

As Hollywood is playing the blame game on what went wrong on “The Mummy,” which had a measly domestic opening of just $32 million, many fingers are pointing to Cruise. In the same way that he commanded the stage at the film’s premiere, leaving his cast standing awkwardly by his side, several sources close to the production say that Cruise exerted nearly complete creative oversight on “The Mummy,” essentially wearing all the hats and dictating even the smallest decisions on the set. On stage, Cruise admitted his own perfectionist tendencies. “I don’t just make a movie. I give it everything I have and I expect it from everyone also.”

Universal, according to sources familiar with the matter, contractually guaranteed Cruise control of most aspects of the project, from script approval to post-production decisions. He also had a great deal of input on the film’s marketing and release strategy, these sources said, advocating for a June debut in a prime summer period.

With terrible reviews, “The Mummy,” which insiders say cost as much as $190 million to make and more than $100 million more to market and release worldwide, may struggle to make its money back. The film is performing much stronger overseas, where it was Cruise’s biggest international rollout with a $142 million opening weekend. It’s not clear if the movie will break even, and it’s cast a shadow on the studio’s plans for a Dark Universe franchise that’s supposed to feature A-list stars like Johnny Depp (as “The Invisible Man”) and Angelina Jolie (in negotiations for “The Bride of Frankenstein”).

A representative for Cruise didn’t respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Universal refuted that Cruise had a negative influence on the production.

“Tom approaches every project with a level of commitment and dedication that is unmatched by most working in our business today,” the statement read. “He has been a true partner and creative collaborator, and his goal with any project he works on is to provide audiences with a truly cinematic moviegoing experience.”

Cruise’s controlling behavior comes as Hollywood’s star system is in tatters. In the 1990s and early aughts, studios shelled out big money for the likes of Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, and Harrison Ford, confident that their names above the title could guarantee ticket sales. In exchange they were offered big perks, hefty salaries, and a sizable share of the profits. Along with the money came the power to veto key decisions. But as comic book movies and special effects-heavy productions took over, top actors found themselves in less demand and with less influence. Cruise has navigated the new landscape better than some–the “Mission: Impossible” franchise still makes money but other efforts such as “Oblivion” have disappointed. Going forward, he may have difficulty exerting the same kind of sway over other films.

It may be the last hurrah for big movie stars, but on the set of “The Mummy,” Cruise acted like the top gun he once was, calling all the shots. Kurtzman had been in the running to direct the project before Cruise signed on, but the actor gave his blessing for the filmmaker to slide behind the camera. They’d established a comfort level when Kurtzman worked as the screenwriter of “Mission: Impossible III.”

In the wake of “The Mummy’s” failure, the decision to tap such an untested director on a sprawling action-adventure seems to have been foolhardy. Kurtzman wouldn’t necessarily rank high on a studio’s wish list for a project this big, given that he’s a producer and writer who only helmed one small feature that debuted to mixed reviews (2012’s Chris Pine drama “People Like Us”). As Kurtzman struggled to adjust to scope of the project, it felt more like Cruise was the real director, often dictating the major action sequences and micro-managing the production, according to sources.

There were other ways that “The Mummy” was transformed from a scary summer popcorn movie into a standard-issue Tom Cruise vehicle. The actor personally commissioned two other writers along with McQuarrie to crank out a new script. Two of the film’s three credited screenwriters, McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman, an actor-writer who played small roles in “The Mummy” and “Jack Reacher,” were close allies of Cruise’s. The script envisioned Nick Morton as an earnest Tom Cruise archetype, who is laughably described as a “young man” at one point.

His writers beefed up his part. In the original script, Morton and the Mummy (played by Sofia Boutella) had nearly equal screen time. The writers also added a twist that saw Cruise’s character become possessed, to give him more of a dramatic arc. Even though Universal executives weren’t thrilled about the story — which feels disjointed and includes Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll — they went along with Cruise’s vision.

And the crew fell in line too, behind Cruise as the boss. “This is very much a film of two halves: before Tom and after Tom,” said Frank Walsh, the supervising art director, at a London screening of “The Mummy” this week. “I have heard the stories about how he drives everything and pushes and pushes, but it was amazing to work with him. The guy is a great filmmaker and knows his craft. He will walk onto a set and tell the director what to do, say ‘that’s not the right lens,’ ask about the sets, and as long as you don’t fluff what you’re saying to him … he’s easy to work for.”

Once the film was done, Cruise brought in his longtime editor Andrew Mondshein to piece together the final picture. (The film’s credits also list Gina and Paul Hirsch as editors.) He spent time in the editing suite overseeing the cutting, which everybody agreed wasn’t working. On the lot, there were differences of opinions about whether Cruise’s directions were improving a picture that had been troubled from its inception or whether they were turning a horror film into a Cruise infomercial. Some believed that Cruise had no choice but to assert himself. Given Kurtzman’s inexperience directing tentpoles, Cruise, who has carried heavily choreographed action movies all his life, had to try to rally the troops or risk having the production fall behind schedule.

Universal knew that if it wanted “The Mummy” to compete against the likes of “Wonder Woman” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” it needed every ounce of Cruise’s waning star power. As the studio scrambled to deal with weak tracking, it released a portrait in late May of Cruise with other actors from the Dark Universe franchise, including Depp and Javier Bardem (who will play Frankenstein). Yet the studio couldn’t even assemble all the actors in the room at the same time, and the image had to be Photoshopped. The Internet reaction to the last-ditch marketing effort was tepid at best. It was another reminder that the big names that once ruled Hollywood are inspiring a lot less love from audiences.

The reviews may have been brutal, but at the premiere Cruise seemed pleased, complimenting everyone involved and portraying the finished film as a team effort. “Jake! Jake!” he shouted at one of his co-stars Jake Johnson. “It was awesome working with you, Jake!”

Justin Kroll and Stewart Clarke contributed to this story.
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