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Re: The Creature From the Black Lagoon

PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:05 am
by TheButcher
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.

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:43 am
by TheButcher
After hitting a Billion on BEAUTY & THE BEAST, Bill Condon proposes THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN next!

Re: The Mummyverse!

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:21 am
by TheButcher
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.”

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 7:40 am
by TheButcher
THE MUMMY: "Dr. Jekyll Reveal" Trailer (2017)

The Prodigium
We recognize, examine, contain and destroy evil.

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:32 am
by TheButcher

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:33 am
by TheButcher
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.

Re: Universal's Dark Universe: The Mummy

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:49 am
by TheButcher

'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.

This may well be the worst film Cruise has ever done.

Tom Cruise is The Bride of Frankenstein!

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:59 am
by TheButcher
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.

Re: He-Mummy v Scorpion King: Dawn of Dark Universe

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:38 pm
by TheButcher
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.

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:46 pm
by TheButcher
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."

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:13 am
by TheButcher
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.

Re: Universal's ‘Dark Universe’

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:42 pm
by TheButcher
Collider August 2, 2017:
Akiva Goldsman Done with ‘Transformers’; Alex Kurtzman May Exit ‘Dark Universe’ Franchise
DAVE TRUMBORE wrote:Cinematic universe writers rooms were supposed to be the answer to crafting reimagined mythologies for massive, unwieldy properties like Transformers and Universal’s monster movie-verse, “Dark Universe.” The idea was to bring together talented, creative, and experienced screenwriters in order to hash out a framework for years upon years of major feature films, all connected through a central brand, theme, or intellectual property; this would also allow for diverse points of view and styles for the final films themselves since they weren’t beholden to one singular creative vision. While that may work in some instances (the early days of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, for example), it’s clearly not a cure-all. Relatively poor box office and critical performances for both Transformers: The Last Knight and The Mummy may have the studios rethinking their writers room experiment.

Transformers was humming along just fine as a multibillion-dollar franchise until Paramount Pictures decided to take a page from the Golden Age of Television and put together a writers room to expand the brand’s mythology, one that was headed by Oscar-winning writer, Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind). But with Transformers: The Last Knight currently occupying the worst opening weekend, the worst domestic tally, and the worst international total by far among other Transformers films, it’s little surprise that Goldsman appears to be done with the franchise.

/Film had a very brief chance to chat with Goldsman during the ongoing TCA 2017 event and ask him if he was still involved with Transformers. His simple answer? “No.” While Transformers: The Last Knight was the first product of Paramount’s writers room, the next project is the standalone Autobot film Bumblebee, directed by Travis Knight of LAIKA fame and opening opposite Warner Bros.’ Aquaman (for the moment) on December 21, 2018. Christina Hodson (Shut In, Unforgettable) holds the sole screenwriting credit for that film, and we’re hoping something more focused than Transformers: The Kitchen Sink arrives for that telling, one that should be a slam dunk.

Universal Pictures is struggling with their own writers room, one that was supposed to kick off in spectacular fashion with Alex Kurtzman‘s The Mummy, anchored by Tom Cruise and bolstered by Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, and Sofia Boutella. (Fun fact: I’m one of the very few people in the world who actually enjoyed The Mummy and the direction they looked like they were taking Dark Universe. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ) IGN caught up with Kurtzman, also a former Transformers writer, to ask about his future with Dark Universe:
“You know the truth is, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I haven’t really decided. Is the honest answer. I have to stay interested in it. I have to feel like my passion is there for it. I think … if your passion isn’t there you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Perhaps the withering critical reception has taken some wind out of Kurtzman’s sails. After taking in a disappointing $79.7 million at home for a respectable, but by no means preferred, total of almost $400 million, The Mummy is not the Dark Universe start that Universal was looking for. That’s a problem. This isn’t just one film’s critical and financial failure, but the unsteady foundation of what’s intended to be an entire cinematic universe. Universal’s been down this road before with films like 2004’s Van Helsing and 2014’s Dracula Untold, both of which failed to ignite a franchise. Are audiences just tired of classic monster movies, or is it just that these attempts have been a mess?

I think it’s the latter, but that might not change anytime soon. Since China accounted for nearly 25% of the total box office, there’s the potential for future Dark Universe films to be tailored to their market. Kurtzman dodged a question along those terms:
“It’s hard for me to know, is the truth. I think every movie will be different. I certainly know that the legacy of the monsters have endured across the world throughout the years. Almost a century. So I have to believe American audiences will find it too with the right ingredients.”

Call me crazy, but perhaps a cinematic universe based on classic monsters and steeped in horror history should, I dunno, return to horror roots. I enjoyed The Mummy as a nonsensical action-adventure spectacular, but the parts where it blazed ever so briefly were the moments of horror: When Ahmanet is attempting to recoup her strength, she and her newly resurrected followers have a delightfully gruesome appearance, design, and way of moving. It was but a glimmer of past horror films, but it’s something the Dark Universe could build around if they choose to do so. Whether or not they’ll do it with Kurtzman on board remains to be seen.

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:40 am
by TheButcher
THR NOVEMBER 08, 2017:
Universal's "Monsterverse" in Peril as Top Producers Exit (Exclusive)
Borys Kit & Aaron Couch wrote:Universal's cinematic Dark Universe is in danger of being mummified.

Just five months after Universal released a much-discussed cast photo promising a slew of movies starring the likes of Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe and Javier Bardem — all drawn on characters like the Invisible Man, Wolf Man and Frankenstein in its stable of classic horror films — none of the projects appears to have a pulse.

Writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who were hired as the monster universe architects, have departed the franchise, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Kurtzman, whose deal with Universal lapsed in September, is focusing on television (he's an executive producer on CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery, and his overall deal with CBS involves more than a half-dozen shows), while Morgan has returned to the Fast and Furious franchise and is writing a spinoff for Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

In early October, Universal pulled the plug on preproduction that had started in London for Bride of Frankenstein — which was to have followed The Mummy as the second entry in the series — partly because execs felt the script by David Koepp and overseen by director Bill Condon wasn't ready. Angelina Jolie had been courted for the lead but is now not attached. Insiders insist Condon (Beauty and the Beast) remains attached, but no date has been set to resume work, and a Feb. 14, 2019, release has been shelved.

All this comes in the wake of Mummy's poor performance. Released in June, the Tom Cruise picture grossed a relatively paltry $409 million worldwide on a budget of $125 million-plus (some insiders place it considerably higher). That doesn't include marketing costs of at least $100 million.

Emblematic of Dark Universe's problems is the tony office building on the Universal lot that was revamped at considerable expense for the new venture. After being decked out in monster regalia, it now sits mostly empty.

Universal is exploring its options. One road involves offering the IP to high-profile filmmakers or producers (Jason Blum has been mentioned) with ideas for one-off movies not connected to a larger universe. And the studio could find a new architect who could overhaul the concept.

"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," says Universal president of production Peter Cramer. "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."

The Mummy aside, the studio has had big wins in 2017. It boasts two $1 billion grossers (April's Fate of the Furious and July's Despicable Me 3), while sleeper hits like M. Night Shyamalan's Split ($278 million on a $9 million budget) and Jordan Peele's Get Out ($253 million on a $4.5 million budget) earned critical and commercial praise.

For Morgan and Kurtzman, it makes sense to move away from Dark Universe and back to Fast and Star Trek, note observers.

"This affords Alex Kurtzman more time for a project that is really working well: Star Trek Discovery," says New York-based freelance critic Jordan Hoffman, host of the official Star Trek podcast, who was in attendance of a Mummy screening that elicited unintended laughter from the crowd.

Is there hope for the Dark Universe? Yes, says comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian, pointing to Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man: Homecoming success after the franchise had lost its footing with 2014's Amazing Spider-Man 2 or Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok, which had an opening weekend that outperformed the two previous Chris Hemsworth-led solo outings. "It's never too late to course-correct," he says, "because with each movie, you get another shot."

"There's no way to give up on this. This is Universal's legacy," he adds.

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:27 pm
by TheBaxter
i watched Tom Cruise's Mummy. by happenstance, i have also recently re-seen Brendan Fraser's Mummy. so it would seem a comparison is due.

both these movies are terrible. Cruisemummy has better effects, but Frasermummy has Rachel Weisz. Rachel Weisz > better effects. so Frasermummy wins.

Cruisemummy would have been an appropriate title for this film, since it is blatantly a vanity project for the world's most famous scientologist. however, an even more accurate title would be to shorten it down even further, to just plain Crummy.

Re: Universal's Classic Monsters Universe!

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:59 pm
by Ribbons
I still can't quite figure out how they managed to convince Cruise to be in that Mummy movie. It's not one of his typical vanity projects in the sense that his character doesn't do a lot of running and jumping and isn't even especially competent. It's outside of his range as a leading man, too: has to be charismatic in a clumsy, pigheaded way, which isn't a good look on him. It's almost like they wrote the role for Chris Pratt, but Tom Cruise filled in at the last second after Chris Pratt got food poisoning.