SAN ANTONIO – Are you ready for another interconnecting movie-franchise universe, this time however combining monsters rather than heroes?
That's the premise for Universal Studios' new “Dark Universe,” which is set to start with Tom Cruise's latest film, “The Mummy” opening on Friday, June 9.
Over the next few years, Universal plans to reboot "Bride of Frankenstein", "Van Helsing", "The Wolf Man", "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", the "Phantom of the Opera", as well as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
Universal Studios possesses the rights to all the films with many dating as far back as the 1920s. They, along with planned new releases such as “Invisible Man” starring Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem as “Frankenstein’s Monster” and Russell Crowe's “Dr. Jekyll” will begin to help create a universe for the studio to call its own.
At present, Universal has to compete with Disney owning both the Star Wars universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. possessing the DC Extended Universe, Sony having Spider-Man, and Fox having X-Men.
Universal's plan is to have their version iconic characters recur in the new films. In "The Mummy," Russell's Crowe's Dr. Jekyll makes the very first crossover appearance.
In "The Mummy" Tom Cruise plays soldier Nick Morton, a man who pillages sites for relics before selling them to the highest bidder.
Morton, along with partner Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) and archaeologist Jenny Halsey, (played by Annabelle Wallis) they unearth a giant Egyptian tomb in a remote village in Iraq -- one that possesses the Egyptian princess Ahmanet played by Sofia Boutella.
Ahmanet was mummified alive hundreds of years ago after trying to unleash an evil Egyptian god. She killed her Pharaoh father along with his second wife and their newborn baby with the hopes of claiming the right to the throne.
As one would expect Ahmanet is released from the tomb and she desires to complete her previous task by using an unknowing Morton.
The movie does feature a recurring attribute in many of Cruise's films: there are massive, expensive and lengthy stunts, many performed by Cruise himself.
In two separate scenes, Cruise is first thrown around in a cargo plane before later bouncing around a double-decker bus. But it is Cruise's under-appreciated comedic ability that shines through in the film -- like when he wakes up naked and among cadavers inside a morgue.
The movie, which cost reportedly $125 million to produce, is only projected to gross $35 to 40 million in the US during its opening week. But if the film receives quality word of mouth Universal Studios could believe that the movie will have done its job, simply by creating a solid foundation for its new Dark Universe.
The movie is 120 minutes and rated PG-13. It opens nationwide on June 9.
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