Universal Boss Admits Major Screwup With Failed Dark Universe

There are a lot of questions surrounding the future of Universal's stable of classic monsters after the release of The Invisible Man, but it looks like Blumhouse Productions has helped crack the formula to bring these characters to modern audiences. After Universal screwed up the launch of their Dark Universe franchise when The Mummy fell flat at the box office, people were curious about how they could possibly rebound with these iconic horror properties. There was a lot of hype surrounding the launch of Dark Universe, which was planned to feature Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, and Angelina Jolie in addition to Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe.

Universal Chairwoman Donna Langley participated in a roundtable discussion alongside other executives for the Hollywood Reporter where she opened up about the failure to launch the Dark Universe.

"We had an attempt at interlocking our monsters and it was a failed attempt," Langley explained. "What we realized is that these characters are indelible for a reason, but there’s no urgency behind them and certainly the world was not asking for a shared universe of classic monsters. But we have gone back and created an approach that’s filmmaker-first, any budget range."

While Dark Universe was going to tie into the Dracula Untold movie in a strange attempt to introduce an origin story, the only movie actually released under the banner was Cruise's The Mummy reboot. That movie flopped, and screenwriter Chris Morgan was asked if he had any regrets about the project.

“I don’t [have] regrets or anything like that,” Morgan shared with io9. “I think it’s just, you know, I think it probably was trying to come together too quickly, I would say. And I think everyone got to take a breath and take a step back and take a look at it, and now just focus on maybe doing it a little bit slower.”

Universal scrapped plans for Depp to star in The Invisible Man, instead passing the reins to Blumhouse and director Leigh Whannell to focus on Elisabeth Moss as a protagonist haunted by the title character. Morgan said this was the right choice for the franchises moving forward.

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“I think Universal’s going about the monster films the right way,” Morgan said. “Which is to really focus on taking a good script, good story, put it out there, if you’re going to build a universe build it from something strong like that. And I think they’re not so much worried about putting a universe out there as they are making great monster films, so I’m looking forward to seeing them.”

The Invisible Man premieres in theaters on February 28th.