It’s a question most people have been asking themselves since The Mummy was released on June 9. Due to The Mummy’s poor response from critics and audiences alike, will Universal Studios change their plan for new monster movie universe? According to reports, the film opened domestically with $32.2 million and cost the studio $125 million to make it. This is a poor performance for the film’s opening weekend when compared with the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which grossed $166.1 million.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was pretty infamous for a universal mixed response from audiences and critics alike. Despite all of the negativity and lack of word of mouth going forward, the film continued to succeed financially with a domestic gross alone of $330,360,194, which paid for all of the film’s production budget of $250 million. The Mummy had a production budget of $125 million and has already made its budget back with a profit with a worldwide box office of $178 million thus far. The majority of that has been the international gross of $140 million, which makes up around 78.7% of the total gross.
While both films made a lot of money back from the box office and The Mummy will likely be deemed a success by Universal Studios, the question is as to whether the monster movie franchise has a lot of appeal to moviegoers generally. One of the biggest detractors for the film’s financial success, as well as potentially the critical and audience response, was its summer release date and it being released right after Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman, alone, had a mere budget of $149 million and the film easily beat its box office budget in returns with it receiving over $717 million in the worldwide box office. The film benefited from positive word of mouth with critics too, which helped put more audiences in seats. It makes one wonder whether the film studio was high when they decided to release The Mummy during that specific weekend in the summer season.
While Variety wrote an article stating how Cruise’s creative control over the film ruined the film critically and financially, Universal Studios didn’t take that lying down and defended their lead star. “Tom approaches every project with a level of commitment and dedication that is unmatched by most working in our business today,” their statement to Variety 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.”
There is proof to back up their statement as the majority of Cruise’s last films have been overall successful. Edge of Tomorrow in 2014 had a budget of around $178 million and grossed total $370,541,256 with critical praise all around Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in 2015 was budgeted at $150 million and completed almost a billion dollars in box office gross alone ($682,714,267) alongside a majority of positive reviews. Even Jack Reacher: Never Go Back in 2016 was a modest hit with a budget of $60 million and a total gross of $162 million despite mixed reviews to the film.
Despite The Mummy’s uncertain box office future, Tom Cruise’s career seems to be in good shape. However, it raises the question as to whether these are the films Universal should continue to be released. If the films are not going to be massive pop culture hits, should Universal start thinking about reviving that Hulk film franchise once more? It could also just be a case of allowing the franchise to grow and get legs eventually.
Whatever happens, audiences will find out more with the release of The Bride of Frankenstein on February 14, 2019, directed by Bill Condon.
What do you think of Universal’s Dark Universe franchise? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!