Universal's Dark Universe Franchise May Be Rising From The Grave

How tough is it to create a cinematic universe as successful as Marvel, Fox, or even Warner Bros.? Just as Universal, who tried to launch their own last year with Dark Universe, which would have put a modern spin on their library of classic movie monsters. And they put a big marketing campaign behind it, a cast of A-list stars who took a cool but weirdly-assembled promo shot, and had box office superstar Tom Cruise in the first movie, a relaunch of The Mummy.

While it made over $400M worldwide, it couldn't crack $100M domestic and had terrible reviews, hardly the start Universal was looking for. Worse, its director and Dark Universe architect Alex Kurtzman, left his creation behind to work on Star Trek projects, leaving the franchise in flux.  The next film was supposed to be Bride of Frankenstein but it was put on hold at the last moment. While Universal wouldn't tell you the experiment was dead, it was certainly on life support with an incompetent nurse about to trip over the power cord.

Well, Dark Universe may be rising from the grave. Possibly. Artist Robert Varga hit Instagram and excitedly posted about some work he's doing for Dark Universe that suggests it is very much alive...

“Great meeting this morning with the amazing #DarkUniverse team. Thank you #Universal Exec, Holly Goline and Crash for the hospitality. Looking forward to contributing to the Universal Pictures legacy with my work. Monster things in the works! Stay tuned.”

He could be talking about anything, but thinking logically it could mean concept art or promo materials for an upcoming movie.  To be clear, Universal never pulled the plug, it was always just in hiatus until a way forward on Bride of Frankenstein was clear. Perhaps Universal and director Bill Condon have decided on an approach to take?  Or maybe this is one of the other movies said to be in the works, like The Invisible Man, Wolfman, etc.?

There's no way Universal lets an assemblage of stars the level of Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, and Javier Bardem just walk. That would be a monumental waste of time, money, and star power. Plus, despite The Mummy's disappointing results I think the world building aspect was quite good, and if Universal plays their cards right they could have a unique cinematic universe of horror movies. It only takes one good movie to set the whole thing right.