In the wake of the critical and domestic box-office failure of “The Mummy” reboot, not to mention questions about the entire future of the Dark Universe initiative, a new feature article at Variety explores what happened behind-the-scenes on that film.
The piece emphasizes that the film’s star Tom Cruise, known for being a perfectionist, had “an excessive amount of control” and “exerted nearly complete creative oversight… essentially wearing all the hats and dictating even the smallest decisions on the set” according to several sources.
They say Universal contractually guaranteed Cruise control of most aspects of the project, from script approval to post-production decisions, along with a great deal of input on the film’s marketing and release strategy.
They also suggest director Alex Kurtzman struggled to adjust to the scope of the project, leaving Cruise to dictate the major action sequences, micro-manage the production and get the writers to beef up his part – reducing the equal screentime of The Mummy herself (Sofia Boutella).
Once the film was done, Cruise brought in his longtime editor Andrew Mondshein and spent time in the editing suite overseeing the cutting. Some believed that Cruise had no choice but to assert himself due to Kurtzman’s inexperience directing tentpoles.
The release of the Dark Universe trailer and photo (a photoshop job) was to try and build up buzz but online reaction proved tepid. The film cost as much as $190 million to make and more than $100 million more to market and release worldwide. The international rollout led to a $142 million opening weekend, but it remains unclear if the film will break even.