Universal Pictures’ plans for a shared cinematic universe with its classic monsters looks like it’s being strangled in its crib as Heat Vision reports that producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the pair who created and are in charge of this shared universe initiative, have departed their posts.
In fact their offices set up on the studio lot for the multi-prong franchise are now practically empty. At present the only film from the initiative in development is Bill Condon’s “Bride of Frankenstein” which is undergoing a script overhaul.
This follows in the footsteps of the disappointing returns for the Tom Cruise-led “The Mummy” which scored just $80 million domestic and some of the worst reviews of Cruise’s career. Worldwide managed to save it from disaster, meaning the film ultimately garnered $409 million from a $125 million budget.
Universal had plans for a Javier Bardem-led “Frankenstein,” Johnny Depp as “The Invisible Man,” Dwayne Johnson was being sought for “The Wolfman,” Angelina Jolie was wanted for “The Bride of Frankenstein” and new takes on Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula and Creature from the Black Lagoon were planned – all of it linked by Russell Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll and his Prodigium multi-national organization.
‘Bride’ was in pre-production until after “The Mummy” came out, then Jolie left talks and signed on for the “Maleficent” sequel while the ‘Bride’ script underwent reworking to potentially remove the Prodigium elements or simply to wait for Jolie.
Dark Universe may not be entirely dead though as a new mastermind could be brought in to take over, or the focus could be shifted to lower budget individual monster movies that simply sit under the same branding as opposed to sharing story elements.
Kurtzman and Morgan are currently occupied with “Star Trek: Discovery” and the “Fast and Furious” spin-off.