Universal Pictures’ Dark Universe franchise collapsed at the same place it began: with 2017’s The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise (one of two movies he appeared in that year, the other being American Made). This take on the classic horror franchise was primarily met with negative reviews and was considered a commercial disappointment, and director Alex Kurtzman considers it his “biggest failure.” That being said, he still found helming The Mummy to be beneficial for some key reasons.
In addition to sitting in The Mummy’s directorial chair, Alex Kurtzman also hashed out the story with Jenney Lumet and Jon Spaihts. Kurtzman and Lumet are now making the press rounds plugging their latest collaboration, the Showtime series The Man Who Fell to Earth, which is serves as a legacy sequel to the same-named 1976 movie starring David Bowie. While speaking with The Playlist, Kurtzman addressed his “painful” time on The Mummy, saying:
Following nine years after the release of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the last entry in the Brendan Fraser-led Mummy film series (could that get a relaunch someday?), this new version of The Mummy starred Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet, the title character who Tom Cruise’s Nick Morton, Annabelle Wallis’ Jenny Halsey and others had to battle across the globe. The Mummy also laid foundation for the wider Dark Universe, specifically through Russell Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Edward Hyde and the secret society known as Prodigium. In addition to The Mummy’s ending teasing a sequel, other movies that were set to exist in the Dark Universe continuity included Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolfman and The Invisible Man.
Alas, the combination of The Mummy’s poor critical reception and only making $410 million worldwide resulted in Universal Pictures writing off the Dark Universe as a “failed” experiment and turning it into a general banner encompassing standalone movies focused on the studios classic monsters. Despite his regrets with how The Mummy turned out, Alex Kurtzman is thankful he was able to direct the movie, as the mistakes he made there have informed how he’s tackled later projects. In his words:
The Mummy is one of two movies Alex Kurtzman has directed, having made his directorial debut with 2012’s People Like Us. Along with The Man Who Fell to Earth, Kurtzman has kept busy in recent years with the Star Trek TV shows Discovery, Picard and Strange New Worlds, and he and Lumet also created the short-lived CBS series Clarice. As far as the new Dark Universe goes, 2020’s reimagined version of The Invisible Man kicked off that run, and upcoming entries under that banner include Renfield, the Ryan Gosling-led Wolfman reboot and Dark Army (assuming Paul Feig can get it made).
The Man Who Fell to Earth premieres Sunday, April 24 on Showtime, and Renfield, the next Universal Monsters movie on the docket, comes out on April 14, 2023. Take a look through the 2022 movie releases to figure out what you’ll be watching later this year.