What’s next for the Dark Universe?

The Dark Universe Logo (as seen in the 2017 film The Mummy

The Dark Universe Logo (as seen in the 2017 film The Mummy

Diego Osorio, Staff Reporter

With the release of “The Invisible Man” (2020), it is the second classic monster movie to not be labeled under The Dark Universe brand. The Dark Universe is a universe that started with the Mummy (2017), however people might not have heard of it. The reason being is after the disaster that was “The Mummy” (2017), there had not been a film released in the series and it fell away from the public eye. While “The Invisible Man” is not in the same world as “The Mummy,” this is an attempt by Blumhouse to reboot the universe with smaller low budget films. This is a great idea, as it gives directors more breathing room to create what they want instead of being tied to make connections to other films. This can be an issue, as sometimes films can make a chunk of its run-time referencing other events in previous films. 

With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and other franchises, Universal Studios decided to hop on the bandwagon and make a universe of their own with classic monsters such as “The Invisible Man,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “Dracula” and more. The classic monster movies from the early 1900s did interconnect, but not to the extent of what we have now with these big blockbuster franchises. The first classic monster movie crossover was Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). Both the previous films containing those individual characters did well so Universal figured to put them in together. This was pretty big at the time since 2 big properties were in a film together. While it is a perfect timing for them to do their universe, they can say they had the idea for a shared universe over a century ago. 

I was one of the few people hoping this universe could be pulled off ever since Universal Studios posted a cast photo on May 22, 2017 where they showed off the grand scope of what they would like to do. It featured the likes of Johnny Depp playing the Invisible Man, which did not happen, and Javier Bardem as the Wolfman, which again had not happened yet. The problem is Universal Studios got too excited with this new universe when they should have done what the MCU was doing by putting smaller films on the big screen and then a later film gets a larger budget. 

“The Invisible Man” is on track to do really well at the box office with an opening weekend of $29 million. Keep in mind “The Invisible Man” has a budget of $7,000,000 while “The Mummy” (2017), on the other hand, had an opening weekend of $31 million with a budget of $125,000,000. It is incredible how well Blumhouse Productions, the company that produced “The Invisible Man,” is doing with horror films, and they were a great choice to step in and clean the mess up. 

With the success of this movie, James Wan (producer, “Saw,” “Insidious” franchises) is developing another monster movie with his company Atomic Monster Productions. There are also projects in the works from Dexter Fletcher, Paul Feig and Elizabeth Banks. Only time will tell until we see the grand scope of how these films will connect into a new Dark Universe.