Remembering Universal Pictures’ Ill-Fated DARK UNIVERSE

2017 was a much simpler time. It was a time when Universal Pictures decided to follow the Marvel route and attempted to create a shared universe for the classic Universal Monsters.

The studio scored an A-list cast: Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster, Tom Cruise as Nick Morton (who?), Sofia Boutella as The Mummy and Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll and his main man Hyde.They took the above promo still and created a new Dark Universe logo with accompanying Danny Elfman theme (below). This flash card was also in front of the first Dark Universe title -Tom Cruise starrer The Mummy movie.

The plan was for the Tom Cruise’s reboot to kick-start Universal Pictures’ Dark Universe, and Bill Condon’s Bride Of Frankenstein was scheduled for release in February 2019. Then the $125 million film scored terrible reviews and fizzled at the box office grossing just $80 million in the US and $409 million globally.

Bride Of Frankenstein was cancelled and all other productions were scrapped. Gone was Johnny Depp in an expensive Invisible Man movie, instead Jason Blum produced the movie on a low budget $7 million budget.

Forgoing the action-adventure vibe of recent remakes of Dracula and The Mummy, this reinterpretation of The Invisible Man starring Elizabeth Moss put the focus firmly back in the realm of horror and it looks like Ryan Gosling’s Wolf Man will continue with that approach. The Invisible Man grossed $64 million in the US and almost $123 million worldwide.