Despite The Mummy failing to connect with audiences at the domestic box office (it only grossed $79 million domestic, but it has made $390 million worldwide), Universal is plunging ahead with Dark Universe. The studio already has Bride of Frankenstein lined up to open on February 14, 2019, and they’re hoping that star power will be enough to get the franchise through any rough patches. They had Tom Cruise for The Mummy, they’ve got Javier Bardem for Frankenstein, they’re hoping to get Angelina Jolie for the Bride of Frankenstein, and now it looks like they’re keeping that star-centered approach for Van Helsing.
A new report from THR reveals that the studio is eyeing Channing Tatum to take the lead of the famed monster hunter. While Van Helsing was originally an older gentleman (and not a “vampire hunter” in Bram Stoker’s original novel), he’s been rebooted in the past to be younger and more of an expert in the hunting and extermination of monsters. Universal last tried their hand at Van Helsing movie back in 2004 with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale, but the film was abysmal and it flopped at the box office.
While there are few details on the plot—co-writer Eric Heisserer told us back in February that he likes the idea of an everyday hero rather than a superhero stopping monsters—it looks like the studio is definitely hoping to go on the younger side with Tatum taking on the role.
It’s worth noting that as the project develops, it will likely change with a director bringing in new writers, and the studio trying to build the project around Tatum should he sign on to star. We don’t know what direction the film is headed, but it would be neat if Van Helsing were the villain of the series and the monsters were the good guys.