Universal’s revamped Monsters universe is officially taking shape. The Mummy will be the first film in a series of reimagined spins on the studio’s iconic monsters, poised to lead into a shared universe that will see the monster cohabitating a franchise of interconnected films with the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, and Van Helsing.
Today, Universal shifted The Mummy‘s slated release date from March 24, 2017, to a prime tentpole summer slot on Friday, June 9, 2017. The new date puts the film up against The Divergent Series: Ascendant and, in more direct conflict, against World War Z 2. It’s an interesting movie to open up against since both are horror-inspired action adventures, and Paramount is committed to the date, recently parting ways with director Juan Antonio Bayona because he wanted more time to prep the film.
The press release also confirms Tom Cruise will lead the film alongside co-star Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service). While neither actor’s specific role is confirmed in the release, early reports indicate that Boutella will play the gender-swapped Mummy, and Cruise will originate his role as a heroic ex-Navy Seal who could possibly appear in the follow-up monster movies.
Alex Kurtzman, who is also leading the creative team designing the new franchise as a whole, will direct The Mummy from a screenplay by Jon Spaights (Prometheus). Roberto Orci, Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious, Wanted) and Sean Daniel (The Mummy) are all on board to produce.
The release date shift comes on the heels of a number of studio shuffles. Yesterday, Disney announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII, on the heels of The Force Awakens record-obliterating December debut, will get a major push back from May 26, 2017 to December 15, 2017. Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will now inhabit the vacant May 2017 slot. Over at Paramount, the planned Terminator Genisys sequel was dropped from the release schedule, with Dwayne Johnson‘s Baywatch taking over its May 19, 2017 slot. Finally, Sony slightly bumped up the release of Spider-Man to July 7, 2017, moving their Jumanji remake from it’s original Christmas slot to fill the now vacant July 28th weekend. While there will probably be a few more announcements and shakeups before 2017’s summer season is set, it’s already evident that the year will be packed with massive tentpole films.