The Mummy was a massive flop when it opened stateside earlier this summer. The film, which had a reported budget of $125 million, opened to bad reviews and an underwhelming $31 million as it limped to a domestic take of $80 million. Normally, for a film that’s supposed to spawn a franchise, in this case Universal’s Dark Universe, that would be curtains even with Bride of Frankenstein set for February 2019. But international box office matters more than ever, and that’s what’s going to save the franchise.
Exhibitor Relations has just tweeted out the following:
Box office believe it or not: Tom Cruise’s THE MUMMY has hit the magic sequelizer number–$400M+ worldwide. China is the #1 market w/ $91M.
— Exhibitor Relations (@ERCboxoffice) August 28, 2017
Universal should be breathing a sigh of relief since the worldwide success of The Mummy basically support the studio’s strategy for Dark Universe, which is to rely on box office stars to help support these action movies. Even if Tom Cruise in a Mummy reboot wasn’t enough for domestic audiences, his worldwide appeal was enough to carry the film to a healthy box office return. If international audiences are going to go for Cruise in a Mummy movie, it stands to reason they’ll go for Angelina Jolie in Bride of Frankenstein or Johnny Depp in The Invisible Man.
Of course, that’s assuming other actors have Cruise’s star power. He’s been one of the most reliable actors for a few decades now for a reason, and it’s possible that Cruise was the draw here rather than the Dark Universe property. That being said, each of these movies will have to, in one way or another, stand on their own even if they’re part of a extended universe. While Bride of Frankenstein might bring in characters from The Mummy (most likely Russell Crowe’s Jekyll/Hyde), there’s room for director Bill Condon to make his own monster movie, and perhaps audiences in the U.S. will like it more than The Mummy.
It will be interesting to see if Universal moves towards making more Mummy movies now that the film is a worldwide hit, or if they just take the win and try to improve their other Dark Universe pictures.