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Top Producers Depart Universal Monsters ‘Dark Universe’ Franchise as Studio Changes Course

Dark Universe, we hardly knew ye! After the disappointing performance of Tom Cruise’s The Mummy this summer (the film earned a paltry $80 million at the domestic box office against a production budget of $125 million), there was speculation that Universal’s ambitious Dark Universe franchise would not proceed as planned. Then came the news that the studio had pulled the plug on pre-production of Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein. Now, things have gone from bad to worse! The Hollywood Reporter just broke the news that writers/producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have officially left the project. Kurtzman directed The Mummy, and the duo were initially brought on board to oversee production of the entire cinematic universe, which once promised to feature the likes of Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, and Anjelina Jolie in future installments. read more

Scratch That… ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ Now Removed from Universal’s Release Schedule!

News sure travels fast on the internets these days! Hours after HNN contributor Mark McCurley reported the breaking news on Universal’s plans to release its Bride of Frankenstein reboot to theaters on Valentine’s Day 2019, the studio has officially pulled the movie from its release schedule. The February 19th, 2019 release date didn’t even last as long as The Mummy lasted in theaters this summer!

As early as Tuesday of this week, director Bill Condon told Forbes that principal photography was scheduled to begin on February 1st, 2018, and that casting decisions for the film would soon be made. Now, Variety reports that Univeral has dropped the film’s planned release date from their schedule entirely and moved back pre-production efforts on the project. The studio cited the script as the reason for the delay, and said that Condon is continuing to work with screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man) to improve the screenplay before production. read more

Buy / Wait / Rent: September 2017 Blu-Ray Releases

We sift through the new release heap so you don’t have to!

Welcome to Horror News Network’s Buy / Wait / Rent, a monthly article devoted to the most highly-anticipated horror releases on blu-ray. Here you will find the best home video releases of each month, along with our opinion on whether each film is a must-own on the first day of release, something you should wait to buy until it goes on sale, or something you’re better off renting for a one-time watch. And now, on to the notable new releases of September 2017! read more

‘The Mummy (2017)’: The Horror News Network Review

Critics have taken great delight in tearing The Mummy to shreds over the past few weeks. When word dropped of poor early reviews and anticipated disappointing performance at the domestic box office, a pile-on occurred where critics tried to one-up each other with witty insults for the film and its participants. I’m embarrassed to say that I also took part in the public flogging (“Smell something rotten this weekend?”, I mused. “That’s the stench of a sarcophagus that never should have been opened!”) Well, I decided to take advantage of the pleasure of sitting in a big empty theater for a movie that isn’t drawing audiences and check out the flick for myself. To my utter surprise, I didn’t find it to be nearly as bad as I expected based on other critical reviews. In short, I’ve certainly seen worse mummy movies! read more

Will The Mummy Send Universal’s Dark Universe Back to the Shadows?

As detailed by HNN’s John Evan’s on FridayThe Mummy’s (2017) abysmal critical reception led to a domestic financial disaster at the box office with an estimated $32.2 million in ticket sales, amounting to a lot less than the average Pharaoh’s treasure.  While the studio is trumpeting the global box office as a “victory” with an estimated $141 million so far, The Mummy’s domestic reception could not have been worse for a film that was supposed to usher in a “new age of god’s and monsters.” read more

‘The Mummy’ Set to Unravel at the Box Office This Weekend Amid Poor Reviews

Smell something rotten this weekend? That’s the stench of a sarcophagus that never should have been opened! The Mummy reboot, the first of Universal’s action-oriented “Dark Universe” monster franchise, is opening in theaters this weekend amid a slew of poor critical reviews and low box office predictions. Based on early indicators, this movie’s dropping faster than Tom Cruise’s plane featured in the movie’s zero-gravity stunt!

Taking into account of 178 critical reviews at the time of this writing, the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score for The Mummy is currently sitting at an embarrassing 17%. It only gets worse when examining the site’s “Top Critics” score… the Tomatometer plummets to just 8%! The content of the reviews aren’t any better. Multiple critics refer to the film as the worst movie of Tom Cruise’s career in their reviews. Many more simply refer to the movie as “a mess.” This kind of reception doesn’t exactly inspire moviegoers to race to the multiplex. read more

The Mummy to Kick Off Universal’s Dark Universe Franchise

To a new world of gods and monsters…..and now to a new cinematic universe as well.  In an effort to replicate the success of DC and Marvel, Universal Pictures has branded a name to the upcoming round of reboots and relaunches to its monster movie franchise:  Dark Universe.  The much-anticipated series of films, which begins on June 9th with the release of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, will include updates of all classic monsters in the Universal stable including Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man among others.  The second film in the Dark Universe will be Bride of Frankenstein (directed by Bill Condon), with an expected release date of February 14, 2019. read more

Universal Releases Featurette on Tom Cruise’s Stunts in The Mummy

Universal has released a new featurette to Syfy Wire, which outlines all of the key ingredients Universal Monsters fans are looking for in the upcoming reboot of The Mummy: explosions, rocket launchers, ambulance crashes, and extended underwater breath holding sequences!

Oh, were you expecting me to say, “gothic atmosphere, unforgettable humanistic creatures, and a strong emphasis on character”? It’s not that kinda movie!

You can watch the entire clip below:

Don’t get me wrong: Tom Cruise is an amazing movie star. The fact that he does as many of his own stunts as humanly possible always make his films a treat to behold. It is simply amazing that he still puts so much blood, sweat, and tears into his movies while many of his contemporaries are simply calling it in and cashing a check. But all of these stunts would be much better suited for the next Mission: Impossible movie! As a Universal Monsters purist, I wish he would have saved these sequences for M:I 6, and brought a more subtle approach to The Mummy (as he did in Vanilla SkyA Few Good Men, and Magnolia). read more

Universal Monsters Fans Deserve Their Very Own La La Land

Damien Chazelle’s incredible La La Land was the product of a young writer/director who tapped into his love and knowledge of classic films and musicals to craft a modern story which mixes the best of both worlds. He showed promise with the script for 10 Cloverfield Lane and his writing and directing on Whiplash. These early projects allowed him to gain the resources in Hollywood to ultimately knock it out of the park with La La Land. When the studio heads finally gave him the greenlight for his passion project, he ultimately produced a film that would earn 14 Oscar nominations (the highest any film has ever earned, tying Titanic and All About Eve) and win 6 Oscars (a feat matched by such films as The Godfather: Part 2, Star Wars, and one of La La Land‘s inspirations, An American in Paris). Not to trivialize the brilliant filmmaking, the expert cinematography, the beautiful songs, and the amazing chemistry of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling… but the formula kind of makes sense, right? Find a young writer/director who is passionate about the history of film but has an eye for contemporary conventions, and- voila!- you have a movie that resonates with fans and critics alike! read more

Summer 2017 Horror Movie Preview

Coming off of an unusually busy (and profitable) winter season, this summer’s slate of horror films brings some well-known franchises, properties, and directors, as well as some expensive and inexpensive gambles to your local multiplex.  These films will not only be competing with each other for horror fans’ dollars, but they will naturally also have to contend with the usual high profile tent-pole action and super hero films.  Let’s take a look at the upcoming releases and trailers below and please use this as your Horror News Network guide for the summer season: read more