Universal Had 2 Great Opportunities To Launch The Failed Dark Universe Before Tom Cruise’s The Mummy



  • Universal missed earlier opportunities to launch the Dark Universe with films like The Wolfman and Dracula Untold, which could have offered a fresh perspective and connected universe.
  • The failure of 2017’s The Mummy at the box office ultimately killed the Dark Universe plans, losing Universal millions of dollars and crushing expectations.
  • If Universal had used The Wolfman or Dracula Untold to launch the franchise, The Mummy could have had a better chance at success.



Tom Cruise’s The Mummy was meant to launch the Dark Universe for Universal Pictures, but the studio didn’t take two great opportunities to do so earlier. The studio was planning on creating its own monster universe, also known as Universal Classic Monsters, based on horror movies the production company released from the 1930s to the 1950s. Some of the most iconic titles from Universal’s Dark Universe included Dracula (starring Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein (starring Boris Karloff), The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and more, with Tom Cruise’s The Mummy rebooting the series after Brendan Fraser’s trilogy.

Before the plans for the Dark Universe went crashing down after 2017’s The Mummy failed to perform as expected, there was a plan in place for new movies centered around Invincible Man, Van Helsing, Frankenstein, and more. However, trying to revive the older titles over and over again didn’t pay off, and Universal eventually canceled the Dark Universe movies. The decision marked an end to a potential cinematic universe before it ever really began. While this only added to the notion that The Mummy was a major disappointment, Universal had earlier opportunities to launch the Dark Universe.

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The Wolfman & Dracula Untold Could’ve Launched The Dark Universe Before 2017

The Two Movies Were the Next Logical Bet

Luke Evans with wings outspread in Dracula Untold

Before launching the Dark Universal with The Mummy, Universal could’ve done it with The Wolfman and Dracula Untold. Both had been launched before 2017’s The Mummy, in 2010 and 2014, respectively. The first was a remake of the 1941 film The Wolf Man, meanwhile the second created a new origin story for the famous vampire instead of rebooting the famous Bram Stoker backstory. Unlike The Mummy, the two films were not reboots of a previously successful franchise and were offering a new perspective Universal could’ve used. However, the studio struggled and refused to make them part of a wider and connected universe.

2010’s The Wolfman was initially not intended to be a part of the Dark Universe, but the movie, which starred Anthony Hopkins and Benicio del Toro, could’ve easily been connected to the shared universe retroactively. The Luke Evans-led film Dracula Untold could’ve worked as the first installment of the Dark Universe too. The movie underwent reshoots to make connections to Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy possible. Due to mixed reviews, Universal didn’t go through with the crossover plans and downplayed the possible Dark Universe connections, choosing to focus on launching it with Tom Cruise’s movie instead.

How 2017’s The Mummy Officially Killed The Dark Universe Plans

The Movie Failed at Box Office

Princess Ahmanet from the 2017 film The Mummy.

The reason 2017’s The Mummy officially killed the Dark Universe plans Universal had is its underwhelming run at the box office. With a budget between $125 and $195 million, it ended with a worldwide box office haul of nearly $410 million, losing the studio $95 million due to high marketing costs. After a lot of promotion and hype from the studio in 2017 about the potential of the Dark Universe, it all came crashing down after Tom Cruise’s movie premiered and failed to exceed expectations. If Universal used The Wolfman or Dracula Untold to build the franchise, perhaps The Mummy could have been a bigger success.