Universal’s plans to spin an expansive cinematic universe out of its iconic monster properties just got a big boost. Tom Cruise has officially signed on as the lead for the studio’s first film in the series, a new reboot of The Mummy, as reported by Variety. (Sorry, Brendan Fraser fans.)
The news also comes with yet another in Hollywood’s recent string of blockbuster premiere date swaps, as the film will be released in June of 2017, instead of its original date of March 24.
The new film is being helmed by prolific writer/producer/director Alex Kurtzman, who will reportedly produce and direct. Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service) will be playing the role of the monster, with Cruise apparently taking on the protagonist role once played by Brendan Fraser in the previous recreation of the classic monster movie, which came out in 1999 and spawned several sequels and the spinoff film, The Scorpion King.
There isn’t much known about the plot at this point but Variety reports that the film will take place in present day, unlike the Fraser films. Jon Spaihts is tasked with writing the script.
While it appears Cruise isn’t taking on his usual dual role as star/executive producer, it’s expected he’ll have a hand in guiding the new film. Kurtzman, meanwhile, is charged with helping Universal build out its universe for its other monster properties, which include Frankenstein’s monster, The Wolfman, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Dracula, among others.
Coming off a monumental year in which Universal creamed the competition on the strength of blockbuster franchise anchors Jurassic World, Furious 7, and animated spinoff Minions, the studio is doubling down on the franchise formula with the resurrection of its storied monster properties.
That said, it should be interesting to see if the formula that has worked so brilliantly with Disney’s Marvel properties will translate into the horror/action genre. It’s expected that the singular monster films will eventually combine for a super-group film in the vein of The Avengers. Just how that will work with a bunch of mythical monsters remains to be seen — the first attempt to spark the new universe, Dracula Untold, was a major disappointment. Universal is no doubt hoping Cruise’s star power and Kurtzman’s vision will give the next attempt a lot more audience appeal.
Universal’s latest take on The Mummy is slated for release June 9, 2017.
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