Show Rundown: In this week’s episode, we review the first (and maybe the last) installment in Universal’s Dark Universe “The Mummy” starring Tom Cruise. In our second segment, Peter Brown from Assignment X joins us to talk about the Dark Universe, counting your movie franchise eggs before they’re hatched, Marvel’s new Black Panther trailer, and what the success of “Wonder Woman” means for the DC Universe. We’re talking about the whole messy subject of cinematic universes, the latest blockbuster trend that may or may not be fizzling out. All of that, plus what we’re dorking out about this week.
Topic 1: The Mummy Review
Universal’s kickoff to its new Dark Universe “The Mummy” opened this weekend to a disappointing $32.2 million. The movie stars Tom Cruise as Nick Morton, a soldier of fortune who steals valuable relics and sells them to the highest bidder. Nick stumbles across an ancient burial ground, because of course he did, and accidentally awakens a 3,000 year old mummy (played by Sofia Boutella). The movie also stars Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis and Russell Crowe and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - yes, that Dr. Jekyll, and yes that Mr. Hyde.
The movie is written by Tom Cruises’s regular writers, David Koepp, Dylan Kussman and Christopher McQuarrie, who have worked several “Mission Impossible” movies, so those “Mummy Impossible” jokes you’re seeing are pretty accurate. And the movie is directed by Alex Kurtzman, whose previous directing credit is 2012’s “People Like Us.” Kurtzman is probably better known for his role creating TV shows such as “Sleepy Hollow,” “Fringe” and the upcoming “Star Trek Discovery.” He also wrote some “Transformer” movies and the first two installments of the “Star Trek” reboot.”
This is a long way of saying that there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. And there’s a lot riding on this movie, since it’s supposed to be launching a franchise.
Topic 2: Dark Universe and the state of Cinematic Universes
It’s been a mere nine years since Robert Downey Jr. strapped on an Iron Man suit and starred in Iron Man. That movie, with it’s little tease at the end hinting at a larger cinematic universe, launched the biggest blockbuster revolution Hollywood has ever seen, or at least since the first Star Wars. By creating a series of movies with elements which connected with one another, the Marvel series of movies have become more than sequels, they’ve created an entire alternate movie universe movie goers can’t seem to get enough of. To put it another way, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 came out in May to massive money, but in a way you could think of it as Iron Man 15. That is a massive temptation for the copy-happy suits in other studios looking to get in on the lucrative action of having a series of movies build up to a massive cross-over financial success, as Marvel had with Avengers 1, 2 and Captain America Civil War. Each earned over $1 billion.
But while other studios are eager to try to copy Marvel’s success, they have almost all failed.
Sony tried and failed with the relaunched Amazing Spider Man series, announcing A Sinister Six Movie, a Venom Movie and a Black Cat movie just before The Amazing Spiderman 2 crashed. While Universal is trying to create a connected universe with The Mummy, melding together their trove of monster characters (Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon), they have already failed once with Dracula Untold, which was supposed to launch their monster connected universe. But Dracula Untold crashed at the box office. That’s right, the Mummy is their second shot.
Then we have Warner Brothers’ attempt to get into the game with their DC universe. Wonder Woman finally seems to have them on track.
Recent attempts at connected universes:
King Arthur:Legend of the Sword - Supposed to be 6 movies
Fast and Furious
Harry Potter (Fantastic Beasts)
Star Wars (Rogue One)
Hasbro - GI Joe and MASK
Star Trek (connecting universes since 1987)
What We’re Dorking Out About This Week:
Netflix Cancels “Sense8” and “The Get Down”
I’m kinda dorking out about this because Netflix doesn’t release any ratings on their shows and specials. So if you are a fan of a show on Netflix, there are no ratings, you have no idea if the show you like is in danger of being canceled or not. You can to go by the buzz for the show.
Billions on Showtime
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