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Universal announces plans for a classic monster revival with Dark Universe

05.22.2017

With the release of Alex Kurtzman's THE MUMMY starring Tom Cruise planned for a June 9, 2017 release, some fans of Universal's classic movie monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Phantom of the Opera, Creature for the Black Lagoon, The Wolfman) have been anxiously awaiting the details concerning the label's planned monster mash revival. 

Today, Universal pulled the curtain back on what they're calling "DARK UNIVERSE" - a series of films starring an ensemble cast of notable actors aimed at presenting the movie monsters of old to a new generation of horror-hungry moviegoers. 

Here are the details from the official press release:

Dark Universe films will be distinguished by performances from some of the most talented and popular global superstars stepping into iconic roles, as well as electric new talents whose careers are starting to break through.  While previously announced, the stars of both imminent and future Dark Universe projects are gathered for the first time in the attached photo: The Invisible Man and Frankenstein’s Monster will be played by, respectively, blockbuster icon Johnny Depp and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem, who appear together later this summer in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES. Those actors join superstar Tom Cruise as soldier of fortune Nick Morton and Oscar winner Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll, who lead the all-star cast of The Mummy, along with Sofia Boutella, the actress who embodies the title role in that film.

At its organizing principle, Dark Universe films are connected by a mysterious multi-national organization known as Prodigium.  Led by the enigmatic and brilliant Dr. Henry Jekyll, Prodigium’s mission is to track, study and—when necessary—destroy evil embodied in the form of monsters in our world.  Working outside the aegis of any government, and with practices concealed by millennia of secrecy, Prodigium protects the public from knowledge of the evil that exists just beyond the thin membrane of civilized society…and will go to any length to contain it.

Also included in the press release was this kick ass Monsters Legacy mash-up trailer. Enjoy!

Wow! On top of all this good stuff, it's also been announced that Bill Condon will direct BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN as a part of the Dark Universe library of films. 

Personally, I'm finding this news to be rather exciting. Just this past Halloween, I sat down and made my way through several of Universal's classic movie monster films. While I'd found some of them to be questionable in their quality, there's no doubt in my mind that each character offers an entire world of new possibilities for today's talented crop of notable filmmakers. Here's hoping that THE MUMMY kicks things off to a great start for this bold re-imagining of so many iconic figures in horror history. 

The first film of the planned Dark Universe will be THE MUMMY starring Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Sofia BoutellaAnnabelle Wallis, Chasty Ballesteros and more! The film opens on June 9, 2017.

Who's your favorite Universal movie monster? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Extra Tidbit: I've always been a Wolfman fan, though I'm mostly curious as to how a film centering on The Invisible Man will come about.

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1:01PM on 05/23/2017
So will Luke Evans be involved since he was in Dracula Untold? I thought that was supposed to start the franchise. I would hate to see the part go to someone else. The movie wasn't great but it was watchable and Luke Evans is always good in my book
So will Luke Evans be involved since he was in Dracula Untold? I thought that was supposed to start the franchise. I would hate to see the part go to someone else. The movie wasn't great but it was watchable and Luke Evans is always good in my book
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6:52PM on 05/23/2017
No. Originally Dracula Untold was supposed to be part of the universe until the movie tanked.
No. Originally Dracula Untold was supposed to be part of the universe until the movie tanked.
8:26AM on 05/23/2017

I'm sorry but this is a joke, right?

So no Wolfman or Dracula,and they are putting all eggs in this shitty looking mummy basket.
So no Wolfman or Dracula,and they are putting all eggs in this shitty looking mummy basket.
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1:33AM on 05/23/2017
I'm cool with this, as long as it's done right. Tired of hearing from the "purists" complaining about the Cruise "Mummy". Look, the Universal movies are classics, but by no means perfect; there's just as much spectacle and campiness going on in those films. Invisible Man is a great example; Claude Rains chews scenery like it's bubble gum, but it's chock filled with for-it's-time great special effects and set pieces.
I'm cool with this, as long as it's done right. Tired of hearing from the "purists" complaining about the Cruise "Mummy". Look, the Universal movies are classics, but by no means perfect; there's just as much spectacle and campiness going on in those films. Invisible Man is a great example; Claude Rains chews scenery like it's bubble gum, but it's chock filled with for-it's-time great special effects and set pieces.
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1:07AM on 05/23/2017
Hell I'm excited. I don't know how they're planning on doing this but I just hope we get a League of Extraordinary Gentleman style team up movies where al these charecters have to take on Dracula and they do the most powerful, scary version of him ever!
Hell I'm excited. I don't know how they're planning on doing this but I just hope we get a League of Extraordinary Gentleman style team up movies where al these charecters have to take on Dracula and they do the most powerful, scary version of him ever!
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12:06AM on 05/23/2017
And that's a weird lineup. I mean the three big ones are Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. Then it's The Creature and The Mummy. And then way down the line I'd say Jeckyl And Hyde and Invicible Man.

No wait, I guess they tried to start with Dracula, but that failed.
And that's a weird lineup. I mean the three big ones are Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. Then it's The Creature and The Mummy. And then way down the line I'd say Jeckyl And Hyde and Invicible Man.

No wait, I guess they tried to start with Dracula, but that failed.
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11:59PM on 05/22/2017
Dark Universe is a terrible title. I mean did some add agency tell them that according to like some market research, people do not respond well to the word "monster" but the word "dark" scored real high? Terrible. And it's not that I'm some Universal Monsters purist, but Dark Universe really is a title of a cheap DVD box set... go figure...
Dark Universe is a terrible title. I mean did some add agency tell them that according to like some market research, people do not respond well to the word "monster" but the word "dark" scored real high? Terrible. And it's not that I'm some Universal Monsters purist, but Dark Universe really is a title of a cheap DVD box set... go figure...
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8:56PM on 05/22/2017
Yeah, I'll pick Neutral too.
Sure, remake a few old classic movies. Give Frankenstein another shot.

By that's enough. Just make a good movie. Don't add unwanted junk.
Yeah, I'll pick Neutral too.
Sure, remake a few old classic movies. Give Frankenstein another shot.

By that's enough. Just make a good movie. Don't add unwanted junk.
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8:51PM on 05/22/2017
Great group of actors. Really trying to remain optimistic on this because I love Universal monsters, always have, always will. I want Mummy to be a success and this plan to work out, but like others wish it was Victorian age instead of modern.
Great group of actors. Really trying to remain optimistic on this because I love Universal monsters, always have, always will. I want Mummy to be a success and this plan to work out, but like others wish it was Victorian age instead of modern.
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8:30PM on 05/22/2017
Still not sure what to think of this plan. Although the idea of an action/adventure Frankenstein where the monster persues him across the globe would probably be great. You really can't do that story as horror anymore. Same with Dracula - vampires gave up being scary a long time ago, there a more ways to kill them than there are for regular people at this point. I just hope they learn from Hulk and avoid making a Jekyl and Hyde movie where he fights a Hyde wannabe. Nobody's interested in that!
Still not sure what to think of this plan. Although the idea of an action/adventure Frankenstein where the monster persues him across the globe would probably be great. You really can't do that story as horror anymore. Same with Dracula - vampires gave up being scary a long time ago, there a more ways to kill them than there are for regular people at this point. I just hope they learn from Hulk and avoid making a Jekyl and Hyde movie where he fights a Hyde wannabe. Nobody's interested in that!
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8:26PM on 05/22/2017

On the fence

I'm a big Universal Monsters fan, but I think there's a better than not shot that this is a huge mess. The Mummy just hasn't grabbed my attention, and I question the idea of setting this in the modern world. It feels like setting this universe in the Victorian era would not only set it apart stylistically, but also be more in keeping with the tone/feel of the original films. Something akin to a more mainstream Penny Dreadful would have been perfect. I'm hoping these films prove me wrong, but
I'm a big Universal Monsters fan, but I think there's a better than not shot that this is a huge mess. The Mummy just hasn't grabbed my attention, and I question the idea of setting this in the modern world. It feels like setting this universe in the Victorian era would not only set it apart stylistically, but also be more in keeping with the tone/feel of the original films. Something akin to a more mainstream Penny Dreadful would have been perfect. I'm hoping these films prove me wrong, but I'm worried.
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6:39PM on 05/22/2017

?

I'm confused as to why Universal would put out a trailer marketing this new Dark Universe, by advertising the original movies from the 30s and 40s. It mostly just makes me want to watch the old ones, I really don't have much interest in these new ones, yet.

Or are they suggesting that this new Dark Universe is a continuation of the old 30s/40s Universal Monster Cinematic Universe? That would be a huge challenge to pull off.

I also wonder if they'll be doing Dorian Gray.

I'm confused as to why Universal would put out a trailer marketing this new Dark Universe, by advertising the original movies from the 30s and 40s. It mostly just makes me want to watch the old ones, I really don't have much interest in these new ones, yet.

Or are they suggesting that this new Dark Universe is a continuation of the old 30s/40s Universal Monster Cinematic Universe? That would be a huge challenge to pull off.

I also wonder if they'll be doing Dorian Gray.

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6:13PM on 05/22/2017
I love the Universal Monster movies, I love the Hammer Horror re-makes of them, hell I even have a soft spot for the 90's Mummy movies.
However, this 'universe' was screwed up from the start for me the second the new Mummy was shown to be an awful looking action movie with pieces already stolen from the 90's movie and a shit tone of CGI.
Give me a genuinely creepy, low budget old-school horror movie, I'd have been excited, as it is, I think this whole 'Dark Universe' will die on its arse 2-3
I love the Universal Monster movies, I love the Hammer Horror re-makes of them, hell I even have a soft spot for the 90's Mummy movies.
However, this 'universe' was screwed up from the start for me the second the new Mummy was shown to be an awful looking action movie with pieces already stolen from the 90's movie and a shit tone of CGI.
Give me a genuinely creepy, low budget old-school horror movie, I'd have been excited, as it is, I think this whole 'Dark Universe' will die on its arse 2-3 films in.
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5:58PM on 05/22/2017
Would love to see Benecio Del Toro play the Wolfman again since he did a great job with the role in the Wolfman. But since it probably won't happen, then I would love to see Joaquin Phoenix take on the role; which would also be a long shot since he's not a big blockbuster/long contract type of guy.
Would love to see Benecio Del Toro play the Wolfman again since he did a great job with the role in the Wolfman. But since it probably won't happen, then I would love to see Joaquin Phoenix take on the role; which would also be a long shot since he's not a big blockbuster/long contract type of guy.
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6:16PM on 05/22/2017
Absolutely spot on. BDT was a great Wolfman. I didn't think the movie was too bad. It was what should have been the basis for the Universal Monsters Universe in terms of tone and style.
Absolutely spot on. BDT was a great Wolfman. I didn't think the movie was too bad. It was what should have been the basis for the Universal Monsters Universe in terms of tone and style.
6:43PM on 05/22/2017
Yeah, the BDT Wolfman is really under rated. They also could have easily done a prequel, with the Anthony Hopkins character, since that character's backstory is essentially the Werewolf of London story.

I don't think you'd need BDT to do a Wolfman sequel. He did die in the film. But Hugo Weaving's character could do the sequel since he was bit at the end of the movie.
Yeah, the BDT Wolfman is really under rated. They also could have easily done a prequel, with the Anthony Hopkins character, since that character's backstory is essentially the Werewolf of London story.

I don't think you'd need BDT to do a Wolfman sequel. He did die in the film. But Hugo Weaving's character could do the sequel since he was bit at the end of the movie.
8:59PM on 05/22/2017
Didn't think the movie was great, not horrible either, but still love De Toro cast as Wolfman and would fit right in with that awesome group. Hell it can be fear and loathing in Transylvania!
Didn't think the movie was great, not horrible either, but still love De Toro cast as Wolfman and would fit right in with that awesome group. Hell it can be fear and loathing in Transylvania!
5:54PM on 05/22/2017
So it's one part update of the classic universal monster films, one part modern reboot of Van Helsing, and one part League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?
So it's one part update of the classic universal monster films, one part modern reboot of Van Helsing, and one part League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?
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6:35PM on 05/22/2017
That's exactly how this feels. Maybe with a dash of I, Frankenstein to boot!
That's exactly how this feels. Maybe with a dash of I, Frankenstein to boot!
1:05AM on 05/23/2017
And personally that's exactly what I want from these!
And personally that's exactly what I want from these!
+1
5:33PM on 05/22/2017
So is Dracula Untold part of this or not? I seem to recall hearing that this whole monsters universe thing was to start with Untold or will there be another new Dracula movie to fit in this universe?
So is Dracula Untold part of this or not? I seem to recall hearing that this whole monsters universe thing was to start with Untold or will there be another new Dracula movie to fit in this universe?
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8:34PM on 05/22/2017
First it was supposed to start with Untold, then it was supposed to start with that Frankenstein prequel, now it's supposed to start with this Mummy movie. Go figure
First it was supposed to start with Untold, then it was supposed to start with that Frankenstein prequel, now it's supposed to start with this Mummy movie. Go figure
5:05PM on 05/22/2017

Do it!

Fuck it.
Fuck it.
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4:36PM on 05/22/2017
Considering how bad The Mummy looks, I'm not holding much hope for any of it.
Considering how bad The Mummy looks, I'm not holding much hope for any of it.
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4:23PM on 05/22/2017
That is the craze nowadays isn't it but then again Universal did this back before we even had color.... soooo, who knows, see how it turns.
That is the craze nowadays isn't it but then again Universal did this back before we even had color.... soooo, who knows, see how it turns.
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3:28PM on 05/22/2017

Gonna be awkward when The Mummy opens to 40 million dollars, and a RT score of probably 55-65%.

I mean maybe China will save this one, they probably like Tom Cruise.
I mean maybe China will save this one, they probably like Tom Cruise.
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4:08PM on 05/22/2017
Rotten Tomatoes is irrelevant.
Rotten Tomatoes is irrelevant.
6:15PM on 05/22/2017
Actually rotten tomatoes becomes more relevant with every passing year.
Actually rotten tomatoes becomes more relevant with every passing year.
3:27PM on 05/22/2017
I'm so excited for this and hope The Mummy is very successful. The Wolf Man is my favorite Universal Movie Monster.
I'm so excited for this and hope The Mummy is very successful. The Wolf Man is my favorite Universal Movie Monster.
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8:54PM on 05/22/2017
love your optimism on this, I sure hope it succeeds as well. We all need more monster films. Wolf man is awesome, just don't kick him in the bards! My favorite is creature.
love your optimism on this, I sure hope it succeeds as well. We all need more monster films. Wolf man is awesome, just don't kick him in the bards! My favorite is creature.
8:56PM on 05/22/2017
*nards! Stupid phone.
*nards! Stupid phone.
3:21PM on 05/22/2017
Damn, I think the Mummy is a bit of a misfire in terms of its vision but damn I am excited to get these actors together in some of the most iconic roles in horror. I fear though, that they will never be as iconic as the movies in that promo reel, or as beautifully filmed. I think the Dark Universe logo is a fantastic, simple take on the Universal logo and its got me pumped for what's to come. If a connected universe was to exist, it was always this. I just would have preferred the Mummy to feel
Damn, I think the Mummy is a bit of a misfire in terms of its vision but damn I am excited to get these actors together in some of the most iconic roles in horror. I fear though, that they will never be as iconic as the movies in that promo reel, or as beautifully filmed. I think the Dark Universe logo is a fantastic, simple take on the Universal logo and its got me pumped for what's to come. If a connected universe was to exist, it was always this. I just would have preferred the Mummy to feel less like a Mission Impossible film in its trailers and more like a horror.
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3:05PM on 05/22/2017
The promo material they have here looks good, even though there isn't any footage of other new films (I know they haven't started filming). Their confidence makes me feel like the material is in good hands and they have a plan, and believe in it, as opposed to how post MOS (and pre-MOS really, as no one knew that Superman film would be connected to the DC universe), DC clearly had no real plan and rushed and fumbled things step by step, hoping to iron out previous problems (it seems like they
The promo material they have here looks good, even though there isn't any footage of other new films (I know they haven't started filming). Their confidence makes me feel like the material is in good hands and they have a plan, and believe in it, as opposed to how post MOS (and pre-MOS really, as no one knew that Superman film would be connected to the DC universe), DC clearly had no real plan and rushed and fumbled things step by step, hoping to iron out previous problems (it seems like they have made some success). For a universe full of characters there is no real demand for, their first couple of steps seems promising they can make it all work.

Having the Mummy, wolf man, invisible man, Frankenstein's monster, etc. all exist in the same universe is well and good. They are all in different parts of the world, and especially with the smaller scale monsters, characters like Tom Cruise might believe in the supernatural because he had a friend who told him a rumor about a man who turned into a wolf. I get that, and it's neat. The question is, what will "The Avengers" equivalent film be like, what will be the films point or plot? Do all the monsters team up for some reason and decide to take over the world? Who fights them and where does the franchise go after that? Easter Eggs in each film are really cool, but I don't know why the actual characters would appear in the same films? What monster would try to meet Dracula and why? I don't care to see a bunch of silly VS films like they already did and the way comic characters ALWAYS fight when the first meet. So that's the question; after one or two films for each character, why do they team up? The invisible man wants to rob Dracula? Dr Jekyl recruits Frankenstein's monster and Wolf Man to destroy the Mummy? What other ideas and options do they have? Perhaps they won't even have an "Avengers" like film. I think that might be best.
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3:03PM on 05/22/2017
As mixed as I am for The Mummy, Bardem as Frankenstein's Monster raised my eyebrows.
As mixed as I am for The Mummy, Bardem as Frankenstein's Monster raised my eyebrows.
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2:30PM on 05/22/2017
That trailer with the original Universal Monsters is fantastic. Lots of luck to Universal, but I think it will be damn near impossible to beat the legacy those movies have left.
That trailer with the original Universal Monsters is fantastic. Lots of luck to Universal, but I think it will be damn near impossible to beat the legacy those movies have left.
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