I don’t really like reporting on box office numbers because they’re arbitrary and impossible to corroborate. In fact, if reporting news is supposed to be factual, box office numbers are about as “fake news” as real news gets. Any writer who claims to have a firm grasp on them is lying, but we can at least make educated guesses based on our knowledge of how the studio system works. Yesterday I talked a bit about 47 Meters Down‘s theatrical opening specifically because I wanted to make sure that people understood that it was a successful release. Depending on how one looks at the results, it could have been deemed a failure. It wasn’t. The Mummy, however, is an interesting one because of the various hit pieces being taken out on Tom Cruise, not to mention the film flopping here in the States.
With a reported budget of $125M (although reports peg it more around $200M), The Mummy closed this weekend with an estimated $56M take. That’s devastating. To put it in perspective, adding in marketing spend, it looks like the film will need to gross at the very least $600M to break even. The Mummy won’t even cross $100M domestically, while Wonder Woman is on her way to $400M. Sure, they aren’t one in the same but The Mummy is supposed to be the beginning of Universal’s “Dark Universe”, which is supposed to be a horror take on DC and Marvel’s Cinematic Universes. With Cruise’s name failing to make an impact, the future looks rocky at best.
But as I reported before, the international numbers could be the saving grace. While there’s still a long way to go, as of this writing the worldwide estimate is close to topping $300M, which is about halfway to its target. It’s still early for the film but the strong international openings suggest it could have some legs.
It’s unclear where Universal Pictures executives heads are at with the film. Are they 100% committed to The Bride of Frankenstein or is the entire Dark Universe’s future riding on the success of The Mummy? Even if the film were to break even, you have to wonder what the ripple effect would after such a disastrous release. Will they revise their strategy? Change budgets? Rework scripts? Pull the plug altogether? We’ll be keeping an eye on everything because this hugely impacts our beloved genre’s future.