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Universal Just Shut Down Production on ‘Bride of Frankenstein’

Universal Classic Monsters

When Universal launched their “Dark Universe” earlier this year with The Mummy, I don’t think they expected it to flop, especially since it featured superstar Tom Cruise. What hurt the most wasn’t just the box office, it was the negative reviews and griping that caused a ton of finger pointing. In the end, while it only made $80M here in the States, internationally The Mummy did pretty well, allowing it to top $400M worldwide. It’s unclear if the film recouped its investment, but it looks like it was close, which is why those declarations of the franchise’s death may have been premature.

Even after the release, Universal continues to make announcements and move forward on the Dark Universe, with plans to begin filming Bride of Frankenstein in February. Each and every report came with a lack of confidence and muttering under the breath that it would have to be seen to be believed. Well, according to a report on Deadline, pre-production was actually underway in London, at least until today. The site is reporting that production has been shut down on the Bill Condon-directed remake of the 1935 horror classic and that the crew has just been told to go home for the time being.

Javier Bardem has been in talks to play Frankenstein’s Monster, and Angelina Jolie has been in talks to play his reanimated, reluctant mate in the second film in Universal’s Dark Universe initiative to bring back its classic movie monsters. Adds the site, the film is going back to the lab to do some more work on the script and that is why they stopped the clock.

There are many reasons for this, but one of the best guesses would be to assume they’re reworking it for budget. The Mummy is reported at $125M, and if that couldn’t break $100M domestically, it’s safe to assume Uni would want to bring it down for Bride.

What does it mean for the stars? The site is told that the actors aren’t walking away, but that doesn’t mean they’re a lock either. The site adds: “In fact, they are not committing until this all gets rectified.” If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is. What happens if Bardem or Jolie hate the new screenplay? What happens if they bail on the film?!

Here’s Universal’s statement on the delay, although it’s starting to sound like Bride needs to be struck by lightning to get off the ground…

“After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone Bride of Frankenstein,” Universal said in a statement to Deadline. “None of us want to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together.”

Yikes.



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COMMENTS

52 Comments
  • Ocelot006 .

    There is a mighty big difference between shut down and post pone. Fake news.

  • MODOK

    I’m sad to hear this. Condon was a good pick to direct, and the Bride is one of the few monsters that hasn’t been re-made to death already.

    Considering it was supposed to open in February 2019, that also would’ve been enough time to distance itself from The Mummy and get the Dark Universe back on track. I hope they actually are doing re-writes and not just using that as cover to quietly kill the project–and the Dark Universe–altogether.

    As long as Universal’s taking a break from things for a while, they might want to re-visit that decision to cast Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man.

    • I still hope that the movie is going to happen! And yes, after Gods and Monsters, Condon was the perfect pick.

      • Jon Macmenamin

        Absolutely, Gods And Monsters was a wonderful valentine to James Whale and Condon will treat this with love and respect…

  • Tronald Dump

    Great news!

  • Meisha’s Taint

    They should try making a good horror movie I bet more people would see it. Instead just shitty action rehashes. Everyone at Universal should be fired it’s time to reboot the entire company forget the monster franchises

  • Rohan

    I’m not surprised or all that disappointed. The Mummy was a decent action film, but by no means a good horror film, at all, in the slightest. I’m all up for a scary classic monster reboot series, but it has to be, well, scary, or at least attempt to be focused on the horror aspects.

    • Necro

      Spoken like a true prodigy!

  • Sergio Alejandro Soto

    The best news of the day, such classics should not be touched!!!

  • Necro

    You know it’s amazing to me how hard ‘Universal’ is actually making this. I’m no executive or some out of this world director or writer by any means whatsoever, but the formula for this is very simple and for them it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, but worst of all it’s like they’re convinced their way of wanting to approach this is actually going to work!

    • J Jett

      oh come on, you ARE an executive, an out of this world director AND a writer. admit it. 🙂

      • Necro

        Haha! I wish, believe me if any of that were true I’d have a bunch of you guys from the comments section here on BD on my staff! We may be opinionated fans, but one thing is true; at least we know what we want and like, these studios don’t take the time for any of that.

    • Baron Von Marlon

      I think most (if not all) people in charge are more business men than movie lovers.

      That’s why we get half-assed or bad results.
      They should now by now that a big name + big budget + special effects doesn’t automatically guarantee a good movie.

  • Cappy Tally

    This is bittersweet news. On one hand, I’m a greedy bastard and I want more monsters damn it. On the other hand, Universal recognized something: they are in a perfect position to course correct. They didn’t rush into the Dark Universe the way WB rushed into the depressing, grimdark, Hot Topic-friendly clusterfuck that is the current cinematic DC universe.

    The idiots at WB rushed into that pumping films out so quickly they accidentally made a great one, and now they can’t shut it down and reboot it without losing that major success. Not to mention they have Aquaman coming up, which may also turn out nicely. That’s why there’s all this confusion about which DC films are going to be part of that continuity or not, with several competing Joker movies (for some reason) and Ben Affleck playing the “will he, won’t he” game. They can’t reboot without losing good stuff, and they can’t stick with it without being stuck with garbage. They’re in a real Catch-22 situation, and it’s entirely their fault.

    Universal is in a much better position, and this decision to stall Bride of Frankenstein suggests they know it. They have an opportunity to right the ship because they didn’t rush it, and they’re taking advantage of it to try and make sure they get this one right. Whether or not they actually know what the real problems were with The Mummy and how to avoid them remains to be seen. They thought the problems with The Wolfman were the R rating, the period setting, the fact that it’s a horror film and not an action adventure film, and the old fashioned werewolf. So they deliberately chose to avoid that film’s STRENGTHS when setting up the Dark Universe project, and now they may have finally realized just how dumb that was.

    Hopefully.

  • Aslinn McIntyre

    They need to go on and recast it as well. Angelina Jolie as the Bride? no way. Find someone else.

    • MODOK

      She was only in discussions and hadn’t been cast. Plenty of actors have discussions about a role but ultimately pass on it because they don’t like the director’s vision, decide to do other projects instead, etc.

      Having said that, I think Jolie would make an excellent bride. She’s a good actor and still has star power. And unlike The Mummy, they wouldn’t need to push the monster aside to make sure their A-list star remains the focus.

      • MYKEE WATTZ

        Shes an awesome actor. I agree

    • Agreed. And I don’t like R-Crowe for mr hyde and dr jekyll at all. That was so painful in THE MUMMY. Speaking of which, that movie was flat out awful. Cringeworthy dialog, Neither scary (if it wanted to be) nor entertaining (from an action standpoint), Jake Johnson was awful. And very silly ending.

      I hope they look at recent horror success and go for a more horror-esque universe. Which should save money in the long run (no need for over the top action sequences).

      • Saturn

        Have to agree – I don’t mind Crowe as an actor, as he’s been in plenty of decent stuff and has the chops – but I hated him in the Mummy movie – not ever really him as an actor, but the character itself. Didn’t like it.
        Start the next movie with his place being completely destroyed and beasties being unleashed, and leave it at that.

  • Demented Daniel

    The dead shall dead remain… for now.

  • Dan

    They over think these plots, keep them simple. Stop making thriller/action movies out of these, make horro movies.

  • tyler

    It’s not even a question that the issue with The Mummy was Tom Cruise. Scrap these A-List actors – no body wants Angelina! With that said – don’t pick a no-name actor either. May I recommend Jennifer Tilly? Or Eva Green?

    • Matt Graupman

      Eva Green would be a superb Bride Of Frankenstein.

      • J Jett

        oh HELL FUCKING YES! Eva Green as the Bride would have been perfection. 🙂

      • Biscoito18

        That would be fantastic!!!

    • DukeStKing

      Yes! Eva Green. Inspired casting.

  • Saturn

    I wonder if they read my comment the other day about the new Bride potentially being better than the original…..

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    In all seriousness it’s not too difficult Universal – you already have a shared universe going back to the 1940’s – go back to the classic style but make sure Drac, Frank and Wolfey are a genuine threat in a modern world.
    And no, it doesn’t have to be done like a Marvel movie, or any other “adventure” movie (although Creature could work in that format, make it s c a r e y – not l a m e

  • Brey Compton Arriaga

    I may be a little negative and rough with super stars, but I don’t think the Dark Universe needs big names to star in it, THE MONSTERS ARE ALREADY POPULAR, that’s what the Dark Universe is, it would be pretty cool if they bring up big names of the genre (I don’t think I need to name’em, we all know about those). Just find good actors for these roles, find people that know about the genre, it’s not necessary to have big names for this, that’s why they’re spending tons of dollars; instead of using that money to pay big checks, they should invest them on the whole movie. Just my humble opinion.

    • J Jett

      i agree w/ you. i didn’t hate THE MUMMY 2017 but Tom Cruise (i do like many of his films) upstaged the mummy and that SHOULD NOT happen with these reboot films. the monsters should be the “big name” focus characters in them not Tom Cruise/Julia Roberts/Tom Hanks/_______(add any over-exposed mega-celebrity).

      • Brey Compton Arriaga

        Totally!!!

    • zomnombie

      These were not made primarily for American audiences. Tom Cruise sells in China.

  • YES! Given the, shall we say, “unimpressive” state of the current cinematic universe, now is not the time for them to try to ruin… I mean, “reboot” the as-yet-untouched masterpiece that is The Bride of Frankenstein. And we haven’t even gotten to regular ol’ Frankenstein yet (and I hope we never do in this particular iteration of the Universal Monsters universe).

  • drew

    Good.

  • DukeStKing

    Best news I’ve heard all day.

  • Creepshow

    “Shut’er down Buford, she’s pumping mud.”

  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    Bride doesn’t feel like the type of film that’s clamoring to be remade. The original is an undisputed classic and remakes/reimaginings/recalibrations/re(insert synonyms) don’t need to pale by comparison.

  • zomnombie

    Their take on the “Dark Universe” is all wrong. They were trying to make a “Avengers, meets transformers, meets classic monsters” movie and it wasn’t working. I hope they return to the roots of atmospheric Gothic Horror and not blockbuster VFX blowouts.

  • Meatwad

    Crash and burn Universal Dark Universe,… crash and burn!

  • Bummer

  • Biscoito18

    Just now that I was starting to get excited about this Dark Universe…

  • Batcat

    Universal needs to remember what made these special. They were creepy but always had a heart and soul. That’s what always set them apart. They had that extra dimension. They were never action films. They were as Boris Karloff so eloquently said, “Fairy tales for adults.”

    It’s insane to think they would even attempt Bride of Frankenstein. That’s not just one of the greatest horror films ever made, but just one of the greatest films of all time.

    Many of these are in that company. Universal has a beautiful legacy.

  • Johnny Five

    I’m all for remakes of the classic Universal horrors, but not as soulless action flicks. Just like I wouldn’t want an action movie based on The Exorcist or A Nightmare on Elm Street.

    • Jesse Sikora

      Exactly!!

  • Jonny Angel

    Universal was stupid for choosing an asshole like Tom Cruise to launch anything.. No one likes him.. I would have preferred to have seen Brendan Frasier back in a Mummy movie

    • Oliver Riddle

      Shut up you memberry twink. Tom cruise >>> brendan fraser.

  • gjk2012 .

    Hollywood is going to hell in a hand bag.

  • Alanmac

    Didn’t read the article but based on the title I can safely say this is excellent news.

  • guest

    they need to forget the marvel approach and just make good horror movies.
    universal’s horror films were real horror films back in the 30’s. horror is not the same in this day and age.
    universal’s horror films set the standard back then. that should be the aspiration now.
    and having someone like alex kurtzman running the ‘universe’ is not a real good idea unless screenplays made with first draft ’98 software makes you salivate.

  • Youri Gavrilov

    Are you really gonna watch a “horror” movie made by the director of “Twilight” and “Beauty and the Beast” remake? Do you really think it’s gonna be better than “The Mummy”?

    • Kathy O’Brien

      He made “Gods and Monsters”…..he has it in him.

      • Jon Macmenamin

        Exactly! As I mentioned in an earlier comment, Condon is a great choice for this as he’s a massive James Whale fan and historian. Gods And Monsters was a wonderful affectionate tribute to Whale…

  • Kathy O’Brien

    Which studio was it that was going to sue Mike Meyers for not making his “Sprockets” film as scheduled even though he said the script was bad? Since when has a studio cared if a script was bad?

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