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.”