Universal Pictures desperately wants to make a shared universe out of their classic horror creatures, but they just can’t seem to catch a break. Last month’s Tom Cruise film The Mummy was meant to be the first of a new franchise, but the negative reaction and poor box office performance have led the studio to rethink their plans.
A new report indicates that part of the new agenda is to bring on actor Channing Tatum to star in a new Van Helsing film.
Despite the bad reception for The Mummy, Universal believes that having a big star like Tom Cruise headlining the film was one thing that worked in its favor.
There are already future plans in the so-called “Dark Universe” planned, including The Invisible Man starring Johnny Depp, and Bride of Frankenstein with Javier Bardem (and possibly Angelina Jolie).
Abraham Van Helsing was the doctor and vampire hunter who killed Count Dracula as the protagonist in Bram Stoker’s original 1897 novel, Dracula.
Hugh Jackman starred in the 2004 Van Helsing film, which presented the character as an all-around monster hunter squaring off against Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and werewolves.
A new Van Helsing would presumably fill the same role, only this time the monsters would be the big name faces seen in the other Dark Universe films.
Still, pursuing another big name to headline one of these films might be the wrong lesson to learn from the failure of The Mummy.
Our report last month indicated that Tom Cruise himself might be responsible for derailing the entire production, taking advantage of a contract that gave him full creative control.
Cruise brought in his own screenwriters to turn in a bland script, instructed the director on how to set up shots, and even brought in his own editor in post-production.
Still, The Mummy was not a complete train wreck; the film has nearly $400 million worldwide off a reported $195 million budget and could still recoup more costs on DVD and Blu-Ray. That’s a much better result than Universal’s last attempt to start a shared universe, 2014’s Dracula Untold, which performed so badly, the studio scrapped all plans and started from scratch.