Once upon a time, Tom Cruise was the biggest movie star in the world. While that may no longer be the case, he remains an immensely popular figure and commands a lot of respect in Hollywood. According to some, though, his command of the situation may have actually caused the failure of Universal’s recent reboot of The Mummy.
There were big plans afoot well beyond The Mummy, with Universal releasing the film to launch a whole new connected universe of monster films.
After the poor critical reception and meager $32 million debut of The Mummy, there are now doubts as to whether the “Dark Universe” series will go forward as planned.
Surprisingly, a new report lays much of the blame for the film’s disastrous launch on the feet of Cruise himself, who allegedly had a much larger role than simply starring in the film.
When he signed on to The Mummy, Cruise’s contract gave him vast creative control over the project — something the studio was willing to agree to in order to bring such a marquee name to the film.
Cruise’s first step was giving the thumbs up to director Alex Kurtzman, who was already in the running for the film but was mainly known as a writer and producer, having only directed one small drama film.
Kurtzman may have had the title of “director,” but it was apparently Cruise calling the shots, choreographing action sequences, suggesting how certain scenes should be filmed, and even dictating which lenses to use.
In addition, Cruise brought in two additional writers to beef up his role and transform his character into more of a standard “Tom Cruise” archetype.
Even once the film was in post-production, Cruise brought in his own editor and exerted control over the film’s marketing and distribution.
The good news is that The Mummy is performing much better overseas, even giving Cruise his biggest international opening weekend. Nonetheless, Universal will likely think twice before giving another star such a high degree of control over any future films in the Dark Universe range.