Following The Mummy's Failure, Dark Universe Series Looks Dead As Bosses Quit

Universal's Dark Universe Thrust Into Jeopardy As Top Producers Walk

Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who helped Universal put the pieces together to get the Dark Universe off the ground, are no longer involved in the franchise and have since gone their separate ways, according to the report.

Dark Universe, we hardly knew ye!

The Dark Universe being in disarray comes after The Mummy delivered a poor performance at the box office. Kurtzman, whose deal with Universal lapsed in September, is focusing on television (he's an executive producer on CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery, and his overall deal with CBS involves more than a half-dozen shows), while Morgan has returned to the Fast and Furious franchise and is writing a spinoff for Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

Even before The Mummy was released in June, Universal was heavily touting the major stars it had lined up for Dark Universe, a shared universe concept meant to revive the classic Universal Monsters including The Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man.

Scary times may be lurking around the corner for Universal's cinematic Dark Universe.

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Kurtzman and Morgan were set to orchestrate the universe, with Kurtzman making his feature film directorial debut on The Mummy. The decision allows Kurtzman to focus on Star Trek: Discovery, which he is now producing, while Morgan is returning to the Fast and Furious universe. The studio had set Bride of Frankenstein, starring Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's monster, for 2019, although they later pulled the film from the schedule as director Bill Condon continued to work on the script. Angelina Jolie was considered for the lead. Kurtzman is now working as an executive producer on CBS' Star Trek: Discovery in addition to a number of other projects he's involved in because of a deal he has with the network.

Universal isn't giving up entirely with its vast library of monsters, which includes Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, Dracula and others.

It serves as a costly lesson for Universal, one that the studio intends to use effectively as it continues to move forward with inevitably-altered Dark Universe designs. One possible option would be to sell the intellectual property to another filmmaker, such as Blumhouse's Jason Blum, to make non-interconnected films. "We are not rushing to meet a release date and will move forward with these films when we feel they are the best versions of themselves". It's not uncommon for franchises to bounce back after one film does poorly in theaters, says box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Universal isn't throwing in the towel just yet, The Hollywood Reporter says, but it's on life support.

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