This franchise leaves a sore spot for me. There is some confusion on the internet of when and how this franchise actually attempted it’s start. Some say it was with Dracula Untold, others say it was Tom Cruise’s The Mummy. For the sake of this article, I will just rope them in together.
The Dark Universe was supposed to be an MCU-like universe with classic tales of horror. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Invisible Man were a few stories that were in the pipeline.
Though Dracula: Untold became a standalone thing from what I’ve gathered as both this film and The Mummy bombed at the box office and all hopes for the Dark Universe were crushed. But why? Why did these movies fail?
Yes, they felt rushed because they’re films. It’s expected at this point that films cannot cram their entire storyline in one film so they tend to speed the story along… but why did they fail? I have a theory…
So, the Dark Universe was supposed to be a retelling of all of these classic horror stories. They had a stellar cast, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, to name a few. But it failed despite these names. I think in part it is because these films attempted to play it safe.
They wanted to keep their low age ratings by pulling their punches. Whether Dracula: Untold was supposed to be part of the universe or not, it failed. While I enjoyed it, my biggest gripe is the lack of mature content.
It’s Dracula! The guy is ripping people apart and somehow he isn’t covered in blood? The Mummy had potential for some gnarly scenes but they held back. I wonder if these films would have sold better if they had upped the mature factor?
If they had given us guts and gore, the tone in both movies was dark and morbid yet the action scenes were just… generic. That’s possibly one of the factors as to why these films failed. Playing it safe in this day and age leads to mediocre results.
It’s sad because this universe had so much potential…