Two weeks after Deadline revealed that Universal Pictures was putting its classic movie monster franchises in the hands of Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the studio is setting Kurtzman to direct the resuscitation of The Mummy franchise. The studio tapped that duo to come up with a creative game plan and maybe take on some of these monster classics, and clearly The Mummy was the first one to go in production, so this is not a startling development.
Universal has been trying to reopen the sarcophagus on this one for a while. The original trilogy, hatched by helmer Steve Sommers and starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, grossed north of $1.2 billion, but locking down the reboot has been all kinds of frustrating. The studio had Len Wiseman locked to do it, but then he bailed and it was Mama helmer Andy Muschietti, but those talks didn’t work out either.
The Universal resuscitation effort covers classic monster franchises from Frankenstein and Dracula to Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Universal did what Warner Bros did when it consolidated the DC Comics franchises that were spread out to producers all over the lot, and instead organized a cohesive plan that seems to be working. Maybe we’ll get a procession of monster pics as a result. The studio several years ago entrusted most of these franchises to Guillermo del Toro, but those plans went awry when he agreed to co-write to direct The Hobbit. I saw del Toro at Comic-Con and said the fact that Universal gave the franchise keys to Kurtzman and Morgan didn’t mean he would not be dealing with the monsters, most of which are based on literature that is in the public domain so anybody can make them. Del Toro is focused on vampires right now with his superb FX series adaptation of The Strain, the novel trilogy he authored with Chuck Hogan.