What was intended to launch an entire “Dark Universe” for Universal could be left stumbling if the film scores in the anticipated domestic range of $35 million to $40 million in its opening weekend. Overseas grosses should fare better — the movie is launching in 63 international markets this weekend and already saw a record opening in Korea on Monday — but with a reported $125 million production budget, this might be the mark of yet another franchise that should be laid to rest.
That means Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ “Wonder Woman” has every intention of reclaiming the top spot in North America, which it won last weekend with a glass ceiling-shattering $103 million opening. Even if Patty Jenkins’ blockbuster sees a steep 60% drop during week two, it would still be surprising if it fails to defend itself again “The Mummy.”
Alex Kurtzman directed “The Mummy,” a revival of the franchise spawned by Universal’s 1932 original and re-popularized by Stephen Sommers’ 1999 fright-fest starring Brendan Fraser, and the three other Mummy films that followed. In the 2017 update, Cruise plays a freelance treasure hunter who resurrects a princess (Sofia Boutella). Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, and Russell Crowe are also in the mix.
Following what has proven to be a highly lucrative model for Marvel and DC Comics, “The Mummy” was announced as the kick-off to a “Dark Universe” of monster movies. 2014’s “Dracula Untold,” it turns out, is not canon. The studio that was built on classics including “Dracula,” “The Wolf Man,” and “Frankenstein” has already slated a “Bride of Frankenstein” movie for 2019 with half a dozen or so others in the works.
Cruise mostly recently opened “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” to a $22.9 million domestic opening, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” to $55.5 million, and “Edge of Tomorrow” to $28.9 million. Cruise with reunite with “Edge” director Doug Liman for Universal’s “American Made.” The studio dropped the trailer for the crime-centric action biopic on Monday, presumably a strategic move to get audiences excited about its star.
Elsewhere at the box office, A24 is opening the psychological horror movie “It Comes at Night, which should frighten up ticket sales somewhere in the range of $10 million to $12 million. The story of two families riddled by paranoia and distrust and threatened by a mysterious outside force stars Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Riley Keough.
Finally, “Megan Leavey,” the story of a young Marine who saves lives in Iraq with commitment and canine kinship, looks like a flop. The biopic from Bleecker Street is tracking at only $5 million. Kate Mara stars in the titular role.
While “Wonder Woman” gave the box office some hope, this weekend should reignite conversation surrounding the dearth of true hits so far this summer. The epic flop that was “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” led the charge for “Alien: Covenant” and “Baywatch” to miss as well. Even the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie is leaning heavily on overseas grosses. With “The Mummy,” a parched summer will likely continue to dry up.