Inside ‘The Mummy’s’ Troubles: Tom Cruise Had Excessive Control (EXCLUSIVE)

The Mummy 2017
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

There were few signs that a major blockbuster was about to premiere when “The Mummy” rolled into Manhattan last week. The marquee of the AMC Loews Lincoln Square Theatres had gone blank. The carpet was totally covered with black plastic. Security only let guests past barricades after quizzing them about what they were there to see, and everybody had to walk through two imposing metal detectors.

Inside the theater, Tom Cruise was jubilant, as he stood in front of the crowd. “Hey y’all,” said the 54-year-old actor. He introduced Alex Kurtzman, the film’s director, as well as the cast members, who stood quietly as Cruise delivered a 10-minute improvised speech. “Movies aren’t made by single people,” he said. “It’s a team effort.”

But in the case of “The Mummy,” one person–Cruise–had an excessive amount of control, according to several people interviewed. The reboot of “The Mummy” was supposed to be the start of a mega-franchise for Universal Pictures. But instead, it’s become a textbook case of a movie star run amok.

As Hollywood is playing the blame game on what went wrong on “The Mummy,” which had a measly domestic opening of just $32 million, many fingers are pointing to Cruise. In the same way that he commanded the stage at the film’s premiere, leaving his cast standing awkwardly by his side, several sources close to the production say that Cruise exerted nearly complete creative oversight on “The Mummy,” essentially wearing all the hats and dictating even the smallest decisions on the set. On stage, Cruise admitted his own perfectionist tendencies. “I don’t just make a movie. I give it everything I have and I expect it from everyone also.”

Universal, according to sources familiar with the matter, contractually guaranteed Cruise control of most aspects of the project, from script approval to post-production decisions. He also had a great deal of input on the film’s marketing and release strategy, these sources said, advocating for a June debut in a prime summer period.

With terrible reviews, “The Mummy,” which insiders say cost as much as $190 million to make and more than $100 million more to market and release worldwide, may struggle to make its money back. The film is performing much stronger overseas, where it was Cruise’s biggest international rollout with a $142 million opening weekend. It’s not clear if the movie will break even, and it’s cast a shadow on the studio’s plans for a Dark Universe franchise that’s supposed to feature A-list stars like Johnny Depp (as “The Invisible Man”) and Angelina Jolie (in negotiations for “The Bride of Frankenstein”).

A representative for Cruise didn’t respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Universal refuted that Cruise had a negative influence on the production.


The Mummy

Review: Tom Cruise in ‘The Mummy’

“Tom approaches every project with a level of commitment and dedication that is unmatched by most working in our business today,” the statement read. “He has been a true partner and creative collaborator, and his goal with any project he works on is to provide audiences with a truly cinematic moviegoing experience.”

Cruise’s controlling behavior comes as Hollywood’s star system is in tatters. In the 1990s and early aughts, studios shelled out big money for the likes of Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, and Harrison Ford, confident that their names above the title could guarantee ticket sales. In exchange they were offered big perks, hefty salaries, and a sizable share of the profits. Along with the money came the power to veto key decisions. But as comic book movies and special effects-heavy productions took over, top actors found themselves in less demand and with less influence. Cruise has navigated the new landscape better than some–the “Mission: Impossible” franchise still makes money but other efforts such as “Oblivion” have disappointed. Going forward, he may have difficulty exerting the same kind of sway over other films.

It may be the last hurrah for big movie stars, but on the set of “The Mummy,” Cruise acted like the top gun he once was, calling all the shots. Kurtzman had been in the running to direct the project before Cruise signed on, but the actor gave his blessing for the filmmaker to slide behind the camera. They’d established a comfort level when Kurtzman worked as the screenwriter of “Mission: Impossible III.”

In the wake of “The Mummy’s” failure, the decision to tap such an untested director on a sprawling action-adventure seems to have been foolhardy. Kurtzman wouldn’t necessarily rank high on a studio’s wish list for a project this big, given that he’s a producer and writer who only helmed one small feature that debuted to mixed reviews (2012’s Chris Pine drama “People Like Us”). As Kurtzman struggled to adjust to scope of the project, it felt more like Cruise was the real director, often dictating the major action sequences and micro-managing the production, according to sources.

There were other ways that “The Mummy” was transformed from a scary summer popcorn movie into a standard-issue Tom Cruise vehicle. The actor personally commissioned two other writers along with McQuarrie to crank out a new script. Two of the film’s three credited screenwriters, McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman, an actor-writer who played small roles in “The Mummy” and “Jack Reacher,” were close allies of Cruise’s. The script envisioned Nick Morton as an earnest Tom Cruise archetype, who is laughably described as a “young man” at one point.

His writers beefed up his part. In the original script, Morton and the Mummy (played by Sofia Boutella) had nearly equal screen time. The writers also added a twist that saw Cruise’s character become possessed, to give him more of a dramatic arc. Even though Universal executives weren’t thrilled about the story — which feels disjointed and includes Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll — they went along with Cruise’s vision.

And the crew fell in line too, behind Cruise as the boss. “This is very much a film of two halves: before Tom and after Tom,” said Frank Walsh, the supervising art director, at a London screening of “The Mummy” this week. “I have heard the stories about how he drives everything and pushes and pushes, but it was amazing to work with him. The guy is a great filmmaker and knows his craft. He will walk onto a set and tell the director what to do, say ‘that’s not the right lens,’ ask about the sets, and as long as you don’t fluff what you’re saying to him … he’s easy to work for.”

Once the film was done, Cruise brought in his longtime editor Andrew Mondshein to piece together the final picture. (The film’s credits also list Gina and Paul Hirsch as editors.) He spent time in the editing suite overseeing the cutting, which everybody agreed wasn’t working. On the lot, there were differences of opinions about whether Cruise’s directions were improving a picture that had been troubled from its inception or whether they were turning a horror film into a Cruise infomercial. Some believed that Cruise had no choice but to assert himself. Given Kurtzman’s inexperience directing tentpoles, Cruise, who has carried heavily choreographed action movies all his life, had to try to rally the troops or risk having the production fall behind schedule.

Universal knew that if it wanted “The Mummy” to compete against the likes of “Wonder Woman” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” it needed every ounce of Cruise’s waning star power. As the studio scrambled to deal with weak tracking, it released a portrait in late May of Cruise with other actors from the Dark Universe franchise, including Depp and Javier Bardem (who will play Frankenstein). Yet the studio couldn’t even assemble all the actors in the room at the same time, and the image had to be Photoshopped. The Internet reaction to the last-ditch marketing effort was tepid at best. It was another reminder that the big names that once ruled Hollywood are inspiring a lot less love from audiences.

The reviews may have been brutal, but at the premiere Cruise seemed pleased, complimenting everyone involved and portraying the finished film as a team effort. “Jake! Jake!” he shouted at one of his co-stars Jake Johnson. “It was awesome working with you, Jake!”

Justin Kroll and Stewart Clarke contributed to this story.

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  1. Kristina says:

    Two words: Brendan Fraser.

    No need for a remake, reboot or whatever Universal called this. I loved Brendan Fraser version of this. Everybody loved his Mummy. Not everything or everyone wants a remake. That’s why this movie flopped.

  2. Mary says:

    …..Well I blame Tom Cruise. Hired for his good looks rather than his acting ability I have always suspected. I LOVED the other two Mummy films with Brendan Fraser at the helm. I was quietly excited about this one. True I thought Tom Cruise was a bad lead choice, but I really wanted to like it given how much I enjoyed the previous ones. In fact, without Tom Cruise I think it would have been heaps better. He just has one acting style which comes out in every film he does. Bring back Brendan I say. Tom honestly ruined whole whole thing for me. He was painful to watch. The rest of the cast was fine. The film was a bit of a mish mash. I fell asleep after 40 minutes. I will have to attempt watching it again with the hope it will get better.

    • Mary says:

      …Brendan Fraser did a fine job of macho hero and mild comic in the early films, along with his great side kick John Hannah. I think Tom was trying to copy that style. It was painful to watch. That scene in the church where the zombies were holding Cruise down was………well think I lost consciousness soon after :)

  3. July 29. Just saw it. I enjoyed it much more than critics. It’s the same high-quality, high-frequency movie making of Cruise movies of last 20 years. Of the lot I prefer Doug Liman’s Edge of Tommorrow (live, Die, Repeat). This has the same quality of acting and production.

    I agree with critics the franchise-centric agenda siphons off energy. Still, this compares favorably with the last ten Tom Cruise movies I’ve seen, especially the first 45 minutes. I think this explains why Mummy did so well overseas $313 million as of today.

    I’m also aware the “dark” patina of the brand is an artless ploy. I notice a good fraction of scripts casual dabbling with black magic end up with unexpected aftereffects. Movies about evil and negativity can attract what they promote. Perhaps this is why a good Tom Cruise movie, this one, a solid team effort, received such poor reviews.

    Like the Godzilla and Skull Island reboots, I want to cheer for my favorite monsters. The Mommy misses this obvious audience expectation entirely. Not sure I want to be head writer of a Mummy movie where the Mummy is the hero and defeats a bigger menace. What’s really missing here is lack of vision. No expense was spared on production and effects.

  4. Lawrence Chow says:

    If you get a bunch of 30 yr old guys from the mall, bars, gym etc and put them on camera, some of them won’t look any younger then Tom Cruise.

  5. LaKeisha Hollingsworth says:

    I just saw the mummy and I wish I could get that time back. Bad can not describe how horrible that movie was. The movie started off with potential then took a turn for the worse. Some of the characters in the movie made no since. This movie was someone’s bad joke. I’m not a Tom Cruise fan and now I know why.

  6. mfbarry says:

    I don’t understand most of the comments here; what do religion or personal beliefs have to do with the making of a movie? It doesn’t seem to bother Cruise, why does it bother so many others? Seems wrong. Almost like a bias or prejudice. But, that being said, Cruise has one of the best reps in Hollywood among those who actually work or have worked with him. He works tirelessly yet is considerate too all those on set. Universal’s The Mummy failed despite his efforts not because of. It just wasn’t fully realized. It reminds me of something Brad Pitt said about World War Z, when the studio was talking about a trilogy Pitt said something like, “If the first one isn’t any good there won’t be a trilogy. How about we just focus on making this (WWZ) as good a movie as possible. We’ll worry about the sequels later.” He couldn’t have been more right. Movies are a collaborative effort and sometimes they just don’t work, every actor has flops, but Cruise is really pretty reliable and I have no doubt he’ll bounce back from this without any problem.

  7. marta says:

    Absolutely dreadful movie, we walked out after about 30 minutes but this was generous as we wanted to give it a fair chance.

    Firstly, the dialogue and acting in the first few minutes of the film were enough to move me out of my seat.

    It just confirmed my belief that Tom has really limited acting abilities, painfully humorless scenes ensued.
    Was it just a combination of terrible script , choice of actors and bad direction?
    Like a door without WD40 are the attempts at mimicking excellent “The Mummy “trilogy.
    In some instances the movie can get better as it unfolds.

    This Mummy got even worse, it lacks genuine humour, good script, taste and is as american as surgically enhanced dentition, really shines in your face, but rarely believable ,the element of surprise and mystery lost, you are told what is happening, scene where the Mummy sits on Tom’s chest whilst he is held by the Zombies almost funny(at last!), but I am afraid this was not the intention of the Director.
    Slight chance that some decent European Director could mend it to a watchable level.

  8. mac says:

    I don’t know what you all are thinking but I really liked it! I bet its way better than that stupid movie “Rough Night”!

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      I’m betting…

      1] Neither are very good. (Why are all movies rated at a site called “ROTTEN Tomatoes”?!)

      2] “Rough Night” would have been the title for the sequel to “Rough Day”, the biopic of people who “worked” on Tom Cruise films (outside of the fact nights are filled with celebration for the day with him being over).

  9. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Let me get this straight. We are all supposed surprised that the crazy bastard we saw jumping around on couch cushions during an Oprah interview…isn’t a crazy bastard?

    This is on the studio. The Mummy should have been a re-opening to classic horror movies, and instead it’s Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise in a movie starring Tom Cruise with Tom Cruise instead of The Mummy being the central character. Universal hasn’t been able to get these creature features right in years (The Wolfman remake was the closest they’ve come to making a decent horror creature film in years), so this comes as no surprise. It would be better if they just left this material alone and, dare I say, focus on making original, creative films???

  10. cj66blog says:

    I disagree with V.’s opinion. But then again, this is just MY opinion. An average movie goer. Personally, I really liked MI 3. And I also liked (though not as much) Edge of Tomorrow.

    I am not a fan of The Mummy”. I DON’T like horror movies OR Zombie movies or tv shows. I don’t really like being “scared” scenes. But I went to see THIS because I like Tom Cruise in other movies.

    Now, I never saw any of the old ones, but after I saw this one, I must say I thought it was a good, interesting reboot. It was almost too suspenseful for me, and I had to hold my hand up in the (what I think are) “gory” type scenes, lol.

    But when I go see a movie I try to “get into it”, and there were many “suspenseful” and “scared” scenes. Which are actually fun, ONCE in awhile! My boys think its funny, lol.

    So I enjoyed it, other than the gore I had to look away from so I don’t have nightmares (you younger folks are probably used to that stuff!). And I thought it was pretty good.

  11. lulz says:

    His movies have been kinda sucky for a while. I remember watching Rain Man last year and being floored because of how good he was in it. He needs to hang up the action hero jazz and go back to his roots. He’s 54. How many more movies can he pretend that he’s 20 years younger in with all the stunts? Ooooh you do stunts,that’s nice. How about you actually try to make it seem like you can connect with the audience and leave the stunts to the stuntmen.

  12. Fornicate L.Ron Hubbard says:

    Lol lots and lots of Scientology shills in these comments. We’re all totally sure you guys think Tom is amazing,good job and don’t let them catch you not fellating him.

    • Denyse Prendergast says:

      Must every discussion of a movie with Cruise inject these comments about his personal life? Some of his movies are first rate, some average, and one or two have been poor. The degree of success that each film has is completely unrelated to what he does in his off time. I don’t see this with other actors, some of whom are addicts and wife beaters. Let’s stick to the films!

  13. PrettyWife says:

    I’ve grown up watching Tom Cruise movies and my young sons love the Mission Impossible franchise. One thing I can count on with Tom Cruise is his movies aren’t excessively sexual or violent. Put me down if you want but to a mom of sons under 13 he is an awesome movie hero role model in this day and age. My husband also loves the Jack Reacher movies. Tom Cruise is a great actor, we are fans. We are hoping this movie isn’t too scary or different then the usual style of his style of movies.

    • cj66blog says:

      We, as a family, also like Tom Cruise movies and think he is a good actor. But I must say (though I don’t know what your kids are used to) you might want to see this one yourself before you take your boys.

      Of course, I am an old fuddy-duddy. This was scary and gory in some scenes, to me, But I am not used to zombie type scenes. NOT that it was bloody gore, just creepy gore, if you know what I mean, lol.

      I had to hold my hand up to block those type of scenes cause I don’t want to have nightmares! My kids (but they are adult age) don’t mind that kind of stuff, but they are used to “zombie” type movies and the like.

      I saw a few families bringing young kids, and I didn’t know if I would have mine when they were young. But kids today are more used to this kind of stuff I guess! I, myself, think this was a little bit scarier than his other movies!

    • lulz says:

      So you’ve let them watch Eyes Wide Shut?

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        “Eyes Wide Shut” is not a movie Tom made! It is:

        1] Containing an orgy scene, the precursor to Tom screwing Nicole, Katie, & American movie-goers.

        2] The proper way to watch all of Tom’s films.

  14. Lee Lourdes says:

    By the 21st Century have Variety’s writers Misters Setoodeh and Lang have no concept of GENIUS???

    Please I ask my fellow countrypersons and brothers and sisters of the pen here and around the world & Moviegoers to celebrate Mr. Tom. Cruise, his genius mind powers and stellar business acumen!!
    Give the guy a break!!

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      We will celebrate his genius mind powers & stellar business acumen if & when he gets them. Until then, give me a break from him! How long? Until he is gone from Earth!

  15. Dan says:

    People in China will see anything “ohh waa tom cuz oh me like Cuz oh ahh”

  16. Dan says:

    David Crowe is trying way to hard with that stupid accent he puts on. Dude stop.

  17. Kaity Nakama says:

    Oh plz. We, as a society, made this man the way he is. We flocked to every movie he was in. We called him a heartthrob throughout the years. We’ve made him so successful that he’s arrogant and has the ego to go with it. As a person, I, personally, can’t stand the guy. As an actor, I enjoy his work, for the most part so I’m just as guilty as the rest of society.

    Now people are having issues with him….. suck it up, buttercup. As long as he’s still bringing in the money, he’ll still be around.

  18. CaptainObvious says:

    You’re never going to acknowledge that on top of abysmal remakes and the rare gem in 200 movies a year, the general public’s love affair with Hollywood is waning, are you?

  19. nomnom says:

    Worst Father In The World.
    Who wants to idolize such a low life?

    • Michael says:

      Worst commenter’s in the world…. delusional, judgmental and wrong based on simple facts.

      • Ju Ju Eyeball says:

        So did Scientology force him to disconnect like the rest of the brainwashed slaves, or did they make an exception because he is Tom Cruise? IB4 Scientology does not force anyone to disconnect. LOL

  20. Jay2018 says:

    The movie was subpar. He directed it!? Lame.

    No wonder the movie sucked compared to the first version and second version.

    Let’s see them go broke if they are truly committed to making more in the future.

  21. Noel O'Neill says:

    Obsessive compulsive actors don’t make good films, good films are made by good directors. John Ford, Sidney Pollack Sidney Lumet and at low budget prices. Cruise- Control doesn’t work. Dump him already he’s Johnny one note and the note is money.

    • Mike says:

      Hmm. Yet his control over Edge of tomorrow and the Mission movies made them good if we follow your logic.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        The Mission films are good despite him… He is a producer, but not in charge of casting… They film his scenes separately, making him unaware of the talent appearing in them with him.

      • cathelotte says:

        To be profitable a movie needs to make at least 3 times its budget

      • Michael says:

        You don’t understand, he’s in the drivers seat…… he dumps you and anyone he pleases…. This film has already done twice its budget worldwide….. That’s hardly a flop in any universe.

  22. Mike says:

    You seem obsessed with him. That’s not health.

  23. Cruise has lost focus on his direction, as he has lost focus on understanding meaning, or existence in his life. Time is just drifting for him. for he no real purpose. It is that simple. The reality of existing through fabrication has not him yet.

  24. EKL says:

    Maybe he should have played the mummy, wrapping him up would possibly have restricted his behavior.

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      This film proves he needn’t be seen nor heard for scenes to suck. His goal is likely to make the opposite true, making talent look bad so his crap is comparatively great-looking.

  25. Johnny Depp (as “The Invisible Man”) and Angelina Jolie (in negotiations for “The Bride of Frankenstein”). Are you serious??? Hollywood has hit rock bottom.

  26. Peter says:

    Every penny you give to Tom Cruise, he’ll give to Scientology. Don’t support this crazy cult!

  27. Temperance says:

    I refuse to watch anything with Cruise… even for free. He’s a lunatic and a cultist, and I abhor the way he has treated Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes.

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      He mist not have been that bad to either, as they moved on to Grammy- & Oscar-winners…. Whereas some people still waste money on making or seeing his movies.

      • cj66blog says:

        But do you “support” the stars who are pro-abortion (the murder of an innocent baby)? If so, then you are a hypocrite.

        I wonder if you dissect the personal life of every start of every movie you see? Or just Tom Cruise?

        Again, if you don’t, then you are a hypocrite.

  28. Christina says:

    After reading through this article, I took a pause for 2 long seconds to even believe that after 36 years of movie stardom, suddenly media has started blaming Tom Cruise for a movie’s under performance, yes read under performance because the movie has not flopped in any mathematical data. If the movie has even opened to 32 million and a worldwide of 170 million then only because it had Tom Cruise in it. Other than the Cruise factor the movie had no hype and not even a big director under the belt to even make it moderately interesting.

    Secondly, I do not know what did the critics expect from this film because from where i see, the movie was not even half as bad as the reviews have made it look like. The movie is engaging till the last minute, Cruise has such a charismatic screen presence that he owned every frame. It surely looks like jealousy and an agenda to pull down Cruise because well they could not destroy him even after trying for twelve long years and here they got a chance to do so.

    If Tom Cruise has given his inputs in the movie and taken control of it, then instead of blaming him the studio and media should be grateful because he tried to make the product perfect which he does with most of his films and that is one of the major reasons why his films still perform in the Box Office.

    Tom Cruise is the biggest movie star in the world, and if that is not enough for people to realize that he is far from being over then I can only say that may be people have forgotten loving good cinema and being grateful. He has not only survived ever since his first big hit but he is the only one who has lasted as the biggest movie star since 1986 now. His talent and experience will make him succeed in the future too. At 54 he is still one of the biggest draws for the studios and cinematic lovers in the whole world, tell me another name who can do it like him and then I will re-think about why did The Mummy underperform.

    Not to forget American made and MI:6 are coming next, and from the trailer of AM I can already say that it will be a winner for both Cruise and Universal.

    • Jay2018 says:

      I disagree somebody has to have personal issues with him to not favor the movie.

      I watched it. I have no issues with him.

      I just thought it was a degrade in previews versions and sub par. Sure it kept me engaged I the movie at parts.

      But I would not give it five stars. Maybe 3 only.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        You are out of your mind, & I will prove it with your own writing… You wrote,

        “If Tom Cruise has given his inputs in the movie and taken control of it, then instead of blaming him the studio and media should be grateful because he tried to make the product perfect which he does with most of his films and that is one of the major reasons why his films still perform in the Box Office.”

        That is BS. He gives his input so he makes HIMSELF look good (read online about his changes to the script & things, even though many at Uni wanted to use this as a start to many classic-like monster films). That is why they made another “Mission” film with him, hoping he will finally make Jeremy or Edgar look like the born leaders their characters could be… Same with “Jack Reacher” after he took the first step (& Downey in “The Judge” followed) in hurting Duvall’s career.

      • Dan says:

        Dear Christina its okay God loves you.

    • Jade says:

      Tom is that you?

      • Sally says:


      • L. Ron Hubbard says:

        No, it’s some Scientology dude who got the job to make Tom’s crap look good. You’ll find him all over the boards. The phrase “biggest moviestar in the world” is very popular among them “…and he’s a Scientologist!” they’ll always add at once ;-)

  29. Denyse Prendergast says:

    Will the Cruise-bashing ever stop? Despite his many blockbusters, and an enviable tenure at the top, let him make one bad movie and critics sound the death knell. I can’t remember an actor being lambasted like this over such a long period of time. Why? Is it jealousy? Yes, he’s reigned for over thirty years and at 55, is wonderfully fit and still handsome. I suppose that makes him a target. Sad. Critics would be wiser to respect his accomplishments, and offer suggestions for improvement where needed. Without balance, there’s no credibility. And we’re sick of hearing it.

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      We “let him make one bad movie” innumerable times… Not to mention taking Redford “Lions… Lambs”), Robert Duvall (the first “Reacher” film), & other potential stars in young Hollywood down with him. (If only he had let Renner lead any of the Mission teams, including when Baldwin & the Syndicate came on last film to shut the team down, & he could’ve taken the bullet as Michael Fox did on “Spin City”.

    • Michael says:

      I suspect Christina has said it pretty accurately…… US film “Critics” have been gunning for Cruise unsuccessfully, for quite some time now… close to 300 million worldwide gross on a 125 million film, before DVD, syndication, pay for view etc, speaks for itself.

    • Temperance says:

      Nope. He’s dreadful, and stomps though life like a psycho elephant, as we saw here. Sorry, no Cruise for me – ever.

      • Ganiedo says:

        When I first heard about the idea for the “Dark Universe,” I remember thinking, “Well, THAT’S going to tank big.” I think the “great movie monsters” of the past had their time and place – but now in an age of amped-up special effects and ever-bigger action, I don’t think anyone is clamoring to see new versions of the Mummy (which has now been proved), Frankenstein or the Invisible Man. Marvel had a GREAT idea in intertwining its universe, but Marvel succeeds because it puts characters onscreen that people are actually interested in — characters whose stories we’ve had plenty of time to get to know and love. Everyone else who’s tried to copy that format has just thrown stuff up on the screen in a quick attempt to try to buy the same success as Marvel – DC wasn’t successful until “Wonder Woman,” which was a terrific origin story, but the previews for this fall’s “Justice League” look like a return to the same old dark, turgid storytelling of “Man of Steel” and “BvsS,” so we’ll see. I saw “The Mummy” and was completely unimpressed after spending $12.50 of my favorite dollars — it does look like a vanity vehicle for Cruise, and it gave us NO engaging or relatable characters at all. So why would anyone go back for more of the “Dark Universe”?

  30. Collin says:

    He always has a good deal of control and produces regularly. When his influence gives you a hit like the mission impossible films, he gets no Credit. A movie misfires, and he gets all the blame. Unbelievable.

    Almost every film he’s made is fantastic. Rain man, born on the fourth of July, a few good men, magnolia, Jerry Maguire, minority report, interview with the vampire, vanilla sky. Chris pratt will never get near that. Cruise was already a legend at his age. Hollywood, if you’re smart, you’ll keep letting cruise have control and entertain us while morons like this variety guy write about him instead of accomplishing one percent of what he’s done.

    • L. Ron Hubbard says:

      Sir, “Vanilla Sky” was not a “fantastic film”….but the others – made many years ago – I kind of liked. Maybe Tom should work again with good directors instead of doing B movies?

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        That would be impossible. Last I knew, directors were in charge of casting, & no good one would ever cast him with this age & ego except for a bit part (turning the “IMF” team over to younger people, or maybe as in “Tropic Thunder”).

      • Dan says:

        You just compared a writer to tom cruise. You sir are the idiot of the day. Congrats

    • Luis says:

      So true.
      Unfortunately many people hold a bias against him due to his religion, some because of his couch jumping on Oprah and others just love to see people fail.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        Some love to see people fail. Thankfully, Cruise is not like that. He prefers you see others little if at all, so a movie called “The Mummy” is rewritten to be about his character whose name was unknown to many before the related articles about his personal actions appeared.

    • Sam says:

      Settle down Tom.

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      He gets no credit for the hits like “Mission” b/c the first one sucked, & that may have been due to him, due to it being based on a hit TV show. Then, they made a few more, & they got better despite him. “Ghost Protocol” was time for him to become a ghost off-camera & call it a day, with Renner or someone else leading the team after that. (Another chance would be “Rogue Nation”, where Cruise loses to the Syndicate & the team moves on without him.)

      Chris Pratt had been discussed as the next Indiana Jones, & has now worked with Kurt Russell & other great stars. He will continue to be the great star Cruise once was if Hollywood joins Mimi, Nicole, & Katie in admitting his best days are behind him. (Start “Top Gun 2” with a flashback scene, & an “In Memory of Maverick” still.)

      • L. Ron Hubbard says:

        Chris Pratt is O.K., but he has not the charisma that Harrison Ford or – yes – my believer Tom Cruise had in their best times. And those times are mostly over. That’s the reason why we now put all our hope and money machine behind new talent like Elisabeth Moss. Hopefully they’ll make Scientology look good again….

      • Jade says:

        Chris Pratt isn’t a star outside of the guardians movie. Tell me, how did passengers do with their “star power.”

  31. Sage on the Hudson says:

    “The script envisioned Nick Morton as an earnest Tom Cruise archetype, who is laughably described as a ‘young man’ at one point.”

    Well, the film IS a fantasy, after all.

    “[Cruise’s] writers beefed up his part. In the original script, Morton and the Mummy (played by Sofia Boutella) had nearly equal screen time.”

    Was Cruise’s lone failure his inability to get the film’s title changed to “Nick Morton” reflect the Mummy’s diminished screen time?

    And did he unpack the old Scientology Tent on the set that eventually persuaded Sumner Redstone to boot Cruise from the Paramount lot and, so the story goes, compelled Steven Spielberg to declare that he’d never work with Cruise again, and

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      1] Cruise doesn’t care what they’re called, so long as his face & body are on the script & his name above the title.

      2] Odds are Steven was headed that way when Cruise was the reason that Redford-led “Lions for Lambs” thing died faster than any of its characters.

      • L. Ron Hubbard says:

        “Lions for Lambs” was an astonishingly bad movie that should have never been made. Wasn’t Tom’s fault. He did alright in a supporting part. But it’s the worst film Redford and anybody involved has ever made.

  32. Sally says:

    Notice how after the movie started to make a lot of money worldwide, this “insider” ups the budget from 125 mil to 300 mill. Do you really believe Universal would pay this much for a movie that was in trouble?. Nah something is fishy.

  33. UltraKen says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, because the trailer generated absolutely no interest in seeing it. That trailer was worthless.

  34. tjchurch2001 says:

    Whether it be his prior work (the “Mission” or “Reacher” franchises), or simply his surname (legal-vs.-SAG notwithstanding), what part of “Cruise = Control” do filmmakers not see coming when they put that contract in front of his face?!

  35. DCoo says:

    This movie was a bad composition of mashing the american werewolf in london with a league of extrodinary gentlemen with a touch of the last witch hunter and some of the storyline from the original mummy. Not writen with any originality or remake redo roboustness. I did like Russle Crow and his Dr. J, If written correctly THAT could be interesting.

  36. Alex says:

    I don’t know what the problem is with Tom Cruise, he is a great actor and everything he does is stellar. I didn’t think that The Mummy was poorly written but it is all in opinion and for people who don’t know this isn’t a remake of the original. You cannot compare this to the original because they aren’t changing anything. I don’t understand how Tom Cruise could be blamed for the failure of the movie when maybe it was just that…poorly written. Tom Cruise is an action star and if you don’t like seeing him run and do stunts in movies maybe you shouldn’t be watching them.

    You do you Tom Cruise and keep doing what you do best!

  37. Ann says:

    Let’s face it this is Another Tom Cruise movie- which is Tom Cruise running around to save the world from an “Alien” invader. Basically it’s Tom doing stunts with a lot of special effects. He doesn’t play a character, he plays Tom Cruise playing an action star. That’s what I can’t stand- I can’t get into a fantasy movie when it’s the actor not being able to act. When I first heard of this movie I was excited- I liked the 90’s Mummy movies- then I saw a pre-trailer and it was just Tom Cruise. Hardly any of the mummy, and the movie is the same way. When this article says that he took over the movie- I believe it. Whether the director was too inexperienced for this or not, that’s up for debate, what’s not is that Tom Cruise is almost 60 and he’s Still trying to play the part of a 20 something sex symbol- action star. Also his handling of his own PR and his Xenu loving has Seriously Damaged his brand. Honestly I think Tom should go retire and wait for L Ron to be reincarnated.

    • warrenma says:

      I agree with Ann. This is a Tom Cruise movie. TC the actor, playing an action star. The movie becomes so much about him, that everything else gets lost. Plots, character development, and a bunch of other things are sacrificed as long as the movie promotes the notion of TC great action hero and movie star. This remake was awful…. I went to see The Mummy, but got mostly Tom Cruise! The woman who played The Mummy had almost NO dialogue in the entire movie compared to Tom. Wait for DVD or Netflicks for this one.

  38. Jake says:

    the pheelings i hab wit da mummy moofy waf bad becauf i went der afta my dentift…sawy.. nofacaine ifs a bittth..thoot!!

  39. jason says:

    Oh PLEASE!! Go see the movie for yourselves!! We loved it. We saw Wonder Women the previous weekend and it was great too! The Mummy made with cruise was AWESOME. Dont listen to the RETARD critics, this column, or anyone else. Go see for yourself. I dont believe you will be disappointed!!

  40. JayB says:

    The movie was boring. Cruise’s character didn’t have much to do but either run around and around and around or listen to tedious exposition. His story wasn’t interesting, because his overall goal was unclear. Did he want to destroy the Mummy? If so, how? Destroy the dagger? The magical ruby or whatever. Criticize the Brendan Fraiser “Mummy” if you will, but you always know where the movie was going and what the characters were trying to do. Overall, the new “Mummy” was so murky story and character-wise that I quickly lost interest… though the special effects were pretty good.

  41. Bob says:

    Cruise lacks a sense of humor. And this made the movie joyless. And chemistry with other actors non existent.

    • Dbro says:

      Universal tried the serious angle in 2014 with DRACULA UNTOLD

      That was going to kick off this franchise and it did $217 worldwide with terrible reviews.

      Maybe one or two movies in this planned series will work and the others won’t.

      It’s going to be a very expensive trial and error process.

      • L. Ron Hubbard says:

        But you forget to mention that “Dracula Untold” was a hit. It made $217million worldwide on a budget of $70 million….that’s great.

  42. Thor says:

    Its already made ~$150 million in just over a week…hard to say its a “failure” just yet…

    • milo says:

      That’s worldwide with very little from the USA. If it really cost 190M it will probably need 550 just to break even. And it may not make that.

      • Lacey Sheridan says:

        Maybe we Americans should get over ourselves if this film is a blockbuster everywhere else in the world. Most action movies earn the bulk of their profits overseas; perhaps Mr. Cruise considered that when making The Mummy. My guess is he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

      • Jesse Locke says:

        What kind of calculator are you using?

  43. Nanny Mo says:

    The whole reason Hollywood originally separated the powers was to help make a show more marketable. No one person is so brilliant that they along can make a blockbuster and the myth in Hollywood that this is true, is a lie. Even Alfred Hitchcock would bring in smart people to help him where he was weak and to help him see the bigger picture. My reason for missing this film is simply that with all the bad press about Scientology and Tom’s actions there, I can’t separate the reality of that and watch him in this role. I keep thinking, “There’s the dork who broke up a marriage so that his wife could protect their really cute daughter.” Don’t get me wrong, I WANT to go to the movies and enjoy the fantasy, but I know so much at Tom’s private life now that I can’t suspend my reality. So it’s a waste of $50 (parking, overpriced tickets, babysitter, food). That how I see this debacle.

    • Lee says:

      You know what you’ve been fed about his private life. You don’t know this man at all. This new fashion for destroying movie stars is not one Hollywood can afford in a competitive global market.
      Eventually people are gonna get sick of CGI and then what?

      • Fornicate L.Ron Hubbard says:

        I know his religion is a cult. I wonder where his buddy David’s wife is? Anyone heard or seen from Shelly Miscavige in a while? Even if he wasn’t in a cult he seems to like making the same action movie over and over. Watch his early movies compared to the schlock he makes now. It’s like he lost the ability to emote.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        This movie is only the latest example of CGI: Cruise Gone Insane!

  44. John says:

    Still, the source of this actor’s power over the studio, can be traced back to the studio. When Mark Canton paid Jim Carrey $20 million for “The Cable Guy”, it forever changed the balance of power between actors and studios. That lead to crashing of egos between the two sides, and between the actors themselves, with every A-List actors demanding to be paid the same or more, plus more perks and creative control. Even though the pay scale have been adjusted down in recent years, few stars still remain in control of creative and marketing decisions. Cruise is just one of the last carry overs from that era.

  45. dmoney666 says:

    Seesh. The Scientology bots are working overtime to criticize this piece…

    • Sally says:

      Wah Wah. People who disagree with me are shills because I’m so narcissistic I can’t imagine people having different opinions from me Wah wah.

  46. I don’t know about Tom Cruise taking over ‘The Mummy’, but it looks as though Leah Remini has taken over Variety. All this Cruise hate is turning me away from it.

  47. noor says:

    Variety just can’t can’t handle the truth! Tom Cruise opened this film to 180mil worldwide – 50mil in just China! And he has been doing this for Thirty Years, thank you very much! Why so much hate over a guy who refuses to play by your rules?

    • capitanderp says:

      china’s population is 4 times usa’s, not including locale specific population size, the mummy still did bad, as 36-37m in us= 50m china, thats barely double making it less overall people seeing this movie.

    • ManOfBronze says:

      someone has no idea how the movie indusrty works..

    • krisellyn says:

      exactly. This was a hit piece. Ridiculous. If it wasn’t a “standard-issue Cruise vehicle” I would have been upset.

  48. BD says:

    How many more Mummy stories should we expect? Is Variety really this obsessed? Youneven have a “sponsored” article about Top 5 Tom Cruise movies to watch instead of the Mummy! Enough. Let it go

  49. Trying to shoehorn old horror icons into an action-movie universe is dumb. Dumb as hell. It’s a catastrophic reach for Universal. It amazes me how (well) paid studio execs make these decisions that even average movie goers can see as future train wrecks.

  50. Nothing says:

    Another over the hill actor trying to make believe he is still 29 years old. I wouldn’t watch this movie just because he stars in it.

    And Hollywood should realize, we come to watch the story, not the actor.

    • There’s the difference between you and me (and lots of other people). Tom Cruise is one of a mere handful of actors who will get me to a movie just because he’s in it. I do go to movies because of a good story, but there are a few actors I will go to see regardless.

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