Happy Anniversary To This Tweet, The Great Triumph Of The Dark Universe
It’s a historic day. On May 22, 2017, the Dark Universe was born, a shared film universe combining all of Universal Pictures’ greatest monsters. This was one month prior to the release of Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, which would kick things off. But the Dark Universe got ahead of itself and created a Twitter account on this very day.
Exactly two tweets were posted to the account on this day in 2017. One was a roughly two-minute long video showcasing some classic Universal monsters with some grandiose music blaring over it. Then, there was one more tweet, showcasing the stars of the forthcoming shared universe, with this new Dark Universe begging us to witness them.
The photo features 2017’s The Mummy cast: Russell Crowe, who played Dr. Jekyll (and a mildly angry Mr. Hyde); Tom Cruise, who played Nick Morton; and Sofia Boutella, who played Ahmanet. Additionally, teasing what the future held, Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp were in the photo, and they would be playing Frankenstein’s Monster and the Invisible Man, respectively, in future films.
When The Mummy was released in June 2017, reviews were not forgiving, earning the film a 34 on GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic with five positive reviews, 21 mixed, and 18 negative. Compound that with the fact that it was released one week after Wonder Woman–an astounding box office success with $800 million globally–and things weren’t looking good for the Dark Universe. It only brought in $400 million globally for it’s entire theatrical run, which isn’t a total failure considering it grossed more than three times the budget of the film.
Months after the infamous “Witness the beginning” tweet, there was news that the Dark Universe was already unraveling. Director Bill Condon revealed his Bride of Frankenstein movie for 2019 would not be connected to the Dark Universe. Sadly, days after that news came out, the film was cancelled.
The producers behind the creative side of Dark Universe, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, ended up quitting. Kurtzman went on to work on Star Trek: Discovery while Morgan was one of the writers on Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
In a statement in November 2017, Universal president of production Peter Cramer, said, “We’ve learned many lessons throughout the creative process on Dark Universe so far, and we are viewing these titles as filmmaker-driven vehicles, each with their own distinct vision. 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.”
That was the nail in the coffin for Dark Universe. These movies are still coming out, but they are doing their own thing, which we saw with 2020’s The Invisible Man. It doesn’t exist in some shared universe. It’s a movie with a single focus. Luckily, we’ll never forget the Dark Universe thanks to that one, beautiful tweet on May 22, 2017.
Witness the beginning of a #DarkUniverse.
Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot’s parent company
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