Despite producing The Invisible Man and The Wolfman, Blumhouse doesn’t control the future of the Dark Universe monsters, says Jason Blum.
Blumhouse doesn’t control Dark Universe monsters despite producing The Invisible Man and The Wolfman. Earlier in 2020, horror-centric Blumhouse Productions scored one of the Covid-stricken year’s few genuine box office hits with The Invisible Man, which grossed $134 million before theaters were hit with a catastrophic shutdown.
The Invisible Man succeeded so well in part because of its novel take on the classic horror movie premise of the mad scientist who turns himself invisible, exploring the story through the eyes of the scientist’s girlfriend, who is terrorized by the obsessed man but can’t convince the world that she’s actually in danger. Before this version of the movie was made, there were of course very different plans in the works for the Invisible Man character and the rest of the classic Universal monsters, who were set to be revived in an elaborate connected universe referred to as the Dark Universe. But famously, the Dark Universe did not come to pass after the kick-off movie The Mummy proved to be a major flop at the box office, leaving characters like Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll, Javier Bardem’s Frankenstein’s Monster and Johnny Depp’s own Invisible Man in the trash bin of movie history.
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After Invisible Man proved the viability of the old Universal monsters outside the realm of an interconnected MCU-esque universe, Blumhouse has also been entrusted with making a new version of The Wolfman. But despite both these key Dark Universe properties being handed to Blumhouse to nurture, Universal is still not ready to give the keys entirely to Jason Blum and his operation. As Blum told The Inverse when asked about his plans for the rest of the Universal monsters:
I wish I was the right person to ask this, I’m just not. They let us produce Invisible Man and they’re going to let us produce Wolfman, but the monsters and their fate and the direction and what the monsters mean overall, that’s entirely still a question for Universal. I’d love to be in charge of them, but I’m not.
Blumhouse originally made its name with horror movies like Paranormal Activity, Sinister and The Purge, then later expanded its brand with films like the Oscar-winning Get Out and the hit reboot Halloween. Given its track record with such successful horror properties, it seemed a natural fit for the company to be entrusted with Universal’s monsters, and indeed Blum and company delivered with The Invisible Man, which satisfied both audiences and critics. Invisible Man director Leigh Whannell will now try to continue the winning streak by helming The Wolfman, which is set to star Ryan Gosling in the role originated by Lon Chaney Jr. in 1941. The Wolfman was of course last rebooted in 2010 with Benicio Del Toro in the lead.
Considering the home run Blumhouse hit with The Invisible Man, it’s perhaps disappointing to learn that Universal has still not handed Blum control of all their horror characters, including Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula. Perhaps somewhere in the halls of power at Universal there are executives who still hope to one day go ahead with the Dark Universe model, and are just waiting for the right time to revive the idea. But the stark contrast between the box office performance of the sprawling and confused Mummy and the focused and powerful The Invisible Man should have been enough to convince everyone at the studio that the Dark Universe approach was silly, and Blumhouse has the correct formula for reviving the monsters of old in a new and relevant context, without resorting to a convoluted shared universe model.
More: Was Tom Cruise Going To Play Van Helsing In The Dark Universe?
Source: The Inverse
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