Universal's MONSTER Universe to be Action-Adventure, not Horror

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universal-monstersIf there’s any concept that’s a big deal in Hollywood right now, it’s superheroes in a shared universe. Given the success Marvel has had with creating one, it’s no surprise Warner Bros with its DC characters, Sony with Spider-Man, and Fox with The X-Men are all trying to cash in on the same formula; and time will tell how well they’ll turn out overall. Universal Pictures has made their intent clear to get into the shared universe business, but while they lack a big name superhero franchise they do have something else – the rights to a number of classic horror movie properties such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and a few others.

At The Hollywood Reporters recent annual film executive round table, Universal chairman Donna Langley gave some insight into why they chose this path:

“We have to mine our resources. We don’t have any capes [in our film library]. But what we do have is an incredible legacy and history with the monster characters. We’ve tried over the years to make monster movies — unsuccessfully, actually. So, we took a good, hard look at it, and we settled upon an idea, which is to take it out of the horror genre, put it more in the action-adventure genre and make it present day, bringing these incredibly rich and complex characters into present day and reimagine them and reintroduce them to a contemporary audience.”

The Mummy (and its ridiculously named hero Tyler Colt), currently set for release in the US on 24 June 2016, is Universals the first official step into the shared universe pool; although they dipped their toes into the water with Dracula Untold which they later confirmed as hinting at a larger universe. Kervyn reviewed the latter here giving it 3/5 and saying it’s a touch of mindless action. I finally caught it over the weekend myself and quite enjoyed it – it was definitely different from the standard “I vunt to suck your blud!” that we’re all accustomed to. The success of the experiment will hinge on how well The Mummy is received.

While a number of horror movie purists have choked on their popcorn at the idea of these characters being de-horrified, I’m open to the idea that it could work as long as the movies strive for a darker tone than we normally get in action-adventure fare. If, as we were informed at the end of Dracula Untold, the games are indeed beginning… and the monsters are the pieces… who are the players?

Last Updated: November 17, 2014

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