Universal Monster Universe

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In 2014, Universal Studios released Dracula Untold. It was supposed to be a radical new take on the character, combining the mythology created by Bram Stoker with the real history of Vlad Tepes III, Prince of Wallachia, the real-life inspiration for Dracula also called Vlad the Impaler. The film was supposed to be huge for Universal, a big, ambitious remake of one of their classic films, but it ended up making a less than impressive $200 million at the worldwide box office, barely breaking even once marketing and distribution were taken into account. Dracula Untold had one last chance at redemption, but now even that’s been taken away, it’s not a part of the planned Universal Monsters Shared Universe after all. (more…)

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It was almost 85 years ago that Universal Pictures released The Mummy starring Boris Karloff, who had just a year earlier appear as the Monster in Frankenstein. Coincidentally, Universal also released Dracula in 1931, and in the space of a couple of years, Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy would be joined by Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Old Dark House, The Invisible Man, Werewolf of London and Bride of Frankenstein, firmly ensconcing Universal with the reputation of being the House of Fright. Eight decades later, they’re of course trying to do it all again, starting with The Mummy. (more…)

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These days, it’s not about the star, or the director, or even the project itself, it’s the release date. They say in real estate the three most important things are location, location, location, but usually there’s a house at that location, and not a vague reference to something that might be a house. Or it might be a parking lot or strip mall. Hollywood’s like that. We’re going to buy a piece of land, and build something there. It might be one story, or it might be seven stories. It might be a bungalow, or it might be a nuclear power plant. You know, whatever. The point is we got the land. In that spirit, Universal Pictures is playing musical chairs with their release dates, moving aside some hotly anticipated franchises in order to make room for the next chapter of newer, more valuable pieces. (more…)

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As it stands, we have Marvel and Disney making lucrative business with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Fox have the lucrative X-men to branch out on (recently announced Deadpool movie) and Sony have Spiderman (however, things aren’t looking too hot business wise with that franchise as Venom has been cancelled). So it’s only natural that Universal were planning on expanding their Monster Movie Universe. But here’s the kicker, the past couple of movies have performed rather poorly at the box office. The original monster movies’ are what Universal studios were built on. With the success of movies such as Frankenstein, The Invisiable Man, Dracula and The Mummy that originated from the 1930s, helping Universal become the mammoth studio it is today. However, it seems like Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley has conceded defeat. (more…)