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Tom Cruise, The Rock and Others Join Universal Pictures ‘Dark Universe.’ Will This Be a Black Hole?

Universal Pictures wants to belly up to the table with Marvel Studios and DC/Warner. Their plan? The “Dark Universe”: A series of monster movies that will fall under an umbrella. They plan to have actors appear in each other’s movies like Marvel and DC does. The list includes Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp. There’s even noise about bringing Dwayne Johnson aboard.

Cruise is going to be the canary in the coal mine, starring in a remake of The Mummy, because enough time has passed since the Brendan Fraser years. If that hauls in enough money, then full speed ahead. The movies will center around the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, Frankenstein, and the Bride of Frankenstein.

At first glance, it’s not a terrible idea for Universal. We, as a country, seem to love franchises. There was the whole build-up to The Avengers, now DC is trying to do the same with Justice League, though without the whole “fun superheroes” part.

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but Depp seems incapable of making a profitable movie unless he plays Captain Jack Sparrow

Yes, yes, we know… you’re supposed to be the antithesis of Marvel, but I remember even the super-serious Batman comics having at least SOME humor in it. People seem to have hope for Wonder Woman, but we’ll see. That leaves us with Universal’s gambit here with the “Dark Universe” series.

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but Depp seems incapable of making a profitable movie unless he plays Captain Jack Sparrow. For some reason, I don’t think he’s going to be able to play Sparrow as an invisible man. “Ooooh. You can’t see me. You can’t see me!” “No. But I can hear you due to your incessant talking and drunken walking. You also keep knocking things over.” “Uh-oh.”

Also, the rest of the movies seem to be leaning heavily on older actors who might be past their “Carry a Franchise” expiration date. Quick, tell me the last hit movie that Russell Crowe, Javier Bardem, and Angelina Jolie starred in? This could be like a baseball team signing a bunch of aging players to enormous contracts based on their previous performances. You know, like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim…

One thing that might help Universal – they aren’t going to have to have a huge budget for every movie. There’s no need to shell out the GNP of some small countries for each film. The problem is, if they do assemble these characters in a single movie like The Avengers and Justice League, there’s the risk of it turning out to be another League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and we know how THAT turned out.

Yeah, not even Sean Connery could save that flaming pile of garbage. Another problem: They might have to rename this whole thing since Warner/DC was thinking of doing a “Dark Universe” series of comics and Justice League movie tie-in. Oops. Well, we’ll see what Universal thinks up. This will probably wind up in the pile of “Good idea, wrong people, wrong time”. I don’t think Depp, Cruise, Jolie, Crowe and Bardem are going to mind, though. They’re going to get their money, no matter what. The rest will be left in the dark.

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