Should Dracula Have Led?
THE MUMMY didn’t do too well at the American box office, although a strong overseas performance should compensate for that, thankfully. We want more DARK UNIVERSE movies, after all, don’t we? If anything, maybe the soft opening for the debut film in that “shared universe” will cause the powers-that-be in their cushy offices on the Universal lot to reconsider their current approach of aiming as much for Action-Adventure as straight-out Horror. (On paper, this strategy looks sound. You can sell more tickets to a PG-13 film than an R-rated one, if you can get the families and the kiddies interested, but might they fare better if they cater strictly to the Horror demographic? Horror fans are the most loyal in the world, and even if they are a “niche” market, they’re a sizeable niche.)
All that said, and despite the fact that I loved THE MUMMY despite its shortcomings, I do wonder, as I did when the film was first announced, if this was the best choice to kick off the DARK UNIVERSE. Might not the uneducated audience members, who comprise the majority of moviegoers, figure this to be yet another installment in the Brendan Frazer franchise, which ran out of steam after the second in the series? DRACULA UNTOLD was *meant* to be the kick-off, had it not underperformed, but might Dracula still have been a better choice to begin with? A Dracula picture with a bigger push from the studio, better marketing–and done as a genuine HORROR movie? Dracula remains the most marketable of all the Universal Monsters. (Sorry, Frankenstein.)
I think their best bet would have been to make a CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON movie first, though. Audiences have seen Dracula at the theater recently; they’ve seen the Wolfman. They even saw Frankenstein, if you wanna go back a couplea decades. There has never been a CREATURE remake. It might have come across as something “new.” Barring that, I think the remake of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN should have led. Ah, well. What’s done is done. Onward and upward, Universal! And howzabout making the next film in the series, the aforementioned BRIDE, scarier and bloodier? Couldn’t hurt to give it a try, could it?