Most may think that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the first tried-and-true of its kind, but there was actually another that came before it in the earliest decades of cinema. Universal created their own film world known as the Universal Monster Cinematic Universe, where many iconic creatures like Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and The Wolf Man came together in House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945), among others. In the late 1920s and continuing throughout the 1930s, the studio established a number of monster-horror films that still are considered among the best of the genre. Because of increasing amount of cinematic universes (DC, Transformers) that are being planned, Universal is giving their former one a bit of reboot.
2017 will see the release of The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, followed by a currently Untitled Monster Film in 2018. And, they have just announced that the third installment will come on February 15th, 2019. The 2018 date seems like it will probably be given to The Invisible Man remake, which has Johnny Depp attached for the titular role. The newest slot may handed over to The Bride of Frankenstein, one that reportedly had David Koepp (Spider-Man, War of the Worlds) set to write the script back in late 2015. There are rumors that Angelina Jolie is being eyed for the lead role, and possibly even to direct the project, although that has not been given in an official statement by the studio.
The Universal Cinematic Universe is being helmed by writer/director Alex Kurtzman (The Island) and writer/producer Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise), along with many other scribes that will attempt to make it a shared universe, so to speak. The 2014 reboot Dracula Untold was apparently meant to kick the whole thing into gear, but its mild success both critically and financially put that into doubt. If that film does end up becoming the first installment, Universal is planning on making the others like dark superhero movies, resembling the action-based style of Dracula Untold.
Compared to all the others like it, the shared monster world does seem like it has the most potential for success and creativity. It all depends on how the creatures themselves are handled and depicted, even if they do stick to a relatively familiar story structure. Luckily, the big names attached to the various projects is promising, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
The Mummy hits theaters on June 9, 2017, followed by Untitled Monster Films on April 13, 2018 and February 19, 2019.