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Universal’s monster cinematic universe, kickstarted by The Mummy, is in trouble

Who could have seen this coming?

Universal Pictures

The Dark Universe that Universal Pictures dreamt up last year is probably coming to an end.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the two producers brought in to shape the monster universe, have left the franchise. The decision allows Kurtzman to focus on Star Trek: Discovery, which he is currently producing, while Morgan is returning to the Fast and Furious universe. Morgan is set to write the Fast and Furious spinoff, which will star Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

Universal had planned to launch a shared universe featuring characters based on its classic monster properties (Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man and others), a la Marvel and DC.

The impending death of Universal’s monster universe isn’t surprising. The Mummy was panned by critics upon its release earlier this year. In our review, we criticized the movie for its “cliched one-liners, messy narrative and lack of uniqueness,” which made The Mummy absolutely forgettable.” The film made just over $400 million, which isn’t anywhere close to what Universal was expecting to make, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The failure of The Mummy didn’t bode well for the future of the franchise, even upon its initial release. Before The Mummy had even made it to theaters, Universal had ordered seven other monster movies to exist within the universe, starring A-list actors including Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise. Following the poor showing for The Mummy, however, Universal removed Bride of Frankenstein, slated to be released on Feb. 14, 2019, from its release schedule.

Universal isn’t throwing in the towel just yet, The Hollywood Reporter says, but it’s on life support. Polygon has reached out to Universal for comment.