Despite projections of a middling domestic opening on the horizon, The Mummy looks to have legs overseas. For years now, Universal has been trying desperately to get a shared universe off the ground, involving their stable of classic monsters. So far, the process hasn’t panned out, but that hasn’t prevented the studio from going all in on the latest iteration of the project. The new franchise will be spearheaded by this weekend’s The Mummy, before a new batch of movies are spun out to form what’s officially called the Dark Universe. Of course, if The Mummy is a flop, then future Dark Universe movies could be put on indefinite hold.
Marketing has been ramping up ahead of The Mummy‘s release, as part of Universal’s effort to prime audiences for the would-be blockbuster. The Mummy‘s promotional tour has brought with it several updates on Universal’s Dark Universe plans, be it confirmation that the Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Phantom of the Opera will be joining such characters as the Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolfman, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, as part of the Dark Universe. Before any of those films can get going, however, The Mummy needs to impress, and it looks to be off to a good start in one country.
Deadline is reporting that The Mummy has opened in South Korea to $6.6 million – the country’s biggest opening day of all time. In the past, Tom Cruise has done exceptionally well in the region, with many of his films (including, Edge of Tomorrow and the Mission: Impossible series) seeing some of their biggest non-U.S. market numbers in the territory. While the numbers in no way indicate the movie will perform strong in the States, it’s a good sign for the film’s overseas prospects.
At home in the U.S., the situation isn’t looking so hot for The Mummy. Given its status as a big-budget summer film (starring an A-lister) that’s designed to kick off a franchise, recent projections that The Mummy will open with $35 million domestically (which is down from the projected $40M opening from last month) aren’t so encouraging. With the Wonder Woman movie entering its second weekend and continuing to play very well with both critic and general audiences, The Mummy has little-to-no hope of winning the box office derby this weekend. Of course, international audiences might be more receptive.
In the U.S., Cruise’s star-power has waned over the years. While his films still post solid numbers domestically (especially, the Mission: Impossible movies), he’s found much more success in other countries. South Korea and China, in particular, are lucrative markets that should help The Mummy in its efforts to make enough money to justify additional Dark Universe movies, which is good news for fans of Cruise and Universal’s monsters alike. Depending on what happens once the review embargo for The Mummy drops this week, the outlook for the film may or may not improve over the last few days before its domestic bow.