Universal Pictures’ reboot of The Mummy franchise may yet secure the best-ever global box office opening for a Tom Cruise-headlined blockbuster. That ought to come as welcome news to the studio, not least of all because director Alex Kurtzman’s action/horror film is meant to serve as the launching point for an entire shared cinematic universe of classic Universal monster film reboots (a franchise now officially known as the Dark Universe) that will include such characters as the Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and the Phantom of the Opera, among others.
Despite that, current projections still have the Patty Jenkins-helmed Wonder Woman defeating The Mummy pretty thoroughly at the domestic box office this weekend (Wonder Woman‘s second weekend playing in theaters). Reviews for The Mummy haven’t helped in that respect, with most critics agreeing that the movie is an intriguing starting point for the Dark Universe, yet an otherwise disposable summer tentpole roller coaster ride – one that attempts a poorly-executed stab at exploring female empowerment (a la Wonder Woman) by casting Sofia Boutella as its own gender-swapped namesake, at that.
Reviews aside, Deadline is reporting that The Mummy is projected to earn $125-135 million playing in 63 territories at the global box office (with some analysts even projecting an opening as high as $150 million, depending on how the movie plays in China). That puts the movie in earshot of surpassing the $167.4 million three day worldwide box office opening for the Cruise-led War of the Worlds over a decade ago, making it the actor’s biggest global bow in the process. With a production budget of $125 million (not counting marketing costs), a strong performance overseas will be necessary to offset The Mummy‘s projected $35 million U.S. debut, in order to keep Universal’s Dark Universe plans firmly on-track.
Most of Cruise’s vehicles from the past decade have performed much better at the international box office than domestically, with even the last two Mission: Impossible installments (Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation) making more than two-thirds of their total ticket sales oversees, despite also being hits in the U.S. in their own right. The Mummy set an opening day record in South Korea earlier this week, so already said supernatural adventure is performing in line with Cruise’s most recent blockbuster efforts – including, non-Mission: Impossible genre movies such as Jack Reacher, Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow (the latter of which made a whopping 73% of its $370 million worldwide box office take outside of the States).
The global box office has become increasingly important to the success of big-budget Hollywood tentpoles in recent years, especially when it comes to franchise fare. Case in point: last month’s releases Alien: Covenant and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales have both performed below expectations at the domestic box office, but have performed well enough overseas (with more than 76% of Dead Men Tell No Tales‘ $500 + million gross coming from the international box office take) to keep hopes for the future of their respective franchises alive. Although there is less pressure on The Mummy by comparison, due to the Dark Universe movies being more standalone than conventional film sequels, the global box office may yet continue to be the key to the larger monster movie franchise’s success from hereon out.