The Tom Cruise-headlined The Mummy has topped the global box office for the second weekend in a row, pushing the action/horror movie reboot towards a $300 million worldwide take, to date. Only a fraction of The Mummy‘s box office gross has come from its U.S. theatrical run (some $56.5 million, after the movie’s second weekend), but that’s par for the course for Cruise-led blockbusters nowadays. Moreover, The Mummy‘s strong worldwide performance should help to ensure that it avoids becoming either the sole entry in Universal’s Dark Universe franchise or another failed monster film universe launchpad for the studio (like 2014’s Dracula Untold).
Director Alex Kurtzman’s tentpole also continues to perform well overseas despite the bad buzz that surrounds The Mummy in general, in turn further solidifying the argument that the Dark Universe doesn’t “need” the U.S. to succeed, from a commercial perspective. That being said, The Mummy is also benefiting from timing – as the Cruise-led vehicle was smartly positioned to hit theaters around the globe a week after Wonder Woman began its own lucrative worldwide run, giving it some breathing room apart from the DC Extended Universe blockbuster (and other summer blockbusters that will be arriving very soon).
Cars 3 was this week’s major new wide release, but the Disney/Pixar sequel is getting a staggered release in theaters around the world – further leaving the door open for The Mummy to take the weekend box office crown worldwide, for a second weekend. As reported by Deadline, The Mummy took in another $53 million worldwide in 68 markets, raising its non-U.S. box office total to $239.1 million (and $295.6 million, including domestic grosses). Meanwhile, Wonder Woman continues to perform strongly around the globe, grossing $39.5 million from 62 markets over the frame and raising its worldwide total take to $571.8 million. By comparison, Cars 3 took in $21.3 million from 23 markets and Despicable Me 3 (which hits the U.S. at the end of this month) debuted with $10 million from 5 markets.
As mentioned earlier, The Mummy performing much stronger commercially overseas that in the States is in keeping with Cruise’s most recent track record. In fact, virtually every franchise and/or big-budget project that Cruise has starred in over the past decade (see both the fourth and fifth Mission: Impossible movies, Jack Reacher, Oblivion, Edge of Tomorrow, and so on) has done much better with global audiences than U.S. moviegoers, when it comes to ticket sales.
On the other hand, the overall poor critical and general audience reception for The Mummy does raise questions about the viability of the Dark Universe in the long run. As Cruise’s future with this shared monster movie franchise is currently up in the air, further installments may not be able to use Cruise’s global box office draw as a crutch to lean on, should the critical outlook fail to improve from hereon forward. That is something that Universal might want to take into consideration, while plotting out its future Dark Universe release slate over the next year.
So far though, Universal has only set the release date for one more Dark Universe film beyond The Mummy – Bride of Frankenstein, as directed by Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast ) and starring Oscar-winner Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster. Given that Condon is an Oscar-winning filmmaker with several acclaimed projects to his name (whereas The Mummy was Kurtzman’s big-budget debut as a director), the expectation is Bride of Frankenstein will be far better-received than the first Dark Universe entry. Whether similar global box office success will follow or not, that’s another story.