The Mummy is on pace to earn more than $169 million at the global box office this weekend, marking the biggest opening ever for a Tom Cruise film. Kicking off Universal Pictures’ monster-themed Dark Universe, The Mummy has experienced mostly lows and few highs as it approached its debut in theaters this week. Arriving to scathing reviews and low box office estimates, the film appeared to doom Universal’s attempt to revive iconic characters including Frankenstein, the Wolfman and the Mummy for the masses via a shared universe format.
An update of the 1932 classic version of The Mummy starring Boris Karloff (which was first remade by Universal in 1999 with Brendan Fraser in the lead), The Mummy vaulted ahead from the period settings of the original and first remake and largely set the action in modern day, where soldier of fortune Nick Morton (Cruise) earns his living by unearthing ancient antiquities to sell on the black market. But when Morton helps unearth a 5,000-year-old sarcophagus that entombs the mummified Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), a curse is unleashed upon him by Ahmanet as she proceeds to regain her original form to wreak havoc on everybody that surrounds her.
While The Mummy isn’t expected to wrap up the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office (thanks to a Wonder Woman repeat), early returns suggest that director Alex Kurtzman’s film will easily win the global box office. According to Deadline, The Mummy has grossed $56.8 million at the box office through Friday, putting the film on track to make $139 million overseas this weekend, which sets a new international record for a Cruise film. Combined with the film’s estimated $30.3 domestic gross, the film is tracking to make $169.3 worldwide – which is enough to eclipse Cruise’s previous top global box office mark of $167.4 million set by War of the Worlds in 2005.
Deadline says of the 63 foreign markets The Mummy was released in this weekend, it debuted at No. 1 in 52 of them. The film has earned the most money in China, where it took in $19 million on Friday and is tracking to make $51.5 in its opening frame. Korea is expected to take in $17 million in ticket sales for The Mummy over the weekend, following a $6.6 million debut Thursday to mark the country’s biggest opening day of all time.
While The Mummy clearly stumbled out of the gate in North America, the cumulative global take of $169.3 million – which exceeds initial estimates – bodes well for the future of the Dark Universe. As one of the filmmakers behind the new franchise, Kurtzman certainly has confidence in the long-term prospects of the movie series – and he’s already hyping director Bill Condon’s remake of The Bride of Frankenstein set for a February 2019 release. But while the foreign gross of The Mummy will help build a solid financial bridge to Condon’s film, the Beauty and the Beast helmer will have to find a way to increase domestic ticket sales or planned follow-ups including The Invisible Man, The Wolfman and The Creature From the Black Lagoon may never be unearthed from Universal’s vault.