Universal’s first big release in their so-called Dark Universe has officially bombed at the domestic box office, but The Mummy has at least managed to scrape back its budget internationally. Tom Cruise stars in the action-horror reboot, which has been the subject of widespread critical disdain (the movie maintains a rotten score of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes).
The response to The Mummy was such that many were quick to denounce the Dark Universe as dead on arrival, but Universal were surely hoping the general public would disagree, especially considering that they recently announced Bride of Frankenstein for release in 2019. In the end, it seems there is an audience for the film, just not in America.
Variety reports that The Mummy made a mere $30 million domestically, but has made up for it internationally with projections saying it has netted $141.8 million in the other territories – it performed particularly well in China, recouping as much as $52.2 million. This gives it a $174 million total opening weekend, the biggest ever for a Tom Cruise film. Considering that the movie was made on a budget in the range of $125 million, while it isn’t the success story that the studio had hoped for, it has at least covered its production.
The report further pointed out that the latest spin on the Mummy failed to outperform any of the preceding ones starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. Their first foray into the sands of Egypt made over $43.3 million domestically and garnered an Academy Award Nomination, while the second installment made more than double Tom Cruise’s first entanglement with the bandaged bad-guy. Even The Scorpion King and the Jet Li sequel, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor made more in their opening weekends.
None of those releases had to contend with the runaway success of DC’s Wonder Woman however, which has gone from strength to strength since it opened over a week ago. Now in its second weekend, the DCEU movie is expected to eclipse The Mummy’s opening with an extra $53 million at the domestic box office. Wonder Woman’s success will be a particularly bitter pill for Universal executives to swallow, as the beleaguered DC Extended Universe finally finds its footing as their cinematic world stumbles out of the gate.
Having already bet heavily on the Dark Universe, Universal executives might be concerned about the franchise’s potential to hemorrhage cash from the studio. The fact that The Mummy is an international hit will surely see it make a profit (films need to typically earn double their budget to get in the black) but will be small comfort, with as many as six other movies in the franchise slated to begin production.