Universal Pictures is delaying production on Bride of Frankenstein, but stars Angelina Jolie and Javier Bardem are expected to remain attached to the project - at least for now. Director Bill Condon just announced that the film was set to go before cameras beginning on February 1st, 2018 but it now seems unlikely that the project will be ready to roll by then.
Bride of Frankenstein was officially announced in May, with Condon set to direct from a script by veteran writer David Koepp. Bardem was confirmed to play Frankenstein (the monster) when Universal officially rolled out its Dark Universe plan, with Johnny Depp also announced as The Invisible Man. The Dark Universe officially kicked off this past June with The Mummy, which along with Tom Cruise's main character Nick Morton, also introduced Russell Crowe's Dr. Jekyll. The Mummy underperformed at the U.S. box office, but Universal has given no indication that it intends to dial back its ultimate Dark Universe concept since then.
As reported by Deadline, Universal has now decided to pull back the reins on at least one installment of the Dark Universe, delaying production on Bride of Frankenstein for the time-being. Universal released the following statement about their decision:
“After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone Bride of Frankenstein. None of us want to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together.”
According to Deadline, Jolie and Bardem are both remaining attached the project despite the delay (neither actor has officially signed on at this point). As for the specific reasons for the delay, sources told Deadline that the film was being pulled back so more work could be done on its script. In an interview last October, writer David Koepp called his Bride of Frankenstein script "a tale of liberation" and earlier this year Mummy director Alex Kurtzman praised the script, calling it "brilliant" with a "very unique structure" and a "relatable central relationship." However, it now appears the script is not entirely satisfactory to everyone involved in the production, hence the decision to go back to work on it. With Bride of Frankenstein now delayed though, Jolie looks to have a clear schedule when Maleficent 2 begins filming in early 2018.
News that Bride of Frankenstein is going back for additional script work will only cast more doubt on the ultimate viability of the Dark Universe, a plan that was immediately met with skepticism when Universal first announced it. The box office returns for The Mummy certainly didn't do much to alleviate the perception that Universal put the cart well before the horse in planning to build an entire cinematic universe around their stable of famed monster movie characters. The shared universe concept seems to have become less appealing to studios of late, with Warner Bros. going so far as to start developing a separate line of DC movies, separate from the current line of Justice League films. Is it possible that Universal too is having second thoughts about their own shared universe?