Universal Pictures’ recent and upcoming slate of horror movies is being brought back from the dead with the help of the noteworthy collaboration between Blumhouse Productions and filmmaker David Gordon Green. With the success of their slasher follow-up, Halloween (2018), as well the recent announcement that the production company and writer-director reunite for an Exorcist sequel trilogy, they’re helping to eradicate the studio’s dismal genre history with its failed Dark Universe.
The 2017 remake of The Mummy, which features an ensemble cast that includes Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe and Sofia Boutella in the title role, was intend to start the the Dark Universe, Universal Pictures’ classic movie monsters extended universe. However, the poor box office performance and negative critical reviews for the action-adventure movie, which was directed and produced by Alex Kurtzman, ultimately led to the cancellation of the shared universe.
The Mummy was largely panned for mainly acting as a starting point in building a larger, connected universe of multiple characters and films. The drama didn’t follow in the footsteps of Iron Man, which acted as its own unique movie upon its release before Marvel Studios decided to use it as the first entry in the MCU. Instead, The Mummy was accused of focusing too much on exposition, in an effort to set-up future installments, as pointed out by Screen Rant.
The Mummy was also overshadowed by the fact that it was released in theaters just one week before Warner Bros. unveiled Wonder Woman on the big screen. The DC Extended Universe installment earned some of the best reviews of any comic book screen adaptation, in part for featuring a female protagonist in a superhero movie in the modern era.
While The Mummy ultimately led to the Dark Universe’s demise, Universal Pictures redeemed itself about a year-and-a-half later when it released Halloween (2018), just in time for the title holiday. The slasher was revolutionary in part for introducing an alternate timeline to the Halloween franchise; the latest entry in the series serves as a direct follow-up to co-scribe-helmer John Carpenter’s original 1978 film, effectively serving as a retcon to all previous sequels.
Halloween (2018) was directed by Green, who also co-penned the franchise’s latest installment in part with his frequent collaborator, Danny McBride. The filmmakers’ latest partnership worked in part because “the script fleshes the family dynamic; and actually (makes the characters) likeable. Not only are we not eager for the (characters) to die, in some cases it’s going to make us sad when it happens…Green has a good bit of fun with…boundary-pushing kills,” The Hollywood Reporter stated in its review of the drama.
Variety also expressed its approval of the performance from the follow-up that the franchise’s returning star, Jamie Lee Curtis. It noted in its review that the actress “plays one of the toughest, most combat-ready grandmas ever to grace the screen.”
Halloween (2018) will be followed by two anticipated sequels, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, which are scheduled to be released on October 15, 2021 and October 14, 2022, respectively. Green will be returning to the series to co-write, direct and executive produce the follow-ups.
Curtis will be joined on screen in the upcoming films by several of her Halloween (2018) co-stars, including Judy Greer and Andi Matichak. The duo will be reprising their roles of Karen and Allyson Nelson, the daughter and granddaughter of Curtis’ iconic protagonist, Laurie Strode.
Blumhouse is also starting to work on its anticipated sequel trilogy for The Exorcist. The production company has announced that Leslie Odom Jr. will star in the coming follow-up, alongside one of the franchise’s original stars, Ellen Burstyn. The actress, who was nominated for a Best Actress Actress for her portrayal of Chris MacNeil in the acclaimed 1973 original film, will reprise her role.
Green is set to reunite with Universal to produce and direct the first of the three planned Exorcist follow-ups. He’s taking over the helming reins from William Friedkin, who won the Best Director Oscar for his work on the original horror film.
The first film in the planned is being penned by Peter Sattler. It will be released theatrically on October 13, 2023, as well as on Peacock.
Heading to the movie theater to watch an anticipated horror sequel is one of genre fans’ favorite pastimes, as evident with box office success with Halloween (2018). After missing the mark with the misguided attempt to launch the Dark Universe with The Mummy remake, Universal Pictures is redeeming itself with its new collaboration with Blumhouse and Green.