The Mummy (2017) - Tom Cruise and the start of Universal's monster universe


I started watching it again last night with my son, and it’s a reasonably fun movie if you go in expecting it to be cheesy…but man, the late '90s were a rough time in terms of CGI. Just good enough that they’re trying lots of new things, but just bad enough that they really stand out. The sand effects were particularly bad.


But at the time, they were fantastic.


I went in expecting to hate this movie, I did not. Based upon the my own personal expectations I left this movie in a good mood and will definitely check out what else this universe has to offer.

Don’t expect the 1999 version and don’t watch the trailer (as advised above.) Honestly I’m confused on how this movie got better reviews than Alien Covenant.


If you’re willing to look silly, just close your eyes and rub your fingers in your ears during the trailers. Sure, people think you have a developmental difficulty, but it does avoid spoilers.


That’s not enough, is what I discovered. Trailers shown before movies are so loud, you’ll hear the whole thing, and hear every line despite the fingers in your ears. The only way to stop is to put the fingers in your ears and hum loud enough that you drown out the huge sound coming from the trailer.

I did that for a few months, while all my friends made fun of me for doing it. Eventually I got tired of looking and sounding silly, so I just closed my eyes. So I still heard every trailer, same as if I was putting fingers in my ears and not humming, but I didn’t see any visuals.


By George, I think you’ve got it!


Why not just wait around out in the hallway, and come in after the trailers have finished? That’s how I do it. Albeit not by design. - just happens to be the byproduct of being married to someone who cannot but help but make us late for everything. I haven’t seen a trailer in the theater for like, three years.


To be honest, Star Wars perfected the trailer concept with Rogue One, where 90% of the footage they used was not in the movie.


Unlike you, I go to a lot of films. So it saves me money and time. Namely the price of a ticket and a couple of hours. If I feel I have seen the film, then I don’t have to go.

This also acts as a great filter, because if there is a film I think I know and dismiss and someone says it is great, my first question is “The trailer sucked, is the film different?” and if the response is in the affirmative, it immediately goes to my top list. Split is a recent example of this. Predictable silly trailer, great film.

So watching the trailer for this film, I have now seen the Mummy before it was released and know it is bad. I normally would not go as I could quickly write out the screen play for you…Unfortunately, my significant other loves all things Egypt, and therefore I will suffer the mummy’s curse anyway. But that is what matinees are for…

IMHO it Is a losing game trying to avoid seeing a trailer as they are everywhere. If they don’t catch you in the theater at another film, they catch you on your TV or You Tube. Why expend so much effort just to be surprised that you wasted 10 bucks and 2 hours?

Used to be a time when you were guaranteed the trailer was not the film. In fact, trailers were much more entertaining than a film as it seemed trailer making was an art unto itself But that is no more.


Yeah, that’s true for me as well. Ever since I got married, I’ve never made it to the theater on time. We’re always walking in right after the movie has started, or right before. But never during the time when the previews are showing.


That is one of the benefits of the big trend towards reserved seating in theatres these days. You can walk in a few minutes before the actual film start time and avoid the movie previews.


Behind-the-scenes bit over at Variety.

[quote]In the wake of “The Mummy’s” failure, the decision to tap such an untested director on a sprawling action-adventure seems to have been foolhardy. Kurtzman wouldn’t necessarily rank high on a studio’s wish list for a project this big, given that he’s a producer and writer who only helmed one small feature that debuted to mixed reviews (2012’s Chris Pine drama “People Like Us”). As Kurtzman struggled to adjust to scope of the project, it felt more like Cruise was the real director, often dictating the major action sequences and micro-managing the production, according to sources.

There were other ways that “The Mummy” was transformed from a scary summer popcorn movie into a standard-issue Tom Cruise vehicle. The actor personally commissioned two other writers along with McQuarrie to crank out a new script. Two of the film’s three credited screenwriters, McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman, an actor-writer who played small roles in “The Mummy” and “Jack Reacher,” were close allies of Cruise’s. The script envisioned Nick Morton as an earnest Tom Cruise archetype, who is laughably described as a “young man” at one point.

His writers beefed up his part. In the original script, Morton and the Mummy (played by Sofia Boutella) had nearly equal screen time. The writers also added a twist that saw Cruise’s character become possessed, to give him more of a dramatic arc. Even though Universal executives weren’t thrilled about the story — which feels disjointed and includes Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll — they went along with Cruise’s vision.

And the crew fell in line too, behind Cruise as the boss. “This is very much a film of two halves: before Tom and after Tom,” said Frank Walsh, the supervising art director, at a London screening of “The Mummy” this week. “I have heard the stories about how he drives everything and pushes and pushes, but it was amazing to work with him. The guy is a great filmmaker and knows his craft. He will walk onto a set and tell the director what to do, say ‘that’s not the right lens,’ ask about the sets, and as long as you don’t fluff what you’re saying to him … he’s easy to work for.”

Once the film was done, Cruise brought in his longtime editor Andrew Mondshein to piece together the final picture. (The film’s credits also list Gina and Paul Hirsch as editors.) He spent time in the editing suite overseeing the cutting, which everybody agreed wasn’t working. On the lot, there were differences of opinions about whether Cruise’s directions were improving a picture that had been troubled from its inception or whether they were turning a horror film into a Cruise infomercial. Some believed that Cruise had no choice but to assert himself. Given Kurtzman’s inexperience directing tentpoles, Cruise, who has carried heavily choreographed action movies all his life, had to try to rally the troops or risk having the production fall behind schedule.

Universal knew that if it wanted “The Mummy” to compete against the likes of “Wonder Woman” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” it needed every ounce of Cruise’s waning star power. As the studio scrambled to deal with weak tracking, it released a portrait in late May of Cruise with other actors from the Dark Universe franchise, including Depp and Javier Bardem (who will play Frankenstein). Yet the studio couldn’t even assemble all the actors in the room at the same time, and the image had to be Photoshopped. The Internet reaction to the last-ditch marketing effort was tepid at best. It was another reminder that the big names that once ruled Hollywood are inspiring a lot less love from audiences.[/quote]


As Hollywood is playing the blame game on what went wrong on “The Mummy,” which had a measly domestic opening of just $32 million, many fingers are pointing to Cruise.

Yeah… That article is just playing the very same blame game they accuse Hollywood of. Cruise is a big target and thus easily targeted. Perhaps without his efforts this movie would have fallen apart even worse?

Kurtzmans track record as a writer isn’t too encouraging (Amazing Spiderman 1&2, Transformers, Star Trek into Darkness, Cowboys and Aliens), so I wouldn’t be surprised if he just doesn’t have the creative skills to direct a movie like this. & Universal seems to have been pulling a “Warner / DC” cart before the horse type approach.


The thing is, The Mummy only failed if the domestic market if the only consideration, because it made 140 million in foreign markets bringing its opening total to $170 million. With a production budget of $125 Million, the movie is a financial success. Domestic market is quite simply not as important as it used to be.

  1. The article states the production budget ended up being possibly ~$190m.
  2. Marketing budget comes on top of the production budget and it ain’t peanuts. According to Variety it was $100m in the case of The Mummy.
  3. Money generated at the box office != studio income. After movie theaters and local distribution partners and whatnot take their share, actual income is notably smaller. The Mummy will have to earn a lot more than $290m to become profitable for the studio. Not to forget that this one has more riding on it since it meant to kick off the Dark Universe.

Obviously, after its theatrical run a bit more money will flow in due to DVD/Blu-ray/streaming income and tv licensing. That said, for big productions it’s usually the theatrical run that determines their future.


Yup. @JD is spot-on. Additionally, Asian box office is not always a straight calculus like it would be in the west. Many times, these movies have to go through a producing partnership to even get a screen showing in China, meaning the Chinese distributor gets a much larger take of the ticket sales than they would with a western theater partner.


Eh this movie was fine. I enjoyed it. It’s not a good movie by any means, but it has skeletons, a demon, and a Mummy doing mummy stuff. Plus the Mummy was pretty hot. That’s enough for me.

Dracula Untold was also a perfectly serviceable movie. I’m in for the next one.


Not to mention Chinese exhibitors are pretty notorious for fiddling audience numbers.


Hollywood only gets about 25% of the gross for their movies in China.


Yup. That’s .25 on the dollar for China compared to $1.75 on the box office dollar for the US, due not only to distribution issues but also a lack of post-box office revenue like TV and disc rights.

It’s a huge discrepency.

Add in marketing, which is usually in the .5:1-1:1 range of production budget, and you probably have a revenue loser on your hands.