Back when Universal announced their classic monster movie reboot series plans, many of us were quick to roll our eyes at the prospect of yet another franchise that’d pound beloved characters into the ground by sheer overexposure. And it’s a valid concern: I’ll be the first to admit that I, a superhero movies lover, have become a little bored with the formula lately. Universal, however, is taking a very cautious approach with all of this, as evidenced by the fact that they still haven’t announced a timeline a la Marvel’s various Phases.
Every year, when the bottom drops out of the summer movie season and audiences decide to stay home and watch television instead, some well-meaning critic will publish an article asking if cinema is dead. And every year, I pose the same question in response: “Is Tom Cruise still an action star?” As long as Tom Cruise is running across multiplex screens — fighting rogue nations, government consiparcies, and even the occasional mummy — there is still hope for cinema. Then, when Cruise’s career is done and Hollywood is in ashes, then, cinema, you have my permission to die.
Since screenwriters are often the most overlooked part of any Hollywood production, you probably aren’t familiar with the name Jon Spaihts, but odds are good that you have pretty strong feelings about his work. Spaihts broke onto the scene back in 2007 when his script for Passengers was named to that year’s Black List; while that film is just now finding its way into theaters, Spaihts is also one of the writers behind Doctor Strange, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus series, and the upcoming cinematic universe of monsters at Universal Pictures. In other words, Spaihts is a name to remember.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve heard a lot about Universal’s plans for a new shared universe of movies based on their classic monsters, and yet only one of those films — The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise — is currently in production. The studio has plans for a few more horror reboots from the creative team of Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, and it looks like one of those movies has a release date — but which one?