Universal’s Dark Universe – a series of movies that features the studio’s classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man – is not getting off the ground smoothly with its first title.
“The Mummy,” starring Tom Cruise as an adventurer who uncovers the crypt of an ancient cursed princess, is receiving awful reviews leading to its opening on Friday, with a current score of 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic went so far as to call it “the worst Tom Cruise movie ever.”
“Obviously, that’s disappointing to hear,” director Alex Kurtzman told Business Insider on Thursday when hearing about the negative response from critics. “The only gauge that I really use to judge it is having just traveled around the world and hearing the audiences in the theaters. This is a movie that I think is made for audiences and in my experience, critics and audiences don’t always sing the same song.”
Kurtzman, who is best known for his credits as a screenwriter (“Transformers,” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Star Trek,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness”) and producer (“Now You See Me,” TV shows “Scorpion” and “Hawaii Five-0”), said he doesn’t read reviews. That’s thanks to advice he took from a director he would only describe as “far more experienced than I am who has a very significant track record.”
And he got honest about what it’s like to read negative press about a movie you just made.
“It is the thing that kills your soul when you have just gone through an experience like this one we just went through,” Kurtzman said.
- Chiabella James/Universal
“I’m not making movies for them,” he said of critics. “Would I love them to love it? Of course, everybody would, but that’s not really the endgame. We made a film for audiences and not critics so my great hope is they will find it and they will appreciate it.”
Critically, “The Mummy” movies, going back to when Brendan Fraser was starring in them, have never been appreciated by critics. The 1999 “The Mummy” received the highest Rotten Tomatoes score at 57%. But audiences have come out to see them and that looks to be the case with this latest one.
Though projections have the movie, budgeted at $125 million, only making $35 million domestically over opening weekend, it could be saved internationally, as projections have the movie taking between $125 million and $135 million globally. If projections come in on the high side, the movie could bring Cruise his biggest global opening weekend of his career, passing the $167.4 million earned for 2005’s “War of the Worlds.”
So despite the fun critics are having with the movie, Kurtzman may be getting the last laugh by Monday morning.