Universal got ahead of itself with its ambitious plan for a shared cinematic universe featuring rebooted versions of the studio’s famous monsters. Despite casting Tom Cruise in the lead role, 2017's The Mummy was a huge disappointment at the box office, leaving the Dark Universe (as the studio dubbed it) in doubt. According to Variety, the Dark Universe is now officially kaput, but that hasn’t stopped Universal from developing more monster-movie reboots, such as The Invisible Man, which is still, somehow, alive–like the Dark Universe website, which has yet to be taken down. May it live on eternally with the legendary Space Jam website.
Per the latest report, The Invisible Man has received a bit of an upgrade, as Universal has hired Upgrade director Leigh Whannell to helm the next monster reboot. As an added bonus, Johnny Depp (and his collection of hats) is no longer attached to star in the remake of the 1933 James Whale film based on the H.G. Wells story of the same name. And in case you need another hit of optimism, Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions is now co-producing The Invisible Man. Honestly, it’s surprising that it took Universal this long to get Blum, whose box office hits include the Paranormal Activity series and last year’s Halloween, involved.
With the Dark Universe out of the picture, Universal is now looking for filmmakers to put a unique spin on the classic monsters in standalone movies. Peter Cramer, Universal’s president of production, says the studio is “excited to take a more individualized approach for their return to screen, shepherded by creators who have stories they are passionate to tell with them.” It’s unclear if those projects still include previously-announced titles like Bride Of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. However, Variety notes that the actors who appeared in the now-infamous Dark Universe class photo–like Javier Bardem, Tom Cruise, and Russell Crowe–still have the option to appear in the studio’s upcoming monster reboots once a filmmaker has been hired.