Watching Universal fumble around with their Movie Monsters over these past few years has been embarrassing. They thought copying Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe would be as simple as slapping a “DARK UNIVERSE” logo onto the front of their Mummy remake and loading it with clues and hints about movies yet to come. They forgot that the first movie has to be engaging in the first place, or no one will care.
Technically, The Invisible Man (released last February) is a Universal Monster Movie, though it doesn’t feel much like one. it is, however, the most successful attempt they’ve had in some time, so does this mean it’ll serve as a template for a Monster Stalker Universe where Dracula and the Wolfman gaslight their ex-girlfriends? They haven’t gone that insane but the film’s success does leave the concept of a monster movie open to a wider interpretation at Universal.
Today the studio announced a new Van Helsing movie is in development, directed by Julius Avery and produced by Michael Clear and James Wan. Judson Scott will serve as the executive producer. The last Van Helsing movie came out in 2004 and was a traditional romp with lots of CGI typical of the era. Hugh Jackman played him back then, but we not only don’t know who will be Helsing this time, we don’t even know how much of him we’ll see.
This is where the “wide interpretation” comes in. According to Deadline the proposed film is set “in the world of” Van Helsing, not focused on him. So it might be called Van Helsing, but the main character might be somebody else. (His ex-girlfriend?)
Universal also says they’re open to allowing an R rating, something they waffle back and forth on depending on whether any R-rated movies were a recent success or not. The Invisible Man qualifies, so the leash as been loosened once more. The Van Helsing project currently has no release date.
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