Universal Pictures is finally following in the footsteps of rival Hollywood studios by getting into the "universe" mode with their most famous movie monsters.
The studio announced on Monday its plans for their "Dark Universe," a series of film surrounding classic characters including The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein's Monster and The Bride of Frankenstein.
Tom Cruise's "The Mummy" will kick off the franchise on June 9, with Sofia Boutella taking on the title role and Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll of Jekyll and Hyde fame. Joining the group for future films are Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man and Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's Monster.
The announcement also confirmed Bill Condon will direct "Bride of Frankenstein," which will be released on Valentine's Day in 2019. "The actress chosen to play the lead role in Condon's version of this timeless story will be announced soon," the studio said.
"We take enormous pride in the creativity and passion that has inspired the reimagining of Universal's iconic monsters and promise audiences we will expand this series strategically," said Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures. "The enterprise masterfully developed by [producers Chris Morgan and Alex Kurtzman] will allow each subsequent chapter the right time to find the perfect cast, filmmakers and vision to fulfill it. As we launch Dark Universe with [Danny Elfman's] provocative theme before The Mummy and collaborate with a brilliant filmmaker like Bill to weave the story of a very modern woman in a very classic tale, we feel confident we're off to a tremendous start."
"When Universal approached us with the idea of reimagining these classic characters, we recognized the responsibility of respecting their legacy while bringing them into new and modern adventures," added Kurtzman and Morgan. "The studio and our fellow creative collaborators have championed and challenged us as we've begun to spin the web of Dark Universe. It's our hope these movies will engross longtime fans and spark the imaginations of brand-new ones."
"I'm very excited to bring a new Bride of Frankenstein to life on screen, particularly since James Whale's original creation is still so potent," Condon added. "The Bride of Frankenstein remains the most iconic female monster in film history, and that's a testament to Whale's masterpiece—which endures as one of the greatest movies ever made."
According to Universal, the universe will be connected by "a mysterious multi-national organization known as Prodigium. Led by the enigmatic and brilliant Dr. Henry Jekyll, Prodigium's mission is to track, study and -- when necessary -- destroy evil embodied in the form of monsters in our world."
"Working outside the aegis of any government, and with practices concealed by millennia of secrecy, Prodigium protects the public from knowledge of the evil that exists just beyond the thin membrane of civilized society ... and will go to any length to contain it," the announcement added.