“Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters,” says Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll as Nick Fury around the midway mark of last week’s The Mummy. In case the prominent “Dark Universe” logo at the onset of the opening credits didn’t make it clear enough, Crowe was there to remind audiences that the dopey Tom Cruise vehicle we were all watching was meant to be the kickoff entry in Universal’s new creature-feature mega-franchise. But is the Dark Universe even going to happen at this point? That depends on how Universal wants to crunch the numbers.
Here in the States, The Mummy is a disappointment. It opened in second place with $32.2 million—less than all three of the Brendan Fraser Mummy movies made out the gate, a pretty soft start for a film that cost $125 million, and hardly the Iron Man-sized foundation hit that a shared universe all but requires. (Fun side note: Cruise was once in consideration to play Tony Stark, before Robert Downey Jr. took the role instead.) So if domestic returns were all that mattered, the Dark Universe would be as dead as a mummified Egyptian princess. But looking beyond America, to the rest of the world depicted on that spinning Universal logo, tells a different story. On a global scale, The Mummy is doing just fine: It scared up $141.8 million across 63 international markets this weekend, making it Cruise’s best worldwide debut ever. If that ends up outweighing the tepid reception Stateside (including dismal reviews and a lukewarm B- CinemaScore from select audiences), we could still see Crowe recruiting a neck-bolt-sporting Javier Bardem come 2019.
The Mummy might have done better locally were it not caught in the blast radius of another, much more rapturously received shared-universe origin story. Commercial and critical smash Wonder Woman scored a monster second weekend, topping the box-office charts again with another $57.1 million. That’s a drop of only about 44 percent, which is more great news for DC, whose previous three superhero blockbusters have experienced much steeper plummets, probably because they were way lousier. Wonder Woman has now crossed $200 million domestically, and may well catch its 2017 superhero-movie competition, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 ($366 million) and Logan ($226 million).
The rest of this summer weekend’s top five belonged to a captain in his underpants, a captain of pirates, and space pirates. That left the week’s smaller films mainly picking at scraps. Dog lovers (and a very positive audience reception) couldn’t elevate Megan Leavey over the $4 million mark, and the spectacle of Rachel Weisz playing a titular character named Rachel didn’t draw big crowds for literary adaptation My Cousin Rachel, which made less than a million on more than 500 screens. Technically, the best-performing of the new indie releases was It Comes At Night, which landed just outside the top five with $6 million. But considering that A24 opened its latest artisanal horror offering on more than 2,500 screens, that debut scans as a disappointment—and a devastating D CinemaScore means that It Comes At Night probably won’t enjoy the word-of-mouth success that greeted that other critically acclaimed scary movie with “it” in the title. Meanwhile, the ostensibly worst-performing of this weekend’s indie movies was Night School, except that the film made its $1,600 in a single 40-seat auditorium at the IFC Center in New York, where it sold out several times over the weekend. In other words, whether you’re talking about insanely expensive Tom Cruise monster movies or documentaries about adult education, everything’s relative in the box-office arena.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.