In the wake of the disastrous domestic opening for Universal’s “The Mummy,” which at a budget of around $190 million only took in $31.6 million (though it did much better internationally), the finger-pointing has begun.
And many are targeting the would-be blockbuster’s star, Tom Cruise.
Cruise has had an overwhelming amount of creative control on all of his movies for the last decade-plus, but according to Variety, the actor had more than usual on the set of “The Mummy.”
The trade reports that Cruise had a contract with Universal on the project that gave him control of script approval and postproduction decisions, and he certainly wielded that power.
The movie already had a close collaborator of Cruise’s signed on as a screenwriter before the actor came aboard, Christopher McQuarrie, who has written and directed Cruise movies “Jack Reacher,” “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” and the upcoming “Mission: Impossible 6.” But Cruise then brought on two more screenwriters to beef up his role.
Cruise then brought on his longtime editor Andrew Mondshein to work with the editors already on the project, Paul and Gina Hirsch, to lock the picture. Cruise also spent a lot of time in the edit suite as well, Variety reports.
Looking back on it, studio chatter is mixed. Some believe Cruise had too much power and turned a monster movie (the first of a franchise called Dark Universe that will feature famous monsters like The Invisible Man and The Wolf Man) into a seen-it-already Tom Cruise action flick. Meanwhile, others think Cruise needed to be heavy-handed given the inexperience of director Alex Kurtzman.
Business Insider spoke to Kurtzman before “The Mummy” opened in theaters, and he said he was well aware of Cruise’s collaborative nature, as he had worked on scripts for Cruise movies since 2006’s “Mission: Impossible III.”
“It’s a constant back-and-forth, a constant partnership,” Kurtzman told Business Insider about working with Cruise. “Breaking down how we approach the filmmaking, everything is a conversation, nothing is taken for granted. He’s extremely thorough, he’s extremely knowledgeable, he’ll step on set and he’ll know exactly what is going on everywhere and that’s a tremendous benefit. When you’re making a movie this big, it’s a benefit because there’s so much to handle in it and having his basic knowledge was great.”
Kurtzman added of directing Cruise, “He’s never not done anything I’ve asked him to do.”
Universal did not immediately reply to Business Insider’s request for comment, but the studio did back Cruise in its statement to Variety:
“Tom approaches every project with a level of commitment and dedication that is unmatched by most working in our business today,” the statement read. “He has been a true partner and creative collaborator, and his goal with any project he works on is to provide audiences with a truly cinematic moviegoing experience.”