Five years on, the legacy of the Alex Kurtzman-directed 2017 reboot of “The Mummy” is one of failure.
The film was a flop with critics, audiences and at the box-office, in one move torpedoing Universal’s ambitious plans for its larger ‘Dark Universe’ initiative as audiences that Summer opted to stick with Patty Jenkins’ well-received “Wonder Woman”.
Over the years, reports have put the blame on the failure of “The Mummy” on both star/producer Tom Cruise who was involved in every aspect of the film’s production, to Kurtzman himself who hasn’t directed a film since.
On the just-released episode of the Bingeworthy podcast and whilst out promoting the new “The Man Who Fell To Earth” series launching on Showtime this weekend, Kurtzman spoke about his experience directing “The Mummy” and says its very public failure was a major lesson for him:
“I tend to subscribe to the point of view that you learn nothing from your successes, and you learn everything from your failures. And that was probably the biggest failure of my life, both personally and professionally.
There are about a million things I regret about it, but it also gave me so many gifts that are inexpressibly beautiful. I didn’t become a director until I made that movie, and it wasn’t because it was well directed – it was because it wasn’t.
And I would not have understood many of the things that I now understand about what it means to be a director had I not gone through that experience. And as brutal as it was, in many ways, and with as many cooks in the kitchen as there were, I am very grateful for the opportunity to make those mistakes because it rebuilt me into a tougher person, and it also rebuilt me into a clearer filmmaker.
Look, if you look at history and you look at people who’ve made amazing things, every single one of them will tell you the same story, which is that it came after a failure, so I look back on it now with gratitude. It took me a while to get there, but my life is better for it.”
In recent years Kurtzman has been sticking to where he’s been most successful, producing television. Prior to “The Mummy” his resume is impressive on that front with “Alias,” “Fringe,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Scorpion,” “Limitless” and “Hawaii Five-0” under his belt.
He’s also the ‘godfather’ of modern “Star Trek,” co-writing/producing the Abrams films and is currently leading the teams behind the various Paramount+ series like “Discovery,” “Picard,” “Lower Decks” and the upcoming “Strange New Worlds”.
Universal itself has also abandoned its ‘Dark Universe’ strategy in favour of smaller standalone fare featuring its classic monsters – resulting in Leigh Whannell’s superb “The Invisible Man” update and Chris McKay’s recently finished “Renfield” production.