Universal Pictures

Low-budget horror-meisters Blumhouse are following up the massive success of ‘The Invisible Man’, directed by Leigh Whannell, with another director-driven take on a classic monster– Dracula.  Karyn Kusama is attached to helm the currently untitled project.

Karyn Kusama directing ‘Æon Flux’ – Photo: Paramount Pictures

‘The Invisible Man’ was distributed by Universal.  The thriller, made with a bargain-basement budget of only $7 million has already made over $102M at the worldwide box office (and that’s with the COVID-19 coronavirus knocking out most of the Asian and part of the European markets).  Previously, Universal attempted to build a Dark Universe of big-budget action movies with its deep catalog of monster movies (twice), but both attempts– ‘Dracula Untold’ (2014) and ‘The Mummy’ (2017)– flopped at the box office.

Universal is not yet attached to distribute this new ‘Dracula,’ but they likely will as they have a first-look deal with Blumhouse and they previously released perhaps the most famous ‘Dracula’ movie ever, the 1931 classic starring Bela Lugosi.  (The character of Dracula is in public domain.)

It appears that Universal is abandoning the idea of a shared universe, however.  This ‘Dracula’ film is not expected to be connected to ‘The Invisible Man’ in any way.  Presumably, that means it will also not connect to the in-development ‘Renfield’ to be directed by Dexter Fletcher (‘Rocketman’), focusing on Dracula’s henchman from the novel and previous films.

Dracula is a perennial favorite monster, but even so, he seems to be experiencing a surge in interest from Hollywood.  Amblin is also developing its own Dracula-based project, ‘Last Voyage of the Demeter’ — the Demeter being the ship that Dracula used to travel from Transylvania to London — with André Øvredal (‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’) attached to direct.  Netflix and the BBC recently released a three-part miniseries simply called ‘Dracula’, and ABC has ordered a pilot for ‘The Brides’ focusing on the Count’s beguiling succubi.

Universal Pictures

Following the failure of ‘The Mummy’ but prior to the release of ‘The Invisible Man’, Universal seems to have gone into panic mode and started greenlighting a slew of monster movies of all sorts.  ‘Ghostbusters” Paul Feig is directing the comedic action film ‘Dark Army’ (formerly ‘Monster Army’).  In November, it was announced that Elizabeth Banks was going to produce, direct, and star in ‘The Invisible Woman’, a remake of a screwball comedy from 1940.  Most recently, it was announced that music video director Matt Stawski was developing a full-blown musical based on the 1962 novelty pop song ‘The Monster Mash’.

Kusama has helmed the films ‘Destroyer’, ‘Æon Flux’, and ‘Girlfight’.  She has also done a lot of work on television, having directed an episode of HBO’s latest, ‘The Outsider’, as well as episodes of ‘Halt and Catch Fire’, ‘Billions’, ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Masters of Sex’, and more.

Universal’s previous take on the ‘Dracula’ mythos, ‘Dracula Untold’ made $217M on a production budget of $71M.  It was not a flop, but it was a fairly lackluster performance considering that the studio expected this to launch its Dark Universe.  That picture was directed by Gary Shore and starred Luke Evans in the title role.  After that, Universal switched gears and attempted to relaunch the Dark Universe with marquee stars like Tom Cruise in ‘The Mummy’.  Russell Crowe made a cameo in that picture as Dr. Henry Jekyll to set up a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ movie.  Also on tap were Javier Bardem to play Frankenstein’s monster, Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man, and Angelina Jolie as the Bride of Frankenstein.  But after ‘The Mummy’ fizzled, all of those plans were scrapped.

Check back for updates on ‘Dracula’ as things develop.  What do you think of a low-budget, modern take on ‘Dracula’?


Source: The Hollywood Reporter