The Mummy reboot director Alex Kurtzman has described the 2017 Tom Cruise-led film as “probably the biggest failure” of his life, even though the process helped him as a filmmaker.
Kurtzman recently appeared as a guest on the Bingeworthy podcast where he reflected on the “brutal” experience of making The Mummy reboot. The film was intended to kickstart Universal’s Dark Universe but it ended up being a critical and commercial disappointment. Despite being poorly received, Kurtzman says he learned a lot from its failings.
“I tend to subscribe to the point of view that you learn nothing from your successes, and you learn everything from your failures,” Kurtzman said. “And that was probably the biggest failure of my life, both personally and professionally. There’s 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.”
The Mummy reboot marked Kurtzman’s second time sitting in the director’s chair for a feature, following 2012’s People Like Us, and he hasn’t helmed another movie in the years since. However, he noted that the experience gave him more knowledge and insight into the filmmaking process and that he’s much more likely to trust his instincts from now on.
“As brutal as it was, in many ways, and 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,” he shared. “That has been a real gift, and I feel those gifts all the time because I’m very clear now when I have a feeling that doesn’t feel right — I am not quiet about it anymore. I will literally not proceed when I feel that feeling.”
The Quickest Movie Franchise Reboots
Universal’s first attempt at launching its own Monsterverse (dubbed “The Dark Universe”) may not have gone according to plan, with The Mummy reboot failing to make a lasting impact at the box office, but the studio later found success with The Invisible Man starring Elizabeth Moss, which earned $98.3 million on a budget of only $7 million when it hit theaters in 2020.
Universal is now focused on building out its monster portfolio with even more high-profile titles, many of which are already in development. Amongst those projects, there is a monster movie centered around Dracula-adjacent character Renfield, a Ryan Gosling-led Wolfman film helmed by Derek Cianfrance, and Blumhouse’s adaptation of The Thing’s source novel.
While Kurtzman has stepped away from the monster genre, he hasn’t shied away from tackling new iterations of past works. His latest small-screen endeavor, The Man Who Fell to Earth, premiered on Showtime on April 24. IGN awarded the first episode a 5 out of 10, saying the premiere was “divided between fish-out-of-water comedy and tech bro tropes.”
Adele Ankers-Range is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.