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‘The Mummy’ Dies Domestically but Finds Life Overseas

With receipts of $141.8M in 63 territories, ”The Mummy“ is Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing open of his career internationally

It’s strangely appropriate that Universal’s “The Mummy” features Dr. Jekyll, as the film has received Jekyll-and-Hyde box office results with a weak domestic start and record-setting overseas receipts.

Against a budget of $160 million, “The Mummy” only grossed an estimated $32.2 million domestically, putting it $25 million behind the $57.2 million second frame estimate posted by “Wonder Woman.” That’s a lower opening than every installment of Brendan Fraser’s “Mummy” films. Even the lowest-performing film in that franchise, the Dwayne Johnson spin-off “The Scorpion King,” had a $36 million opening back in 2002.

But internationally, the returns for “The Mummy” are substantially different. The film grossed $141.8 million from 63 territories, making it the biggest international opening for the film’s marquee star, Tom Cruise. The record was previously set by Cruise’s 2005 film “War of the Worlds,” which made $102.5 million internationally.

While Cruise’s drawing power among foreign audiences is still strong — the film took No. 1 in 46 countries including China and set records for Cruise in 26 of them — the international box office has changed greatly since “War of the Worlds.” China was not a major market back in 2005, and major markets like Korea and France were not included in that film’s initial release. With studios now often releasing their films in every major market except Japan the same weekend as the U.S., international opening numbers will increase compared to last decade.

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Even with the robust numbers overseas, the film’s struggle to perform in the States is surely a concern for Universal, who was hoping to ignite interest in their “Dark Universe” series, which will modernize classic Universal horror icons like Frankenstein and the Invisible Man. Other studios are trying similar projects, namely Warner Bros. and Legendary, who are bringing Godzilla and King Kong together in their “MonsterVerse” series. That venture has paid off well, with its latest installment “Kong: Skull Island” performing very well in a competitive March market this year.

But Universal will need to retool this cinematic universe if it’s going to gather steam among domestic audiences. The series’ next installment, “Bride of Frankenstein,” will arrive in theaters on Valentine’s Day in 2019.

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