The Dark Universe has been announced officially. It launches with The Mummy and will be followed by The Bride of Frankenstein in (2019) and The Invisible Man (2020). Franchises are the in thing now, especially in the wake of Marvel's insane success. I love the casting that's signed on for the future Dark Universe releases, but I'm sad that there aren't any plans to include The Wolfman (2010) and Dracula Untold (2014).
The Wolfman was amazing, and they clearly left it open with the detective infected at the end, so it would be easy enough to do a simple head nod with a news paper clipping from the movie showing the werewolf attack. Dracula Untold was awesome as well, was also open ended, and losing Luke Evans as Dracula would be a total waste.
I liked Hollow Man as well because it did a really good job of incorporation the original sensibilities from The Invisible Man novel, and how power corrupts. There's nothing that directly contradicts anything else right now, although it was delivered by Columbia Pictures, not Universal.
On that note, The Shape of Water is a clear Creature From the Black Lagoon remake. Whatever happened that Universal decided to pass causing Guillermo Del Toro to retool his story for Fox to release is their idiotic loss.
None of these movies faired well with critics, but I don't feel like they ever do. There weren't great advertising campaigns for them driving folks to the theaters. The vampire market was a little saturated when Dracula came out also, so I don't think the timing was right. And let's be honest, no matter how any of the Dark Universe movies turn out, critics will be unduly harsh about them because they confuse being critical and critiquing movies. You see that with Star Wars and DC movies for example. Critics hate them; but fans are enjoying them.
Additionally, while Universal might believe they will make Marvel money, we're talking about monster movies. It's a niche audience compared to something accessible that children and adults can like. And not just that. Monster movies that aren't being released around Halloween when everyone is cranked up for scary flicks don't tend to do so well.
This can really only mean that Universal is trying to portray them not just as horror movies, but as summer time action flicks (The Mummy) or Valentine's Day couple flicks (Bride of Frankenstein). In doing so; while they will believe they are making them accessible, what will probably end up happening is they short-change the people who would've otherwise become their core audience.
That said, I'm still excited. I think the Dark Universe is doomed to a rough start, but as long as Universal sticks with it, I think it will pay off. They just have to be willing to take some ridicule; maybe even absorb a stumble or two at the box office, but they will zone in on their demographic and get that cult following that takes years to build. IF they stick to it.
For now, until contradicted by updated canon, I'm retconning The Wolfman, Dracula Untold and the whole previous Mummy Saga and spin-offs (thanks to a clever little easter egg in the 2017 Mummy) into the Dark Universe because I think Universal is silly to set them aside.
The Scorpion King (2002 release date, events before 2630 BC)
The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior (2008 release date, events before 2630 BC)
The Scorpion King: Battle for Redemption (2012 release date, events before 2630 BC)
The Scorpion King: Quest for Power (2015 release date, events before 2630 BC)
Dracula Untold (2014 release date, 1477 events)
The Wolfman (2010 release date, 1891 events)
The Mummy (1999 release date, 1926 event dates)
The Mummy Returns (2001 release date, 1933 event dates)
The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008 release date, 1946 event dates)
The Shape of Water (2017 release date, 1962 event dates)
Hollow Man (2000 release date and event dates)
The Mummy (2017 release date and event dates)
Bride of Frankenstein (2019 release date)
The Invisible Man (2020 release date)