Most fans didn't realize trouble was brewing between Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. over the title Dark Universe. But it looks like Warner Bros. is seriously considering suing Universal over that name. And for good reason, as they've had their own Dark Universe movie planned for quite some time, and it looks like there may be some confusion amongst the two different cinematic worlds.
Universal Pictures made a very loud announcement early this month, confirming that its Monsters franchise, based on all the classic ghouls they have in stock, would from now on be referred to as Dark Universe. Tom Cruise is set to launch this cinematic world of freights with his reboot of The Mummy. It kick starts the whole endeavor next weekend, with the monster movie hitting theaters on June 9. That will be followed by The Bride of Frankenstein in February 2019. The announcement also confirmed that Johnny Depp is playing the Invisible Man, with Javier Bardem playing Frankenstein's monster. It all sounded very exciting. But Universal was also stepping on some big toes in making this announcement.
Some fans didn't even notice (or care apparently). Sure, there was a little bit of confusion over the Dark Universe title, because DC Films is planning their own Dark Universe movie that is essentially Justice League with anti-heroes leading the charge. Included in the movie are Deadman, John Constantine and Swamp Thing. No one thought much about it, as in most of the news surrounding the Warner Bros. project, it was being called Justice League Dark. The studio already released an animated movie for the property. And they had not yet relinquished the idea that the live-action big screen version would still be called Dark Universe.
So, we may see a lawsuit soon from Warner Bros. over this whole mess. News of this legal action comes from The Hollywood Reporter, who claim that Warner Bros. is still pursuing the use of the Dark Universe title. A studio source close to the project says that we may be hearing the words 'Warner Bros. Sues Universal' soon.
It's not clear when Warner Bros. plans to release Dark Universe, or Justice League Dark, or whatever it ends up being called. Some believed it will be in theaters before 2020. But like many of the projects at DC, it has had its own number of problems. First Guillermo Del Toro dropped out of directed the edgy superhero epic. Then Doug Liman bailed, after picking up those reigns. Most of DC's directors have left under the blanket of 'creative differences'. Liman claims that wasn't the case. The movie just wasn't moving forward as quickly as planned, and he was suddenly facing a few scheduling issues.
Liman is set to direct Chaos Walking for Lionsgate. That will take precedence over Dark Universe for now. But the way things are going, the DC movie might be stalled so long that Doug Liman is able to return. Though it was noted in an earlier report that Warner Bros. is seeking a new director to take over. It's unclear how a lawsuit may affect any of this, or halt the movie from moving forward. Its suggested that the studio didn't want to use the title Justice League Dark as it may confuse audiences eager to see Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon's Justice League, which is planned as its own franchise.
Michael Gilio is currently writing the script for the Justice League Dark Movie, but that may change depending on what direction Warner Bros. decides to go with it. The studio is already taking meetings with replacement directors and should have a new one in place shortly. No names were mentioned as to who may get the job.