Universal Pictures kicked off its Dark Universe this past weekend with The Mummy reboot, which brings the iconic franchise to present day. This horror series stretches all the way back to 1932 with The Mummy, which starred Boris Karloff, although most fans are most familiar with the 1999 version of The Mummy starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. While there was a reference to the 1999 film, some fans were wondering why there wasn't at least a cameo from Brendan Fraser as Rick O'Connell, but it turns out there's a perfectly good reason for that.
Last week, we reported that this reboot is connected to Brendan Fraser's Mummy, without featuring the actor himself. This entire Dark Universe centers around a corporation known as Prodigium, lead by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), and we see at its London headquarters that they have assembled a number of artifacts from various creatures throughout the years, including the Book of Amun-Ra, which was seen during a scene where archaeologist Jenny Halesey (Annabelle Wallis) uses it as a weapon to take out a member of the Prodigium security team. This movie, like all of the others in the Dark Universe, is set in present day, which, as director Alex Kurtzman revealed to Entertainment Tonight, is the reason why we didn't see Brendan Fraser's Rick O'Connell. Here's what the director had to say about honoring the previous Mummy trilogy.
"We wanted to tip our hat to it, and there are two moments that do that in the film (including the Book of Amun-Ra, which Fraser's character use to defeat Imhotep in 1999's The Mummy). We never really talked actively about bringing Brendan Fraser in, because he lived in a very different time period than the modern day and so he would be potentially not even alive. [Laughs] Unless he himself were a monster, it didn't seem like he would make a whole lot of sense. And if he were a monster, then we would have had a lot of explaining to do about why he was there."
The 1999 movie The Mummy was set in the year 1923, with the 2001 sequel, The Mummy Returns, taking place a decade later in 1933. The 2008 film The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the last of the trilogy, was set in 1946, with the story taking place in China. Given that it would be essentially impossible for Rick O'Connell to still be alive in present day, the Book of Amun-Ra makes a much more logical Easter Egg than bringing Rick O'Connell back. After a lackluster domestic opening weekend, though, it seems The Mummy remake won't be quite as big of a box office hit as its predecessor, at least not domestically.
The Mummy debuted in second place this weekend with $32.2 million, far below most industry projections which put it at over $40 million for its opening weekend. This domestic debut may have been hampered by a slew of negative movie reviews, with the remake getting just a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the movie has fared well among international audiences, with an impressive foreign debut of $141.8 million from 63 international markets. The Mummy earned $52.2 million in China, the highest of all international markets, with both the $141.8 million international opening weekend tally and the $174 million global debut marking career highs for Tom Cruise.