Wonder Woman wrapped up Cruise's The Mummy at the weekend box office, pulling in an estimated $57.2 million in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Mummy looked its age, selling a relatively feeble $32.2 million in tickets for the movie's debut weekend.
That couldn't compete with Wonder Woman. The Gal Gadot superhero film, directed by Patty Jenkins, has quickly earned more than $205 million domestically in two weeks.
The poor opening for The Mummy, which cost an estimated $125 million to produce, meant a weak start for Universal's ballyhooed Dark Universe.
The Mummy is intended to launch a new connected franchise that resurrects many famous monster characters — including Frankenstein, Dracula and the Invisible Man — from the studio's vaults.
Universal could still point to strong ticket sales overseas, where The Mummy grossed $141.8 million in 63 territories, including $52.2 million in China. It's the biggest worldwide opening for Cruise, whose star power shines brightest internationally.
Still, it's still full-steam ahead for the Dark Universe. Johnny Depp is already signed up to play the Invisible Man, as is Javier Bardem to play Frankenstein's monster. Live-action Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon is set to helm Bride of Frankenstein.
Duncan Clark, Universal's president of international distribution, played down the connective tissue between The Mummy and future Dark Universe releases.
"The array of titles available for us and the talent we have coming on board for the ones coming up, they all have to operate as an individual title," Clark says. "We're looking forward to Bill Condon's movie. We're looking forward to any number of the ones in the group."
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, says The Mummy opening showed the challenge of launching a franchise with North American audiences, who are more deterred by bad reviews.
"But the Dark Universe has to start somewhere," said Dergarabedian. "It's worth pursuing because the creative possibilities are endless. Lessons are learned from every movie. I don't think this should deter them from moving forward."
Writer/director Trey Edward Shults' thriller It Comes at Night aimed for more discerning horror fans. It earned a modest $6 million, but only cost $5 million to make.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, based on the popular children's books, slid to third with $12.3 million, while the fifth installment of Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean finished fourth with $10.7 million.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, summer's top-grossing movie to date, fell to fifth with $6.2 million ($366.4 million total).