23 May – Universal Pictures has given a name to its shared cinematic universe, which will now be known as Dark Universe.
Dark Universe will feature the studio's classic monster characters reinvented into modern cinema.
According to a statement from Universal, several actors and characters have already been confirmed to star in the new extended universe franchise.
Russell Crowe ("Fathers & Daughters") will star as Dr Henry Jekyll – and probably also as Mr Edward Hyde, Javier Bardem ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge") as Frankenstein's monster, Tom Cruise (the "Mission: Impossible" franchise) as the soldier of fortune Nick Morton, Johnny Depp ("Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them") as the Invisible Man and Sofia Boutella ("Kingsman: The Secret Service") as the Mummy.
Cruise and Boutella will star in the first film of the Dark Universe, "The Mummy", which is directed by Alex Kurtzman (previously produced "Now You See Me 2"), who also produced the movie together with Chris Morgan (he wrote six of the "Fast And Furious" films, including the successful eighth instalment).
In "The Mummy", Boutella portrays an evil ancient Egyptian princess that was awakened from her tomb by a team of archaeologists and wreaks havoc on the modern day world while Cruise's character will be the brave human who will try to stop her.
Crowe's character, the enigmatic and brilliant Dr Jekyll, is the head of a mysterious multi-national organisation known as Prodigium, which connects all of the films in the Dark Universe.
Prodigium is an organisation unknown to any government that studies and keeps track of all monsters. Prodigium's primary mission is to keep the existence of monsters unknown to the public, going so far as to kill monsters if ever deemed necessary.
Another film which is set to be a part of the Dark Universe is "The Bride of Frankenstein", directed by Bill Condon (previously directed this year's "Beauty and the Beast").
The new franchise comes with a brand new motion logo, created by five-time Academy Award-winning visual effects facility Weta Digital ("The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies, "Avatar").
The logo, which will be accompanied by a theme music composed by Danny Elfman (composer of the score for "Avengers: Age of Ultron"), will play at the start of every Dark Universe film. It is set to debut with "The Mummy" in cinemas.
The Dark Universe was started by Kurtzman and Morgan together with Christopher McQuarrie (previously wrote "Mission: Impossible Rouge Nation") and David Koepp (previously directed "Mortdecai").
Kurtzman and Morgan said: "When Universal approached us with the idea of reimagining these classic characters, we recognised the responsibility of respecting their legacy while bringing them into new and modern adventures.
"The studio and our fellow creative collaborators have championed and challenged us as we've begun to spin the web of Dark Universe. It's our hope these movies will engross long-time fans and spark the imaginations of brand-new ones."
The first film in the Dark Universe is "The Mummy", which will be released this year on 8 June in Malaysia and Singapore and on 9 June in Cambodia.
The next instalment of the cinematic universe, "The Bride of Frankenstein", is set to be released on Valentine's Day 2019 in the U.S.