There is a scene in Kevin Smith’s Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back where Ben Affleck admonishes pal Matt Damon “You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture.” And while the two of them were spoofing their own Hollywood careers, it does seem that the movie business often does work on a quid pro quo basis.
Take, for example, Angelina Jolie’s recent film By The Sea. The film itself is not expected to do great business based on a tepid reception from critics and poor ticket sales through its two weeks of release so far. But even with Universal looking at a possible $40 million write off on the picture, they still want to be in business with Jolie. According to the Hollywood Reporter, in a story about how studios will often finance risky personal projects in return for them appearing in the studios’ bigger, more commercial films.
[T]he studio is gambling that by backing Jolie Pitt’s artistic whim, she will be amenable to starring in its tentpole Bride of Frankenstein, which is part of the Monster’s universe from producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, or a long-hoped-for sequel to Wanted.
Of course, this reveals another piece of the Universal Monsters connected universe puzzle. Previously, we knew that the studio was planning on mining their classic versions of these characters for a series of films that will start with 2017’s The Mummy and will expand from their with films featuring Darcula, vampire hunter Van Helsing, the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster and more. Currently the studio has both Van Helsing and a Creature from the Black Lagoon film in development and had one unnamed project penciled in for a March 30, 2018 release. If Universal is already eyeing Jolie for Bride of Frankenstein, then the project is probably already past the “Just talking about it” stage and someone is working on a screenplay. It remains to be seen, though, if that is unnamed picture that the studio is looking to release in March 2018.
If Bride Of Frankenstein is further down the road, Universal may want to take advantage of Jolie’s goodwill towards them sooner by casting her in the comic book adaption sequel Wanted 2. The actress starred in the first film in 2008 for director Timur Bekmambetov and the studio has been trying on-and-off to get a followup together ever since. Reportedly producers Marc Platt and John DeLuca have a new screenplay submitted and are just waiting on word from the studio if they are proceeding or not.
Of course, there will be a lot of other things in play that will ultimately determine which, if any, of these projects that Jolie signs on to.