Mummy 4 Happening Without Brendan Fraser?

Here’s a shocking bit of news: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor actually made a profit. Big profit actually. Though the movie seemed pretty far off most people’s radar when it coughed out into theaters this summer, it managed to make $100 million domestically and overseas it did massive business, raking in $289 million in foreign box office. Mummy 3 made $391 million total, and it only cost $145 million to make. That’s a lot of cash in Universal’s pocket so of course, they’re thinking sequel.

Before the film debuted in theaters, the cast talked extensively about the possibility of a fourth movie. Now, one of our best sources deep inside Universal contacted me this morning to confirm that she’s recently heard word that the studio is indeed starting to think Mummy 4. But if they do get it going, forget everything the Mummy 3 cast and crew had to say about sequel possibilities. The direction of the franchise is going change drastically. Almost no one involved with the third movie wants anything to do with The Mummy’s future. Jet Li hates the film with a passion (something which has seemed obvious every time he’s been forced to talk about it) and even Brendan Fraser only did the third movie for money. He’s all paid up now, and wants nothing further to do with any of it. Instead Fraser is more interested in doing a sequel to the superior Journey to the Center of the Earth, and should DVD sales deliver he may get his wish.

No word on whether Mummy 3 director Rob Cohen might still be interested in doing a fourth movie, but it’s irrelevant since the studio doesn’t want him. Instead, Universal may be looking for someone with a little bit better profile. Of course you have to wonder how they’ll get someone like that, since no one with any self respect seems to want anything to do with the future of The Mummy franchise.

Our insider also tells us they’re working on another round of Mummy direct-to-DVD movies. That may include another awful direct-to-DVD Scorpion King movie as well as a direct-to-DVD Tomb of the Dragon Emperor prequel. It’s unclear at this point how or if those direct-to-DVD flicks will impact their plans for a fourth movie.

Josh Tyler