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Universal Monsters

While the two biggest movies of James Wan’s career have been Furious 7 and Aquaman, both of which grossed over $1 billion, the director is still arguably more well-known for his work in the horror genre, particularly the Conjuring franchise. Well, Wan is now getting the chance to work within Universal Pictures’ label of terrifying monsters.

Word’s come in that James Wan has been tapped to produce a yet-to-be-titled movie through his Atomic Monster Productions company that will be inspired by the Universal Monsters legacy and shine it “through a modern prism.” Described as having “shades of Disturbia,” this project will follow a group of teenagers who discover that a neighbor is building a monster in his basement, and as one would expect, the monster eventually breaks free.

THR also mentions that Supernatural writer and producer Robbie Thompson will pen this Universal Monsters movie. There are no plans for James Wan to direct, so it’s unclear if Universal already has chosen someone else to direct the horror-thriller or if a search is still underway.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time we’ve hears about James Wan working within the Universal Monsters realm. Back in November, it was reported that he was developing a new take on Frankenstein. That information was removed, but four months later, this new report comes in, and those plot details point towards a very Frankenstein-sounding story.

This is just the latest project that Atomic Monster Productions has coming down the pipeline, with Malignant and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It arriving later this year, Mortal Kombat coming out next year, Aquaman 2 following in 2022 and There’s Someone Inside Your House set to drop at some point on Netflix. In addition to his work on Supernatural, Robbie Thompson is also currently writing for the Netflix series Cursed, which is a modern day re-imagining of the King Arthur mythos.

The last five years have been quite hectic for Universal Pictures in its attempts to reinvigorate its Monsters label. Originally the plan was to push forward with an interconnected monster movie universe akin to what’s been done with the MCU. The Dark Universe launched in 2017 with The Mummy, and in addition to Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem being cast as the Invisible Man and Frankenstein’s monster, respectively, other characters that would have been introduced included the Bride of Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and more.

However, following The Mummy’s underwhelming critical and commercial performance, Universal Pictures scrapped its Dark Universe plans and declared that future movies starring these monsters would be standalone stories. Cut to last week, Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man opened in theaters, and in addition to earning a lot of positive reviews, it’s so far made over $57 million worldwide off a $7 million budget.

In addition to the James Wan-produced project, other Universal Monsters-related movies on the way include Paul Feig’s Dark Army, Dexter Fletcher’s Renfield, Elizabeth Banks’ The Invisible Woman (which, for now, doesn’t sound like it’ll have any connections to The Invisible Man), Matt Stawski’s Monster Mash musical and a redeveloped version of The Bride of Frankenstein.

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates this Universal Monsters movie and everything else James Wan is working on. Be sure to look through our 2020 release schedule to plan your trips to the theater this year accordingly.

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