From the finest actor of his generation to the setting sun, the fall from might of Johnny Depp as one of Hollywood’s most valued properties is well documented, but there’s a side that’s not talked about.
While his personal life and relationship with partner Amber Heard suffered a breakdown, marred with controversies of domestic abuse since 2016, Johnny Depp’s professional career had been steady. Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Murder on the Orient Express and City of Lies were decent hits but none could respawn his stardom. Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald came close but it was The Invisible Man that was supposed to help Depp bounce back. However, Universal’s failure to create a blockbuster with a certain Tom Cruise is what hit Johnny Depp hardest.
Highlights! The Tom Cruise factor in Johnny Depp’s fall from might
- How Johnny Depp lost his biggest bet at a comeback
- How Tom Cruise played a part in Johnny Depp losing The Invisible Man
- The future ahead for Johnny Depp – Projects confirmed and rumours
When 2019 came along, The Invisible Man was still a Johnny Depp-starrer high-profile Superhero movie in the making. But the might disaster that was Tom Cruise’s 2017 The Mummy brought Universal eye to eye with the hard truth. Their strategy for building a Dark Universe on the lines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Entertainment Universe was a recipe for disaster. Consequently, Universal turned course and dealt the biggest blow to Johnny Depp’s image as a bankable actor.
The Invisible Man – The Movie and The Actor
Despite not having the star power, or may we say the erstwhile star power of Johnny Depp, The Invisible Man has had a phenomenal opening, raking up USD 30 million on a budget of USD 7 million. And that too in just four days!
The Invisible Man was a David Goyer-Johnny Depp project. Instead, it evolved into a horror movie producer Jason Blum title, directed by Leigh Whannel (Upgrade and Insidious 3 fame). Instead of a high-profile movie dependent on superstar attraction, The Invisible Man turned out to be a gripping, terrifying cinematic masterpiece. The unreliability of Johnny Depp gave way to a performance of a lifetime by Elizabeth Moss.
The Invisible Man was a David Goyer-Johnny Depp project but Universal instead evolved it into a Jason Blum horror movie title directed by Leigh Whannel of Upgrade and Insidious 3 fame.
Like Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, The Invisible Man is brilliantly set up to be a successful franchise in the future. This makes one wonder if keeping Johnny Depp would have seen the same fate. Probably not. But to Johnny claim, it wasn’t his fault, but a contribution from Mission Impossible star and A-lister compatriot Tom Cruise.
How Tom Cruise contributed to Johnny Depp’s downfall?
Universal bet all its cards with the 2017 big-budget The Mummy starring, what the studio perceived, sure-shot hitmaker Tom Cruise. But the movie had an unexpectedly dismal showing. On an expansive budget of USD 200 million, The Mummy collected an underwhelming USD 410 million. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a pathetic rating of 16%.
Universal Studios had big hopes from its Dark Universe concept and The Mummy was supposed to be a blockbuster opening to give it the right impetus. The movie even had Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde played by Russel Crowe come on screen without any rhyme or reason. It was supposed to warm up the viewers to the idea of a cinematic universe where folklores transcend and their characters intersperse in each other’s storylines. But Universal’s Dark Universe started out with dark times.
On an expansive budget of USD 200 million, Tom Cruise starrer The Mummy collected an underwhelming USD 410 million at the box office.
The made the bosses at Universal Studio rethink the jig and decide to scrap the approach and take to the old-school ‘One hit movie at a time’ philosophy with Dark Universe. Likewise, the studio also decided to take a more economic approach to ensure the least impact if the Dark Universe failed. That sounded the alarm for Johnny Depp even before The Invisible Man had started out.
Future isn’t All Dark for Johnny Depp – Projects Ahead
Depp will reprise his role as Gellert Grindelwald for the Fantastic Beasts 3 set for a November 2021 release. He is also set to play American journalist W Eugene Smith in a movie called Minamata and cybersecurity tycoon John McAfee in King of the Jungle, which also stars Zac Efron.
There are also reports of him back as Captain Jack Sparrow in a new Pirates of the Caribbean 6 project. Rumours also suggest that Johnny Depp is in the running for playing the iconic Joker in the upcoming Matt Reeves’ Batman starring Robert Pattinson.
So, there are plenty of potential opportunities in the pipeline for the A-lister to bounce back. But there’s no doubt that Tom Cruise’s failure with The Mummy and the consequent change of mind at Universal studios cost Johnny Depp a hit movie and potential comeback moment with The Invisible Man.