Disney+ Gets ’90s Blockbuster Masterpiece Everyone Loves

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

In 1999, director Stephen Sommers brought ancient curses, mummies, and high-octane adventure to the big screen with a movie that would go on to become an instant modern classic. The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, and Arnold Vosloo, reimagined the classic 1932 horror film of the same name and revitalized the (at the time) dying genre of action-adventure movies.

The Mummy Is One Of The Most Loved Blockbuster Movies

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The Mummy hit theaters in the early summer of 1999 and has remained at the forefront of pop culture for nearly a quarter of a century. The film’s characters, quotes, and memorable scenes became ingrained in the cultural zeitgeist with Rick O’Connell and Imhotep, becoming iconic figures, and phrases like “The City of the Dead” entering the lexicon of movie enthusiasts.

After leading to numerous sequels, spinoffs, reboots, TV adaptations, video games, and even a theme park ride, The Mummy is more accessible than ever now that it’s available through the Hulu section of Disney+ (which is still in beta and requires subscriptions to both services to access).

The Mummy Production Faced A Long, Tumultuous Road

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The journey to resurrect The Mummy spanned years, with various directors and screenplays in the mix. From George A. Romero’s zombie-style horror to Clive Barker’s dark and mystic vision, the film went through numerous iterations. It wasn’t until 1997 that Stephen Sommers pitched his adventurous and romantic take on the material, ultimately securing the director’s chair.

A-List Celebs That Almost Played Rick O-Connell

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Initially, Hollywood A-listers like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck, were considered for the lead role of Rick O’Connell, but after a long casting process, Brendan Fraser ultimately secured the gig. Rachel Weisz, despite not being a fan of horror, won the role of librarian Evelyn Carnahan, and Arnold Vosloo portrayed the cursed high priest Imhotep, aka the titular mummy.

Filming Didn’t Take Place In Egypt

While producers wanted to shoot The Mummy in Egypt, this proved to be a challenge due to the political instability of the country at the time. Instead, the crew ventured to Morocco for principal photography, a choice that led to its own set of challenges as the team ended up enduring sandstorms and wildlife encounters in the Sahara Desert. The City of the Dead, Hamunaptra, was brought to life in the geologic features of Gara Medouar, blending prefabricated parts and visual effects.

Unparalleled Special Effects

One of the reasons The Mummy found its initial success was through wowing the audience with the film’s incredible special effects. The film utilized cutting-edge technology, particularly in bringing the Mummy to life. The seamless integration of practical effects and CGI showcased advancements in filmmaking technology, influencing subsequent productions in the fantasy and adventure genres. 

The filmmakers partnered with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) for over 140 shots, sparing no expense to create stunning imagery for the movie. The creation of the Mummy went through four distinct stages, blending computer-generated imagery with live-action performance. The result was a photorealistic and terrifying monster that added to the film’s visual spectacle.

The Mummy Franchise

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Upon its release on May 7, 1999, The Mummy triumphed at the box office, grossing over $416.4 million worldwide. However, critical reception was mixed, with infamous critic Roger Ebert acknowledging its flaws but expressing personal enjoyment. Some critics found the attempt to create an Indiana Jones-inspired film forced, while others praised the film’s effects and adventurous spirit.The Mummy didn’t just wrap up with its release. It led to sequels like The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), as well as spin-offs, an animated series, and even a prequel, The Scorpion King (2002).

Stream The Mummy On Disney+ Under The Hulu Section

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As the sands of time continue to shift, The Mummy remains a classic in the adventure genre, blending heart, humor, heroics, and a touch of horror into an unforgettable cinematic experience.