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A guide to today’s cinematic universes — GRAPHIC

Updated March 9, 2017 - 3:03 pm

With the interconnected Marvel movies dominating the box office year in and year out, “cinematic universes” have become all the rage in Hollywood. 

But if Warner Bros.’ attempts to just leap right into the middle of one with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” taught us anything — aside from the fact that it’s pretty weird that both Bruce Wayne’s and Clark Kent’s mothers were named Martha — it’s the difficulties of getting a shared universe off the ground. 

Still, that isn’t stopping studios from trying. Here’s a look at some of the cinematic universes that are in various stages of development, including the one involving this weekend’s “Kong: Skull Island.” 


With 14 movies and a worldwide box-office haul of $10.9 billion (assuming you count 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk”), it’s easy to see why every studio wants a cinematic universe (or two) of its own. 


“Kong: Skull Island” reintroduces the giant ape, who’s set to do battle with “Godzilla” in 2020’s cleverly named “Godzilla vs. Kong.” Mothra, Rodan and other drive-in fare shouldn’t be far behind. 


Tom Cruise kicks things off June 9 with “The Mummy,” followed by Johnny Depp in 2018’s “The Invisible Man,” with Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll tying everything together a la Nick Fury. Now if only someone could find a way to reboot Abbott and Costello. 


Few have accused anyone behind the “Transformers” movies of showing signs of intelligence, but producers assembled an impressive writers room, led by Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind”), to develop prequels, sequels and spinoffs, starting with 2018’s “Bumblebee.” 


Speaking of Hasbro toys, the company is looking to construct a shared universe, anchored by G.I. Joe, that would include the Micronauts, Visionaries, M.A.S.K. and ROM. I’m not going to lie, though, I haven’t even heard of those last four. 


At last year’s CinemaCon at Caesars Palace, Warner Bros. announced “S.C.O.O.B.,” an animated movie that would unlock the universe of cartoon characters ranging from The Flintstones to The Jetsons to Hong Kong Phooey — sort of like “Wacky Races” once did on Saturday mornings. 

“MIB 23” 

Also at last year’s CinemaCon, Sony confirmed plans to merge its “Men in Black” and “Jump Street” franchises, which doesn’t make a lick of sense. Then again, at that point, the studio also was planning a “Ghostbusters” universe — then people saw the “Ghostbusters” reboot, and the idea was quickly scrapped. 


Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” due out in May, was conceived as the first entry in a universe that would have included origin tales for Merlin, Lancelot and others. That’s no longer the plan. But if audiences somehow flock to the movie, starring Charlie Hunnam as Arthur, it easily could be ramped up.

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