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THE MUMMY RETURNS

About The Production

The Mummy Returns opens almost exactly two years to the date after the 1999 release of The Mummy, and one year after production began on the sequel last spring in Morocco.

Universal Pictures' response to the immediate box-office sizzle of The Mummy left writer-director Stephen Sommers little time to bask in his film's amazing success. "The movie opened on a Friday night and at 6 AM Saturday, Ron Meyer called and said, 'We want another.' I stuttered a bit, didn't sleep for a week, and after that sat down and started writing," Sommers recalled.

Like Rick O'Connell, the hero of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, Sommers was primed for his mission because his new story had already been brewing for months. "By the time we had finished making The Mummy, we had all these ideas for a sequel that would tell the story with a much larger canvas and feature the next generation of special effects. I wanted to bring back a lot of the same characters in an entirely new adventure without relying on old tricks. I really wanted to outdo myself."

The Mummy, which told the story of Sahara Desert treasure-seekers in the 1920's who stumble upon an ancient tomb and unwittingly unleash a legacy of terror, was loosely based on the classic 1932 Universal Pictures production starring Boris Karloff. After generating a record-breaking opening weekend gross of $43.36 million, the 1999 film went on to earn more than $414 million worldwide. The film is ranked 31st on the list of all-time box office champs and was also the top-selling live-action home video title of 1999.

Sommers decided to set The Mummy Returns in 1933, eight years after the events of The Mummy, allowing his characters time to evolve. "Rick and Evelyn are now happily married and a great romantic couple, living comfortably in London but still poking around the basements of ancient temples from time to time," he said. "They have a son, Alex, who carries the best qualities of both parents, and is very much part of their lives. He is not just cute and cuddly — he has nerve."

"Having a family is both a strength and a weakness for O'Connell," said James Jacks, who, along with Sean Daniel, produced both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. "It makes him very vulnerable and his adventures carry a greater personal risk."

By 1933, the O'Connells have established an idyllic home, but dark forces put them in the path of pent-up ancient energies so intense that they rip through the centuries and plunge the couple back into a life of adventure. For Evelyn, the echoes of the past begin with dreams that eventually invade her waking life as she slips between the realities of the present and frightening glimpses of another strangely familiar existence long ago. Even Rick, firmly rooted in the here and now, learns that something as innocent as a tattoo on his arm might mark him as a man with an undeniable destiny.

"A lot of people are fascinated by ancient Egypt, including me," said Sommers. "We go back to those times in The Mummy Returns, not just in the opening sequence, but throughout the story. It interweaves The Scorpion King's primitive beginnings 5000 years ago, Imhotep's history in the pharaoh's court 3000 years ago, and the O'Connells' current life in the 1930's."

To make this story w

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