The entertainment industry has made use of the popularity of Egypt and Egyptian culture for almost a century. The Mummy movie franchise actually dates back to 1932 when The Mummy was released with horror legend Boris Karloff in the starring role.
The Mummy, which starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, was released in 1999 and was a remake of the original classic, but while the focus was on action-adventure as opposed to horror, it included a comedy element.
The longevity of archaeology and Egypt as a theme for movies has led to the tried and tested storyline of characters undertaking exploratory missions to recover ancient Egyptian artifacts being used in other areas of entertainment. This theme has featured in video games, such as Assassin’s Creed Origins, where players travel around ancient Egypt uncovering mysteries and taking part in heroic quests. The popularity of ancient Egypt has also led to a boom in Egyptian-themed slots which new players can try out using a bonus or free spins on Book of Ra among other popular titles. Another example of a successful Egyptian-themed entertainment product is Catan, a popular board game, which also features a Historical Scenario pack release giving players the task of constructing a large pyramid.
In other words, the attraction of ancient Egypt and Egyptian mythology means that there is a stream of new movies and innovative products to keep fans happy.
Archaeology movies represent a love for Egyptian-themed entertainment in general. For example, the archeological aspect was employed with great success in the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, starring Harrison Ford. The Mummy franchise also inspired The Scorpion King movies, which began in 2002 with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in the starring role, and in 2018 the fifth installment of the series was released.
The Mummy franchise has also been willing to introduce different film genres in an attempt to keep fans interested in the topic. In 1955, the franchise introduced a comedy element with funnymen Bud Abbott and Lou Costello starring in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. The late 1950s and early 1970s saw the introduction of new plots involving the horror actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
Then, the Mummy had slumbered for 28 long years until the movie franchise came back to life in the late 1990s featuring important differences that set it aside from previous versions. Advances in special effects gave the 1999 version of The Mummy a new lease of life and Egyptian mythology featured front and center. The character of Imhotep, played by Karloff in the 1932 version of The Mummy, made a reappearance in the movie and this allowed the movie to explore Egyptian themes such as the Plagues of Egypt. While previous movies could be classified as belonging to the horror genre, the reboot focused on providing fans with an action-adventure experience.
Egypt and Egyptian culture remain a popular theme in the entertainment industry due to the timeless nature of the story of exploration missions in order to recover mythical artifacts in ancient Egypt. We are likely to see many more variations of Egyptian mythology-themed entertainment in the future.