The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, or The Mummy 3 to some, is the third instalment in the mega franchise starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz.
Wait, what? Rachel Weisz wasn’t in this one? Why?
Well, that might crop up in one of the 11 things you didn’t know about this movie.
See, although it was absolutely hated by critics – and trust us, critics really did hate this movie – and although it was so bad it ended the franchise, we still love it. And so did you! The Mummy 3 (let’s call it that for short) made over $400m at the box office.
For reference, the first movie took $415m and the second $433m. Not bad at all!
So what we wanted to do, for all you loyal fans, is to breakdown some fun facts that you probably didn’t know about this movie.
So, watch the trailer, then buy the Blu-ray, then read our 11 facts about The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
So, no Rachel Weisz?
Although Mrs Bond’s character, Evy, does appear in the movie, fans were surprised to see her played by Maria Bello. Rumours circulated as to why this was. A popular theory at the time was that Weisz – then 37 – didn’t want to be portrayed as having a 21-year-old son.
Fair enough really.
Similarly, some said that she didn’t want to be separated from her young (not 21!) son in real life. However, a quick look at 2008 shows that she actually released another two movies that year.
The truth appears a little bit more mundane. She just simply didn’t like the script.
The script writers took Weisz’s snub directly on the chin, and even joked about it in the final script!
While discussing a book that she wrote, Evy (now played by Maria Bello) is asked if the book was based on her. Evy replies “Honestly, I can say she’s a completely different person.”
The Coyote Ugly star delivered the line with a knowing look, and instantly won over any doubters.
Something Doesn’t Add Up
Although we’ve established that Weisz didn’t turn down the role due to the age of her son in the movie, something doesn’t quite add up in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
At the time of filming, Brendan Fraser was 39, and Maria Bello was 40. Luke Ford, who plays their son was actually 27 (although he did play a 21-year-old).
You do the math!
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Games and Comics
To whip up excitement for the upcoming release, IDW Publishing released a comic book series called The Mummy Movie Prequel: The Rise & Fall of Xango’s Ax.
As well as featuring the excitement and peril you’d expect, the series focused heavily on the relationship between Rick and Alex, foreshadowing the role that Alex would have in the movie.
In July 2008, just two days before the world premiere in Moscow, a tie-in game was released for Wii, PS2 and Nintendo DS. OK, the game was absolutely panned, but then so was the movie!
The Mummy 3…The Mummy 4?
Although it’s since gained a reputation as a franchise ender, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor did so well at the box office, that a fourth movie was planned.
Not only was it planned, but the producers had gone so far as to sign up Brendan Fraser and the rest of the cast, as well as signing on Antonio Banderas as the new big bad.
They even had a name for the new movie. And we for one, wouldn’t mind seeing The Mummy: Rise of the Aztecs.
The Mummy 3, or The Mummy 13?
OK, so The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is technically the third in the series that ran from 1999 to 2008. But did you know that it was actually the thirteenth movie in the wider Mummy series?
Starting in 1932 with the legendary Boris Karloff, there have been several mummy movies. From straight up horror in the likes of “The Mummy’s Tomb” and “The Mummy’s Ghost”, to more comedic fayre, such as the 1955 classic “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy”.
Following this, the baton was picked up by the British movie studio, Hammer Film Productions (famous for their Hammer Horrors), who produced four more movies between 1959 and 1971.
Rob Cohen – Dragon Hunter
Director Rob Cohen, who took over from Stephen Sommers for The Mummy 3, seems to be as much of a fan of dragons as you or I.
How do we know this? Well, this is the third movie he has directed to include the word “dragon” in the title.
In 1993 he was at the helm for the impressive “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story“, before swiftly following up with the legendary “Dragonheart” in 1996.
We hope you’re reading, Rob!
Don’t Cross the Terracotta Army
One of the most iconic scenes in the movie is when we come across the booby-trapped tomb.
In a terrifying twist, crossbows are fired when the trap is triggered, surely killing anyone (except our heroes) who stumble across them.
Well what you might not know is that this is actually based on reality.
Chinese archaeologists are currently attempting to excavate the tombs of the real life Terracotta Army, but are having to progress very slowly (and very carefully!) due to copious amounts of booby traps.
The crossbows aren’t the only ancient tools based on real life found in The Mummy 3. Remember the trap where a bronze marble is dropped from a dragon’s mouth into the mouth of a frog? Well this was based on ancient technology to predict earthquakes.
The instrument was so sensitive that not only could it predict the upcoming earthquake, it could also point out the direction it was coming from. As such, it is considered the earliest example of a seismograph.
The Rotting Jet Li
Jet Li, who plays the eponymous Dragon Emperor in The Mummy 3, wasn’t available for the whole shoot.
Faced with this rather substantial problem, the producers hit upon an innovative solution: the Emperor himself should be a rotting mummy. Or encased in terracotta.
This meant that when Li was available, they’d shoot the scenes where he had to be there. The rest of the time they could just CGI. Clever, eh?
Nearly Three Million People Can’t Be Wrong
Following up its box office success, The Mummy 3 has since sold nearly three million copies on DVD and Blu-ray. Have you got yours?