Time for another epidsode of Corporate Media Synergy Conspiracy Theory Rock (with all due credit to Robert Smigel):
Has anybody else out there wondered why, after seven merciful years, Universal decided to greenlight another installment in the financially fluid but creatively bankrupt Mummy series? Unless you've been living in a cave for the past few weeks, you probably noticed the onslaught of TV advertising for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, particularly on networks like USA, Sci-Fi, and Bravo -- all of which are owned by Universal.
If you really paid attention, you probably also noticed the suspicious release date for this new piece of over-produced Hollywood dreck -- which takes the tired Mummy formula, transports it to "mystical" China and injects Jet Li into the proceedings.
That date: August 1st -- exactly one week before the start of the Olympic games, which just happen to be taking place in -- where else? -- China, and just happen to be airing on NBC, yet another Universal property.
In other words, Universal -- with, one would imagine, at least a little forethought -- bought itself a 125-million dollar advertisement for Chinese culture at a time when it could translate into not simply bucks at the box office but a substantial secondary revenue from the viewers it just might help drive to the games on NBC.
Because right now, those games -- not to mention China itself -- need all the good press they can get.