Studio Plots Monster Killing with Spin-Offs from Horror Movie

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Byline: MELANIE MORNINGSTAR

GOTHIC Hollywood blockbuster Van Helsing, opening in British and American cinemas this week, is set to be one of the most sophisticated and potentially lucrative examples of entertainment companies cashing in on spin-offs from a movie.

Its makers at Vivendi's Universal Studios planned from the start to create a franchise that would capitalise not only on the movie's characters but also on the company's huge back catalogue of horror flicks.

Director Stephen Sommers has brought back to life Universal's horror monsters Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man, while the dashing character who gives his name to the new film is the action hero out to slay them all.

That plot line means the company can re-release the classics for broadcast and the home movie market.

NBC, which is in the final stages of buying Universal, taking on $1.7 billion ([pounds sterling]944 million) of debt on top of paying $3.8 billion in cash, will benefit greatly.

Universal is also producing a spin-off television series, Transylvania, set for release in the autumn.

The money will also come rolling in from DVDs and video games that draw on and advance the plot of the film. …