The Mummy Returns
The Mummy Returns poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStephen Sommers
Written byStephen Sommers
Based on
Produced bySean Daniel
James Jacks
CinematographyAdrian Biddle
Edited byBob Ducsay
Kelly Matsumoto
Music byAlan Silvestri
Universal Pictures
Alphaville Films
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 4, 2001 (2001-05-04)
Running time
129 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$98 million[1]
Box office$435 million[1]

The Mummy Returns is a 2001 American adventure horror film,[2] written and directed by Stephen Sommers, starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velásquez, Freddie Boath, Alun Armstrong, and Dwayne Johnson in his acting debut. The film is a sequel to the 1999 film The Mummy and was distributed by Universal Pictures.

The Mummy Returns inspired the 2002 prequel film The Scorpion King, a spin-off that is set 5,000 years prior and whose eponymous character, played by Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), was introduced in this film. The Mummy Returns was a commercial success despite mixed reviews.


In 3067 BC, the Scorpion King leads an army to conquer the world. However, they are defeated and exiled to the desert of Ahm Shere. The king vows to give Anubis his soul in return for the power to defeat his enemies, so an oasis and pyramid magically form, and he is given an army of warriors. The Army of Anubis sweeps across Egypt, but once their task is finished, Anubis claims the Scorpion King's soul and the army returns to the Underworld.

In 1933, Rick O'Connell and his wife Evelyn explore ancient ruins with their son, Alex, finding the Bracelet of Anubis. In London, the bracelet locks onto Alex, showing him a vision directing him to Ahm Shere. Evelyn is captured by an Egyptian cult who resurrect Imhotep with the Book of the Dead; they wish to use his power to defeat the Scorpion King, giving him command of Anubis' army to conquer the world. The cult, led by Baltus Hafez, includes enforcer Lock-Nah and Meela Nais, the physical reincarnation of Imhotep's love Anck-su-namun.

The O'Connells set out to rescue Evelyn, with her brother Jonathan and the Medjai Ardeth Bay. Jonathan gets his hands on a mysterious golden scepter.

Rick frees Evelyn and flees, but Alex is then kidnapped by Lock-Nah and forced to go to Egypt with the cult. The O'Connells pursue them, with Rick's associate Izzy. The bracelet gives Alex directions to Ahm Shere that the cult follows; Imhotep forces his cooperation by warning him that, if he doesn't enter the pyramid's within a week, the bracelet will kill him. At each location, Alex leaves clues for his parents, who follow in Izzy's dirigible. Imhotep uses the Book of the Dead to give Meela Anck-su-namun's soul, but by doing so, he allows Evelyn to unlock the memories of her previous life as Princess Nefertiri, the bracelet's keeper and Pharaoh Seti I's daughter.

At the edge of the Oasis, Imhotep realises they're being pursued so uses his magic to crash the dirigible; Izzy stays behind to repair it. By nightfall, the cult saw the dead people of history have come to the Oasis as they have failed to invade Ahm Shere: like Roman legionnaires, and turn-of-the-century French Napoleon's troops, the O'Connells infiltrate the cult, but both groups are attacked by pygmy mummies. Rick retrieves Alex while Ardeth kills Lock-Nah. They escape the pygmies, who kill all the cult members except for Hafez, Imhotep, and Anck-su-namun. The O'Connells arrive at the pyramid just in time as the sun rises, and the bracelet detaches from Alex. Anck-su-namun, Imhotep, and Hafez then arrive and kill Evelyn before entering the pyramid.

Inside the pyramid, Hafez puts on the bracelet, reviving the army, but in doing so loses the flesh from his forearm. Anubis takes Imhotep's powers, so he fights as a mortal. Rick finds Imhotep summoning the Scorpion King inside the pyramid and fights him. The Scorpion King, now an enormous half-human/half-scorpion monster, interrupts them, attacking Rick. At the same time, Ardeth and the Medjai battle Anubis's resurrected army outside.

While Rick and the Scorpion King fight, Hafez is caught in the melee and killed by the king. Jonathan and Alex steal the Book of the Dead from Anck-su-namun and use it to resurrect Evelyn, who confronts Anck-su-namun. When Rick discovers Jonathan's scepter is a mystical spear, he uses it to stab the Scorpion King, sending him and the army back into the Underworld.

As the oasis begins to destroy itself and the pyramid crumbles, Rick and Imhotep cling to the ledge of a pit that leads to the underworld. Rick implores Evelyn to escape before it is too late, but she risks her life to pull Rick to safety. Seeing this, Imhotep pleads for Anck-su-namun to do the same but she abandons him. Heartbroken, Imhotep lets go and falls into the underworld.

Meanwhile, the collapse of the pyramid causes Anck-su-namun to fall into a pit of scorpions, killing her. Izzy arrives with a modified dirigible and rescues the O'Connells just before the oasis and the pyramid are totally destroyed, though not before Jonathan swipes the pyramid's crystal jewel. They depart into the sunset, with Ardeth Bay saluting them before riding off.


Main article: List of The Mummy (film series) characters


The Mummy Returns: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMay 1, 2001
LabelDecca Records
The Mummy chronology
The Mummy
The Mummy Returns: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Professional ratings
Review scores

The Mummy Returns: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on May 1, 2001 by Decca Records.

It contains the score composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri as well as a version of the song "Forever May Not Be Long Enough" by the rock band Live, which slightly differs from the song's album version. A 2-CD expansion was released by Intrada Records in 2018.[3]


Box office

The Mummy Returns earned $23.4 million on its first day of release, then made $26.8 million the day after. This made it the highest Friday and Saturday grosses, surpassing both Toy Story 2 and The Lost World: Jurassic Park respectively.[4] Later that year, those records were simultaneously given to Planet of the Apes and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.[5][6] During its opening weekend, the film made $68.1 million, making it the then second highest opening weekend of all time, only behind The Lost World: Jurassic Park.[7] Moreover, it surpassed Hannibal to have the highest opening weekend for a 2001 film, joining Monsters, Inc., Rush Hour 2 and Planet of the Apes to become one of the only four films of that year to make $60 million in their first three days of release.[8] The Mummy Returns would remain in the number one spot at the box office for two weeks until Shrek took it.[9]

The film grossed $202 million in the United States and Canada box offices and $233 million internationally, grossing over $435 million worldwide, making it the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2001.[1]

Critical response

The Mummy Returns received mixed reviews from critics. It currently holds a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 141 reviews, with an average rating of 5.30/10. The site's consensus states: "In The Mummy Returns, the special effects are impressive, but the characters seem secondary to the computer generated imagery."[10] Metacritic reported, based on 31 reviews, an average rating of 48 out of 100.[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Roger Ebert, who awarded the first film three stars, gave the second film only two, saying that "The mistake of The Mummy Returns is to abandon the characters, and to use the plot only as a clothesline for special effects and action sequences."[13] James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film two and a half stars (out of four), calling it "hollow, lightweight entertainment—not unpleasant, but far from the summer's definitive action/adventure flick.[14]

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, praising its "constant plot turns, cheeky sensibility and omnipresent action sequences."[15] Todd McCarthy of Variety praised "the nonstop action of the final hour", saying that it "bursts with visual goodies."[16]

Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal gave the film a negative review, saying that it "has all of the clank but none of the swank of the previous version."[11] Charles Taylor of was also not impressed, calling The Mummy Returns "everything the first Mummy was fun for not being."[17]


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Award Subject Nominee Result
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Nominated
Best Makeup Aileen Seaton, Nick Dudman and Jane Walker Nominated
Best Special Effects John Andrew Berton, Jr., Daniel Jeannette, Neil Corbould and Thomas Rosseter Nominated
Best Young Actor Freddie Boath Nominated
Young Artist Awards Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Brendan Fraser Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Action Movie Actor Nominated
Choice Movie Villain The Rock Won
Choice Action Movie Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Title Sequence Nominated
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing - Effects & Foley Leslie Shatz, Malcolm Fife, Ann Scibelli, Jon Olive and Jonathan Klein Nominated
Empire Awards Best British Actress Rachel Weisz Nominated
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Supporting Actor The Rock Won

Home media

The Mummy Returns debuted on VHS and DVD on October 2, 2001.[18][19] It would become the fastest-selling DVD ever in the United States with 2 million copies being sold after its first week. This record would be taken by Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace just two weeks later.[20] The film was subsequently released on the high-definition Blu-ray format in July 2008,[21] and on UHD Blu-ray in 2017.[22]


Main article: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor


  1. ^ a b c "The Mummy Returns (2001)". The Numbers. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Mummy Returns".
  4. ^ Susman, Gary (May 9, 2001). "Mummy Returns rakes in $70.1 million". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  5. ^ "'Planet of the Apes' easily wins US box office". United Press International. July 29, 2001. Archived from the original on February 22, 2022. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  6. ^ Linder, Brian (November 20, 2001). "Weekend Box Office: Potter Smashes Records". IGN. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  7. ^ "The Mummy Returns is a monster; opens on $70.1m".
  8. ^ "'Monsters' scares up win at box office". United Press International. November 4, 2001. Archived from the original on February 11, 2022. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  9. ^ "Shrek shakes up US box office". BBC. May 21, 2001. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  10. ^ "The Mummy Returns". Rotten Tomatoes.
  11. ^ a b "The Mummy Returns". Metacritic.
  12. ^ "CinemaScore".
  13. ^ Roger Ebert. "Review". Chicago Sun-Times.
  14. ^ James Berardinelli. "Review". ReelViews.
  15. ^ Kenneth Turan. "Review". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ Todd McCarthy (May 3, 2001). "Review". Variety.
  17. ^ Charles Taylor (May 4, 2001). "Review".
  18. ^ "Universal Studios Home Video Launches the VHS/DVD Release Of 'The Mummy Returns' Amidst Ancient Sand Dunes at Santa Monica Beach". PR Newswire. Cision. October 3, 2001. Archived from the original on November 2, 2001. Retrieved June 14, 2019 – via
  19. ^ Rivero, Enrique (June 18, 2001). "Universal's Mighty 'Mummy Returns' Unwraps at Retail Oct. 2". Archived from the original on July 1, 2001. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  20. ^ "'Menace' sales set DVD record". October 29, 2001.
  21. ^ "The Mummy Returns Blu-ray Release Date July 22, 2008" – via
  22. ^ "The Mummy Returns". September 12, 2017 – via Amazon.