- Universal/Blumhouse Production’s “The Invisible Man” brought in an estimated $29 million to win the domestic box office this weekend.
- The movie is another overachiever for Blumhouse. The horror company only made it for $7 million.
- The project was originally supposed to be a Johnny Depp-starrer to fall under Universal’s Dark Universe franchise, a collection of titles that would have featured classic horror IP.
- But after the box office failure of Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy” in 2017, the Depp project was scrapped (along with the Dark Universe).
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The buildup and release for “The Invisible Man” was text book Blumhouse Productions.
Landing on a February release date, which meant low competition as most in Hollywood historically use the month to open its duds. Teaming with its longtime studio, Universal, to release an effective trailer (it has close to 7 million views since it launched in November). And then paying off with an edge-of-your-seat thriller that earned loads more at the box office than what Blumhouse put into making it. A lot more.
Over the weekend “The Invisible Man,” which was made for $7 million, brought in an estimated $29 million to top the domestic box office.
It’s just another success story from Jason Blum’s production company and a glimpse at what could have been if Universal went in another direction with its monster franchise, Dark Universe.
At one time, “The Invisible Man” was to be the latest big-budget retelling of the classic H. G. Wells novel with Johnny Depp in the lead role. But the brakes were slammed on that after the release of Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy” (with Russell Crowe also starring as Dr. Jekyll) was a bust at the box office in 2017 (made for $125 million, it only made $80 million domestically). Not only was the Depp project scrapped but future projects, like Javier Bardem as the Frankenstein monster.
Instead, Blumhouse took over “The Invisible Man” and turned it into a grounded tale that touches on the #MeToo era, as Elizabeth Moss plays a woman being terrorized by her abusive husband (who is now invisible) that everyone believes died due to suicide.
The success of Blumhouse’s version (it has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) perhaps shows a new pathway for the Universal monsters (that also include Dracula, The Wolfman, and Creature from the Black Lagoon), which have been earning box office coin for the studio since the 1930s. That theory built momentum over the weekend when “Invisible Man” director Leigh Whannell (“Upgrade” and cocreator of “Saw”) signed a first-look deal with Blumhouse.
This could all just be wishful thinking, but what’s certain is that Blumhouse has once more shown that its formula works perfectly for today’s moviegoing audience. And in a few weeks that model will once more examined when perhaps its most controversial movie in its history opens in theaters: “The Hunt” opens on March 13.
- Sony’s “Bad Boys For Life” has passed $400 million at the worldwide box office. An incredible feat for a franchise thought to be D.O.A. (the movie was only made for $90 million).
- Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” continues to impress as it dipped only 39% this weekend with a $16 million take. It has made over $120 million domestically.
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