After several months of weak numbers for horror movies at the box office, Universal/Blumhouse’s “The Invisible Man” has broken the slump with a $29 million opening weekend at the box office, the largest for the genre since “It: Chapter Two” six months ago.
Released on 3,610 screens, “The Invisible Man” had been projected by trackers for a $23-25 million start, but estimates have inched up as the weekend has gone on thanks to strong word of mouth for this terrifying #MeToo spin on the H.G. Wells novel. The film has a 91% Rotten Tomatoes critics score, while audiences gave it B+ on CinemaScore and 4/5 on Postrak. Age demographics have been fairly even with 18-24 accounting for 29% and 25-34 accounting for 32%.
“The Invisible Man” is the first film made as part of a new approach by Universal to revive its classic horror characters, staying flexible on budget and director vision rather than fitting the characters into the cinematic universe framework that the ill-fated Dark Universe series attempted. In fact, “The Invisible Man” is close to matching the domestic opening of the only film in that series, “The Mummy,” which debuted at $31.6 million in 2017.
While “The Mummy” was made on a $125 million budget, Blumhouse produced “Invisible Man” on a net budget of just $7 million. With a $49.2 million global start including $20.2 million from overseas, “Invisible Man” is set to provide a much larger return on investment for Universal. It’s also a big win for Blumhouse, as director Leigh Whannell has signed a first-look deal with the studio on Saturday on the heels of this big launch.
Behind “Invisible Man” are Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” and 20th Century/Disney’s “The Call of the Wild,” both of which are trying to bring in one more round of family audiences before Pixar’s “Onward” takes the majority of that demographic next weekend.
“Sonic” is in second with an estimated $16.5 million in its third weekend, giving it a total of $128.7 million. While the film is still Paramount’s biggest hit in over a year, global totals are set to take a big hit because its release in China was indefinitely postponed in response to the coronavirus epidemic. The film’s global cume stood at $265 million after two weeks in theaters.
“The Call of the Wild” is in third with $13.3 million in its second weekend and a 10-day total of $46 million domestically and $79.3 million worldwide. Inherited from the Fox acquisition with a budget of $125 million, the Harrison Ford-starring adaptation of the Jack London classic novel is expected to be a bust for Disney that it will quickly erase with “Onward” next weekend.
In fourth is Funimation’s “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising” with $5.6 million grossed from 1,260 screens. Co-owned by Sony Pictures Television and Aniplex, Funimation released the film on Wednesday and grossed $5.1 million before the weekend, giving it a 5-day opening of $8.5 million. Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” completes the Top 5 with $4.3 million in its seventh weekend, giving it a total of $196 million domestically and over $400 million worldwide.
Outside the Top 5 is “Impractical Jokers: The Movie,” a film version of the TruTV hidden camera series released by Warner Media. After a limited release, the film expanded to 1,820 screens and grossed $3.5 million this weekend for a total of $6.5 million. Finally, Universal’s “1917” crossed the $350 million mark this past week, taking $2.6 million in its tenth weekend for a $155 million domestic total and $362.3 million worldwide.
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