Although this week’s box office headline may surprise you, be assured that no words such as “disappointment”, “disaster”, or “bomb” have been erased by the horrorvirus that has impacted this year’s box office. Believe your eyes; The Invisible Man is actually a hit! Leigh Whannel’s The Invisible Man easily defeated the competition this week, earning an estimated $29 million at the box office, outstripping generous estimates and predictions.
How did The Invisible Man turn a profit in a slumping horror market? For one thing, The Invisible Man’s critical and fan scores are the best of the season so far. The famed Universal Monster property impressed fans and critics alike, earning a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of 89%. The sample size for the critical average was also the highest of any horror release this year, with 228 reviews counting toward the current Tomatometer (other similar fare such as Fantasy Island only resulted in 78 reviews). With numbers this high, it is clear that critics got the word out on The Invisible Man to a much greater degree than any other horror films this year, and people seem to have listened.
Even the bane of any movie studio’s existence this winter, Cinemascore, offered good news in the form of a B+ grade, substantially higher than any horror release so far (remember that Cinemascore offered two elusive F grades from ticket buyers this year for The Grudge and The Turning). Horror audiences are famously tough on the films they pay money to see on opening weekend, so a B+ average indicates that most fans “got what they were looking for” with The Invisible Man.
International numbers have yet to be announced, but even without substantial funds overseas, The Invisible Man will prove to be a profitable film for Universal/Blumhouse. Whannel’s film was reportedly made for only $7 million, and even with the 3x multiplier for promotion and advertising, it has already turned a profit in one week’s time. The Invisible Man also has the benefit of a lack of competition over the next few weeks, until A Quiet Place Part II makes some noise at the box office on March 20.
All of this positive news even lead to the announcement that Whannel has signed a “first look” deal with Blumhouse. As HNN’s John Evans reports, this deal “…will last for two years, and it covers all of Whannel’s proposals for films he would like to write, direct, or produce.”
Be sure to check back next week to see if The Invisible Man can continue to make tickets disappear at your local theater.