Universal took one heck of a misstep a few years back when they released The Mummy into theaters. Even I, someone who wanted the Dark Universe to do really well, had to admit the Tom Cruise-led picture was a huge mess. The box office very quickly reflected this perspective, bringing down the bricks of the Dark Universe before the house was even fully built, the ambition of a shared universe cast to pieces. A couple of years later, Universal revealed it would be returning to their monsters with The Invisible Man, but not in a shared universe capacity.
Instead, they’d be pioneering this crazy idea called *looks at notes* standalone movies from directors with very specific visions? Yes, I know. In a world where all of our franchise characters need to be connected in some way, it’s almost odd to create a film without the promise of a sequel. But that’s what Blumhouse is doing. In fact, speaking with The Observer, producer Jason Blum clarified how simple their approach was to this movie — it didn’t even involve the talk of the Universal Monsters at all.
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“There were no global conversations about Blumhouse reviving the MonsterVerse at all. I’m not involved in the Monsters and those movies—old ones or new ones— it was much, much simpler than that. We’ve done seven movies with [writer/director] Leigh Whannell, and we’ve known him for 10 years. He is one of our most important filmmakers and one of the most talented filmmakers I’ve ever worked with. He came to me and said “Hey, I have a cool low-budget idea for The Invisible Man,” and I heard his idea and it sounded amazing. Then I called my partners at Universal, I said “Hey guys, I don’t know what’s going on with Monsters, but I have a great idea for The Invisible Man under the Blumhouse style. Would you guys be game?” and they said yes.”
In short, it happened in almost a reverse fashion as most franchise movies. The director conceived of the idea himself.
But will it pay off?
Variety is reporting that the Blumhouse production is set to make more than $20 million in its opening weekend. This comes on the heels of the movie opening on Rotten Tomatoes with 91%. It only has 74 reviews so far, but this points to it having great word-of-mouth and a long tail at the box office.
What will also probably help with this whole thing is that, true to Blumhouse’s approach, the movie was made for $9 million. In Hollywood, that’s mere pocket change, so everything made after this opening weekend will essentially be icing on an already-profitable cake.
It’s very clear that this Blumhouse approach has worked.
“We have a unique approach to movie-making,” Blumhouse said. “We were very disciplined about keeping our budgets low so that when we do miss it doesn’t hurt too bad. We can move on, go on to the next day, and we don’t have to fire 10 people. And we’ve had a bunch of executives work at the company for a long time. We work with the same directors in many cases, over and over and over again and we have this system where we relinquish creative control in exchange for reducing the budget and reducing everyone’s fees. And that has proved to be a successful formula creatively to do a good kind of quality movies that feel different, and also commercial.”
Clearly, their slate of movies speaks for itself. I personally can’t wait to see what The Invisible Man brings to the big screen. Will you be checking it out this weekend? Let us know down below!
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