Box Office Breakdown: “The Invisible Man” Puts Universal Back on Track

To say “The Invisible Man” was an important release for Universal would be a huge understatement. After a highly successful 2019 the studio has produced miss after miss since releasing its critically reviled adaptation of “Cats” in December. In addition, the new horror sci-fi thriller is the third attempt by the studio to begin a series of films rebooting their famed Universal Monsters lineup after 2014’s “Dracula Untold” and 2017’s “The Mummy”. So, needless to say a lot was riding on the success of this horror feature especially in a year where the genre thus far has produced nothing but duds. As the only newcomer of the weekend seeking to dethrone several strong holdovers, does Universal, and horror, finally have a hit for the new decade? Let’s see for ourselves in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.


“The Invisible Man” wasn’t so invisible at the box office overpowering all competitors to a number one finish, and an impressive one at that. Receiving good to excellent critical and viewer scores, “The Invisible Man” soared to a $29 million debut more than quadrupling its scant $7 million production budget in its domestic release alone. It’s not uncommon for horror movies to make big bucks off of small budgets, but “The Invisible Man” is poised to have a very healthy bottom line in North America with projections now in the $55 million to $70 million range. Internationally the movie earned over $20 million bringing its global debut to just over $49 million. You can read my review of “The Invisible Man” from over the weekend here.


The winner of the last two weeks “Sonic the Hedgehog” continued to show great success despite a fall to second place earning $16 million in its third weekend pushing its domestic numbers to over $128 million. The film is positioned to overpower “Lara Croft Tomb Raider” as the second highest grossing video game adaptation in North America and has plenty of time to overpower “Detective Pikachu” for the top spot on that list. That film’s domestic numbers topped off at $144 million. Following “Sonic” in third was “Call of the Wild” which continues to be a somewhat-surprise success although not where its budget is concerned as the film now projects to lose $50 million at the box office. In fourth is a sort-of surprise winner for the weekend. The limited release anime movie “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising” earned over $5 million to finish inside the top five while “Bad Boys for Life”, which inches closer to the $200 million domestic mark but is now only $8 million away from matching the combined global lifetime gross of both of its predecessors, finished fifth.


The back half of the top ten did see a new addition, but not in the form of a new film. “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” expanded to more theaters in its second weekend and jumped several spots to seventh after finishing eleventh in its debut. The rest of the top ten saw several features start to fall away as new potential blockbusters prepare to take over. “Birds of Prey” continued to show lackluster holdover numbers falling out of the top five to sixth. In eighth “1917” continued to be impress bringing its domestic numbers to over $155.8 million. A pair of horror films, “Brahms: The Boy II” and “Fantasy Island”, rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth.


The first mainstream animated movie of 2020 and the decade arrives in full force this weekend as Pixar’s “Onward” looks to dominate and most assuredly score a number one debut. The studio offered preview screenings over the weekend and I was lucky enough to catch one such showing. If you’re curious what to expect you can read my review of “Onward” by clicking here. Three other wide releases will compete for spots in the top ten including the Ben Affleck-led sports film “The Way Back”, the latest adaptation of Jane Austin’s “Emma” starring Anya Taylor-Joy and A24’s “First Cow”. We’ll see how they all do this time next week.

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