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Will ‘The Invisible Man’ Become a Box Office Hit No One Sees Coming?

Critics praise horror film for its smart, scary story

While this weekend’s theatrical wide release slate is small as studios take a breather ahead of a very busy March, Universal will try to reel in horror buffs with Leigh Whannell’s new take on “The Invisible Man.”

And with a lack of major early horror releases and strong reviews, this Blumhouse production might deliver an opening weekend that no one will see coming.

Right now, trackers project a $24-27 million opening for “The Invisible Man,” with Universal projecting a $20 million start against a $7 million production budget. Anything north of $20 million would be the highest opening weekend for a horror film since the $91 million opening of “It: Chapter Two” six months ago.

But some analysts who spoke with TheWrap say that strong early reviews could help push the film’s start north of $30 million. After the film’s premiere on Monday, “The Invisible Man” currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 91% with 32 reviews logged and more reviews to come tomorrow after press screenings. Reviews have praised Elisabeth Moss’ lead performance and the film’s ability to deliver plenty of scares combined with a smart narrative about how women can be manipulated and abused in harmful relationships.

That mix of thought-provoking themes, thrilling narrative, and a low budget has been a very lucrative one for Universal, as proven by the success of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and “Us.” If it works again with “The Invisible Man,” the studio may have the key to modernizing its classic horror monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein, something they attempted with the Dark Universe project three years ago that was shuttered after “The Mummy” was poorly received. For more on how ‘The Invisible Man” is a sign of how Universal is learning from their successes and failures, check out this week’s Box Office Report on WrapPro.

“The Invisible Man” stars Moss as a woman who inherits an enormous fortune after running away from her abusive scientist husband, who reportedly committed suicide. But she soon discovers that not only is her husband not dead, but he has found a way to become invisible. Now she must find a way to fight off an unseen enemy even as he tries to destroy her life piece by piece. Leigh Whannell wrote and directed the film, which also stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid.

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