‘Invisible Man’ Scares Up Solid Opening

The beleaguered horror genre got a bit of a reprieve this weekend as Universal/Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man made its presence known with in theaters across North America. The acclaimed low-budget thriller starring Elizabeth Moss had no trouble pushing aside Sonic the Hedgehog to become the nation’s new box office champ.

Following the $200 million+ gross of last fall’s IT: Chapter Two, it’s been one box office misfire after another for a genre known for low budgets and high profitability. It didn’t matter whether the film was good –Warner’s underrated Doctor Sleep– or outright crap –Black Christmas, The Grudge, The Turning, Brahms: The Boy II and yes, Fantasy Island-, people simply weren’t paying to be scared when the real world was doing the job for free on a daily basis.

For now, however, it appears that the box office drought for fright flicks has come to an end. Budgeted at a tiny $7 million, The Invisible Man materialized in 3,610 theaters this weekend to earn an estimated $29 million in its first three days. Combined with an additional $20 million brought in from international markets, this modern-day spin on the classic H.G. Wells is already on its way to profitability.

Unlike many of the thrillers that have clogged multiplexes over the past few months, The Invisible Man clicked with both critics and the public. Invisible Man scored a great 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 71/100 on Metacritic and an encouraging “B+” from ticket buyers on CinemaScore. That strong feedback appears to already be working its box office magic. In its second day of release –one in which most horror films tend to see business decrease-, The Invisible Man saw its business increase by 12%. If you discount the Thursday night preview grosses from Opening Day on Friday, the Saturday increase is actually closer to 35%. With no direct competition until A Quiet Place II arrives on March 20th, The Invisible Man should have a solid box office run ahead of it.

While Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog may no longer be the box office champ, it’s still the film of choice for family audiences until Disney/Pixar’s Onward hits next weekend. Sonic slowed down a mere 39% in its third weekend on 4,177 screens, scoring an estimated $16 million. The new domestic total for Sonic the Hedgehog is a speedy $128million with an additional $137 million from overseas markets.

20thCentury Studios’ Call of the Wild had a decent hold in its second weekend on 3,865 screens. The Harrison Ford feature eased 47% to bring in an estimated $13.2 million. Ten days into its run, Call of the Wild has brought in an estimated $45.8 million. A final haul between $70-75 million is possible. Not a bad haul, but not enough to take care of the $135 million production tag.

Funimation’s My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising scored a surprising fourth place finish this weekend. A film based on a Japanese superhero manga and anime series opened on Wednesday in 1,260 theaters and wound up earning an estimated $8.4 million after five days. For the Friday-to-Sunday period, Hero earned $5 million.

Rounding out the top five while working its way toward the $200 million mark was Sony’s Bad Boys For Life with an estimated $4.3 million from 2,708 theaters. Down only 26%, Bad Boys 3 has brought in $197.3 million after nearly two months in the top five. The film has earned $208 million from foreign markets.

  1.  Birds of Prey (Warner) $4.1 million (-40%); $78.7 million
  2.  Impractical Jokers (truTV) $3.54 million (+28%); $6.6 million
  3.  1917 (Universal) $2.67 million (-37%); $156 million
  4.  Brahms: The Boy II (STX) $2.63 million (-55%); $9.8 million
  5.  Fantasy Island (2020) (Sony) $2.3 million (-45%); $24 million

In addition to Onward, next weekend sees the arrival of the Ben Affleck drama The Way Back from Warner Brothers. Onward should have no problem taking over the number one spot from The Invisible Man.

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