5th Update Sunday AM: Moviegoers didn’t have a problem finding Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man on Saturday with the Leigh Whannell movie racking up $11.1M, a 12% surge over Friday’s $9.9M for a weekend that Universal is calling at $29M (some rival estimates have it in the low $28M range). Even more commendable: if you back out those $1.65M previews from Friday’s number (which is $8.25M), business for Invisible Man actually shot up +35% on Saturday.
No, Invisible Man did not play like a front-loaded horror movie, rather a thriller (i.e. Universal/Amblin’s Girl on the Train saw a Friday-to-Saturday uptick of +3% on its way to a $24.5M opening weekend). The Saturday bounce for Invisible Man isn’t that far from Split‘s +13% and is in the same teen percentile orbit as Get Out (+17%). Another big indicator that buzz caught on for Invisible Man is in the PostTrak stat that 79% of ticket buyers bought their tickets on Saturday vs. 7% in the past week. Fifty-eight percent of Invisible Man‘s moviegoers bought tickets at the theater versus 38% online. Of those who watched Invisible Man, 52% said they’ll definitely recommend the movie to their friends, while 41% said they’ll probably recommend it. Strong exits.
All these diagnostics show that Invisible Man sells itself, with those walking away from the theater being the biggest form of publicity in their word of mouth. While the movie is not about the plight of the Invisible Man, but his female victim, Uni highlighted the creepiness of the popular monster protag in its outdoor and in-theater marketing with slogans like “He’s Been Following You This Whole Time”, “He’s Right Behind You” and “He’s Standing Right Next You” among others with words disappearing toward the end of the tagline. One billboard in particular won praise from rival studio execs around town on their drive around L.A. and that was one with the tagline “What You Can’t See Can’t Hurt You”. Essentially, the tagline showed up in wavy fashion when the sunlight hit the billboard. Clever.
Invisible Man first trailered on Warner Bros. Doctor Sleep back in November, but gained greater visibility on Bad Boys for Life and 1917 throughout the winter. Between Uni’s first two trailers of Invisible Man, it churned over 100M views. RelishMix says that the viral video rate of Invisible Man was at 24:1 ahead of the genre average of 20:1 with average daily views of the pic’s YouTube clips hovering around 22.5K before opening, ahead of the typical 20K for the thriller genre.
Overall, Invisible Man wound up being slightly more male at 53% to 47% women. PostTrak shows an uptick in the under female demo to 23% (from 18%), females over 25 averaging out to 26%, guys over 25 still leading with 31% and more males under 25 (going from 17% on Friday night to 20% yesterday). The male leaning Invisible Man was on par with the guy pull of Glass, A Quiet Place and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Split was more female with a draw of 44% (next to Invisible Man‘s 47%). Those going out in packs (2-4 friends) to see Invisible Man included males under 25 (30%) and females under 25 (23%). Those males and females under 25 taking boyfriends/girlfriends to the R-rated thriller were around 25%-26%.
Invisible Man reps the second best debut for Elisabeth Moss (who remarkably carries this movie all on her own) at the domestic box office behind last year’s Us from Jordan Peele, Uni and Blumhouse ($71.1M), which still holds the record for the best opening by an original horror movie. Global for Invisible Man is at $49.2M, making it the No. 1 movie around the globe this weekend with $20.2M from 39 offshore territories including Mexico, the U.K./Ireland, Germany and Australia, with the international rollout continuing through the spring. Final endgame domestic for Invisible Man is now expected to be around $75M (which is where Girl of the Train was), but we’ll see about that as that movie was mostly fueled by female fans of the book. Invisible Man owns the genre space until Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II arrives on March 20, with little adult threat next weekend from Disney/Pixar’s Onward (expected to open in the mid $40Ms) and Warner Bros. Ben Affleck drama The Way Back (in the mid-to-high mid digits).
“Pairing Blumhouse, the unequivocal master of this horror thriller genre, with the incredible vision of Leigh Whannell led to the great success of our debut of The Invisible Man this weekend. The casting of the extraordinarily talented Elisabeth Moss elevates this film, with audiences and critics responding to her performance with great enthusiasm. This is a great start for the new direction in Universal’s Classic Monster legacy,” beamed Universal domestic distribution boss Jim Orr this morning to Deadline.
Off the fever of Invisible Man, Blumhouse announced yesterday that they signed the pic’s filmmaker Whannell to a two year first look film and TV development deal.
Imax and PLF accounted for a third of Invisible Man‘s domestic business. While Uni had Invisible Man booked on PLF screens, some exhibitors opted to play My Hero Academia: Hero Rising and Call of the Wild, and thus, didn’t reap the upside of the overperformance of the Moss movie on certain showtimes.
Elsewhere, the weekend’s other wide entry, Sony Pictures TV/Funimation’s My Hero Academia: Hero Rising in early AM estimates clocked an estimated $2.6M Saturday, +44% over Friday on its way to a $6.2M 3-day in 4th place, 5-day opening of $9.5M.
Updates: NEON is calling the 21st weekend of 4x Oscar winner Parasite at $1.5M, -50% at 1,324 with a running total of $51.5M in 12th place.
Refresh for more analysis and a chart.
4TH Writethru, Saturday AM after overnight post: Horror films in the wake of New Line’s It Chapter Two ($91M opening) have been in a frightening free fall at the domestic box office, and for various reasons.
They were either too long or based off of a non-mass appealing piece of source material (i.e. Warner Bros.’ truly sublime Doctor Sleep, which went into a coma with $31.6M domestic final), so cheap that their distributors believed that there was no reason to spend any more money than what was necessary (hence lower grosses, i.e. Brahms: Boy II, Countdown), or just flat out awful (the F-graded Grudge and The Turning, plus the D+ Cinemascore pic Black Christmas). After seeing broad comedies get swallowed up whole by streaming and minimized at the box office, the last thing major studio executives need is for another crowd-appealing genre, in which moviegoers have a great shared experience, gets diminished entirely on mobile phones.
And so, this weekend’s opening for Universal-Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man, now between $26M-$27M off its $7M production cost (before P&A), is a wonderful reminder that low budget genre fare continues to work. Grosses for the Leigh Whannell-directed and written film have improved from Friday afternoon to a current $9.9M (including Thursday night’s $1.65M). Universal’s hope is that Invisible Man continues to play like a thriller, with Saturday being even with Friday’s box office (or even better) and not like a horror movie, which is typically front-loaded.
While arthouse-mixed-with-genre can often divide horror fans (i.e. Midsommar, Crimson Peak), socially conscious genre fare clicks, resonates, and wins all around with critics and audiences, and that’s what we’re seeing here again with Invisible Man in the wake of Universal/Blumhouse’s Oscar-winning blockbuster Get Out and Jordan Peele’s second directorial, Us. Universal knows that in a cookie cutter brand major motion picture event world, it pays to be truly unique. They learned that the hard way when they executed that old fashioned formula of star (Tom Cruise)+ franchise (The Mummy). It didn’t necessarily yield a box office result like it would in the 1980s, 1990s, or the early aughts (and there were other things that were wrong with that 2017 movie). When turning a noted property, like Invisible Man, on its head, you have to keep it cheap, and trust in a visionary. Australian Insidious Chapter 3 and Upgrade filmmaker Whannell walked onto the Uni lot and pitched his own twist on H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man (it’s not about the man, rather the woman, specifically the invisible man’s girlfriend), rather than being shackled with some pre-conceived tropes of a dusty property.
Moviegoers want to organically discover their franchises, and not be told they have to commit themselves to a “Dark Universe,” which is what Universal did so ambitiously back with its 2017 reboot of The Mummy. Uni will say that with this weekend’s success of Invisible Man, it’s a great step in putting their whole monster-verse back on the rails. And while that is true, what’s amazing here is how they built another crowd-appealing, critically acclaimed (90% certified fresh), socially conscious movie that is so much about now and #MeToo with Invisible Man. It’s not just senseless pulp, blood and guts. In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s guilty verdict this week, which reinvigorated the #MeToo movement, Universal and Blumhouse couldn’t have hoped for a better time to release Invisible Man. Time‘s film critic Stephanie Zacharek hits the nail on the head when describing how Invisible Man speaks to bigger issues: “The movie’s violence opens up a larger question, keyed to the way the world reacts when a woman steps forward to call out abuse. What is it that makes us believe a woman’s story? If a woman is struck by an unseen hand, as Cecilia is, has it really happened? Where’s the proof? In The Invisible Man, it’s her word against his silence—and he doesn’t even have the guts to show his face.”
Even though guys over 25 remained the majority for Invisible Man, with 37%, females grew on Friday night over Thursday, with females 25+ repping 29% of the audience (up from 28%) and females under 25 at 18% (up from last night’s 13%). The latter loved Invisible Man the most at 80%, while females overall (46%) enjoyed Invisible Man a bit more than guys, 78% to 75%. Those 18-34 made up 61% of the crowd, with updated diversity demos being 45% Caucasian, 20% African American, 19% Hispanic, 16% Asian. PostTrak remained solid at 4 Stars, while CinemaScore was a B+, on par with Split, and just under Get Out‘s A-. Invisible Man played best on the coasts and the South. Imax and PLF screens rep 31% of the gross so far.
Late improv maestro and Second City pioneer Del Close famously said that when it comes to art and the audience, “treat your audiences like poets and geniuses, and they’ll have the chance to become them,” and it’s clear that Universal continues to have that philosophy in mind in developing their slates (i.e. pics like Yesterday, 1917, etc), shepherding their filmmakers and taking big swings in a franchise-laden event cinema atmosphere. While Disney plows forward with Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, and live-action reboots of their classic toons, Uni is meeting the challenge to think outside the box.
Yes, yes, of course, let’s not forget that this is the same studio that made the disastrous feature adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. The IP was historically always risky (that’s why it wasn’t made decades ago). But given Uni’s flair for blockbuster jukebox musicals like their Mamma Mia movies, they believed Cats to be a worthy gamble, given the fact that the stage musical made over $4 billion, the movie was casted up for the young with stars like Taylor Swift, and for sophisticated adults with award winning actors like Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, and the pic was in the hands of Uni’s Les Miserables hitmaker director Tom Hooper.
However, the stage musical’s unusual premise of singing cats (sans plot) coupled with uncanny valley designed felines, did not speak to today’s moviegoers, with millennials exclaiming WTF. At the same time over the holiday season, Uni teamed with Amblin to distribute a British WWI movie, 1917. Talk about risky. That’s certainly not a four-quad movie, and the subject matter is largely for old dudes. And who wants to see another British war film so soon after Dunkirk? But there was a huge hook, one that was big enough to get people to leave their couches and spend over $350M WW and see something that they’ve never seen before in a war movie, and that was that the cinematography was the star in its one continuous, jarring, awesome shot.
Sony Pictures TV/Funimation’s My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising also played well on the coasts and the South. Overall, audiences in updated PostTrak gave it 5 stars, Parents 4 stars, and kids 3 stars. Families only repped 13% last night, with the general audience at 87% making up most of the crowd. Those who showed were 61% male and 80% under 35, with 64% falling between 18-34 years old. Among kids under 12, boys repped 44% of the crowd. Rivals are impressed by the anime pic’s near $9M five days at 1,260 given Funimation’s limited P&A spend.
NEON’s Oscar-winning Best Picture darling Parasite, which is still wide at 1,324 sans Imax, is poised to earn around $1.46M, -52%, for a total by EOD tomorrow of $51.5M in weekend 21. What is amazing many rival distribs is that the movie is still putting up big numbers while still being made available on VOD and DVD. Who says the big screen is dead? It can be argued that Parasite‘s tale this past awards season could have been Roma‘s, had that pic had the prestige of a full-on, theatrical release, box office grosses and all. Distribution folk continue to argue that at least $20M in box office grosses were left on the table with that Alfonso Cuaron 3x Oscar winner. Final domestic looks like $55M for sure, with some saying more.
Searchlight’s revisionist Peter Pan movie Wendy from Beasts of the Southern Wild filmmaker Benh Zeitlin posted $10,5K last night at NY’s Landmark 57th St and Angelika and LA’s Landmark, and Arclight Hollywood drawing from soft numbers. Overall, weekend looks like $31,3K for a per theater of $7,8K, which is awful. It stands to reason when the critics have blasted it at 40% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Winterbottom comedy Greed starring Steve Coogan and Isla Fisher also suffered from bad reviews at 59%, seeing soft numbers at NY’s Lincoln Square, Angelika and LA’s Landmark, and Arclight. Pic earned around $7K yesterday on its way to a bad $21K or $5,2K per theater.
Updated with Saturday AM industry figures:
2nd Update, Friday Midday: The Invisible Man is on his way to a $9.1M first day, including last night’s $1.65M, for a 3-day between $23M-$25M at 3,610 theaters. I’ve heard from various exhibitors that advance ticket sales are far ahead of Universal/Blumhouse’s Ma which posted at first day of $7.2M and opening of $18.1M last June. As of this minute, ticket sales are surging so by tonight we may see a higher result. At this range, it’s a very good start for the $7M Univeral-Blumhouse production. Get Out posted a first day of $10.8M, which included $1.8M previews, on its way to a $33.3M start.
Paramount’s 3rd weekend of Sonic the Hedgehog is taking 2nd with an estimated $13.85M at 4,177 off a Friday of $3.2M (-50%), -47%, and running total by Sunday of $126.1M
Disney/20th Century Studios’ The Call of the Wild in its second weekend is seeing $12.875M at 3,865 off a Friday of $3.5M (-56%), overall -48% for the weekend. That puts its 10-day at $45.5M.
In 4th is Sony Pictures TV/Funimation’s My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising which is looking at $5M-$6M at 1,260 after a $2M-$2.2M Friday. 10-day could hit $9.3M on the high end.
Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey could file 5th with $3.9M at 3,124, -43% for a running total in weekend 4 of $77.7M. Sony’s Bad Boys for Life is now in 6th in weekend 7 with $3.6M at 2,708, -38% for a running total of $196.6M.
STX’s Brahms: The Boy 2 is looking at $2.6M in weekend 2 in 7th place, -55%, for a 10-day of $9.7M.
WarnerMedia’s TruTV’s Impractical Jokers which expanded from 357 theaters to 1,820 is seeing $725K today, -24%, for a 3-day of $2.2M, -16%, and a 10-day of $5.3M.
1st Update, Friday 7:34AM: Universal-Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man made its first appearance Thursday night at 7 PM shows nationwide with $1.65 million at 2,850 theaters, an amount of cash that’s near both studios’ previous collaborations, Get Out ($1.8M Thursday) and Split ($2M). Invisible Man expands to 3,610 today.
Both 2017 titles overperformed their $20M-predicted tracking at the time, with Split posting a $40M start, and Get Out taking $33.3M. Invisible Man, directed and written by Leigh Whannell, is forecasted to be in the mid- to high-$20M range, a solid start for the $7M net production shot with Australian tax credits However, like Split and Get Out, it’s expected to go higher potentially in the $30M+ zone.
Exits and reviews indicate that milepost is possible, with Invisible Man‘s Rotten Tomatoes score at 92% Certified Fresh being just under Get Out‘s 98% certified fresh, but much higher than Split‘s 77% certified fresh and Halloween‘s 79% certified fresh. The RT score is key because that’s the catalyst that will persuade non-genre die-hards to buy tickets.
PostTrak last night for the R-rated Invisible Man showed 4 stars with a 53% definite recommend. Guys over 25 dominated at 47% last night, with 28% females over 25, 13% females under 25 and 12% men under 25. The biggest quad was the 25-34 folks at 39%, with a diversity read of 49% Caucasian, 22% Hispanic, 13% Asian and 12% African American.
Among those films in regular release Thursday, Disney/20th Century Studios’ Call of the Wild led with an estimated $1.45M, off 3% from Wednesday, for a first-week cume of $32.6M. Weekend 2 is estimated to be down 45% for a second-frame take of $13.6M for the Harrison Ford movie.
Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog ends Weekend 2 with a running total of $112.2M after a $1.17M Thursday, +2% from Wednesday, in second place for the day. Sonic should see a third weekend that’s around $17M, -35%.
Third place according to early AM estimates goes to Sony Pictures TV-Funimation’s anime feature My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising. Last night we heard that not all the pic’s theaters were accounted for on Wednesday and instead of a $1.7M opening day it was actually $2.5M at 1,275 locations. Right now Thursday looks like $793K (updated), -68%, per estimates, for a two-day take of $3.3M. 3-day outlook is around $6M.
PostTrak shows that fans are out in bulk with the pic scoring 5 stars and a 73% definite recommend and an 86% general audience, 15% families. Both parents and kids under 12 gave the movie 4 stars. Boys 10-12 made up half the kid crowd, while girls 10-12 showed up at 28%. Overall combined audience stats were 34% guys under 25, 24% men over 25, 23% females under 25 and 19% females over 25.