Horror films have seemingly been a dime per dozen so far in early 2020, with over a handful having already released since the calendar turned. None have truly taken off, unfortunately, and it’s been nearly six months since the genre rose to the top of the box office (September’s It: Chapter Two) — but that’s about to change with Universal’s The Invisible Man.
Based loosely on the original television series, this adaptation from director Leigh Whannell has been generating solid buzz since marketing ramped up last year. Whannell himself is no stranger to success in the genre, having had significant involvement in the Insidious and Saw franchises.
Working under the Blumhouse umbrella again with this film, appeal to young adults could be quite significant thanks to the lack of major horror releases so far this year, very positive reviews from critics (91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, currently), and a strong trailer campaign that has stirred interest from a variety of demographics.
We also expect star Elisabeth Moss to be positive force here. The actress has garnered acclaim (and awards) for her roles in The Handmaid’s Tale and Mad Men, and combined with the IP itself, could expand interest for this modern adaptation to include adult audiences as well.
The film’s social media performance has been a key component in our semi-bearish forecasts calling for an opening weekend anywhere between $20 million and $40 million domestically. The horror genre — non-sequels, especially — is known for its late bloomers in terms of projecting buzz-driven breakouts. Steadily positive sentiment for this release is a good sign heading into the weekend.
On the pre-sales front, early indications are that the film won’t be as a heavily front-loaded to Thursday night as other recent horror titles, with a bulk of activity being measured for Friday itself and beyond. Combined with expected positive word of mouth, these factors signal momentum will continue building in the days ahead as this effectively serves as an original property among today’s broader target audience for the genre (35 and under).
If there’s reason to pause and expect a more modest (though still relatively positive) debut in the low $20 millions range, it’s the genre’s aforementioned proliferation of the market over the past two months and the fact that the previous horror-hit-in-waiting didn’t catch on as models indicated it could despite positive reviews and buzz (that being November’s Doctor Sleep).
Entering the weekend, Universal expects an opening north of $20 million.
Meanwhile, with no fresh or direct competition on the slate, Sonic the Hedgehog and The Call of the Wild should post respectable holds as the reigning family films in the marketplace — though both will shed some of their premium screen footprint to Invisible Man.
Meanwhile, WarnerMedia/truTV tells Boxoffice that Impractical Jokers: The Movie will expand to an estimated 1,900 locations this weekend, giving it a strong chance to leap-frog a few titles into the top ten after it’s strong showing in limited release last week. Comparisons are few and far between given the fan following of the popular television comedy series, so forecasts are somewhat volatile in terms of projecting potential as a true wide release.
Despite relative optimism for this weekend’s new release, overall box office compared to the same point last year will still likely decline (barring a massive breakout for Invisible) due to the slimmer release slate.
Opening Weekend Range
- The Invisible Man ($25 – 35 million)
Top 10 vs. Last Year
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will decline 10 to 15 percent from the same weekend one year ago. At the time, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World captured first place in its second frame as Madea’s Family Funeral and Greta debuted, while Green Book expanded following its Oscar win. The top ten generated $94.4 million at the time.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, March 1||% Change from Last Wknd|
|The Invisible Man||Universal||$30,000,000||$30,000,000||NEW|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Paramount||$17,300,000||$128,900,000||-34%|
|The Call of the Wild||20th Century Studios||$14,700,000||$45,900,000||-41%|
|Bad Boys for Life||Sony / Columbia||$3,700,000||$196,700,000||-37%|
|Impractical Jokers: The Movie||WarnerMedia / truTV||$3,600,000||$6,900,000||30%|
|Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)||Warner Bros.||$3,400,000||$78,000,000||-50%|
|Jumanji: The Next Level||Sony / Columbia||$2,200,000||$313,800,000||-23%|
|Brahms: The Boy 2||STX||$2,100,000||$9,300,000||-64%|
|Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island||Sony / Columbia||$1,700,000||$23,400,000||-60%|
Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday
The chart above excludes releases and potential expansions from limited and platform films