Courtesy of Universal Pictures
‘The Invisible Man’

Overseas, the horror pic took in $20.2 million from its first 47 markets.

In a major boost for the horror genre, Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man scared up a stellar $29 million in its North American box office debut and $20.2 million overseas for a $49.2 million global start.

Fueled by a 92 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, Invisible Man is the best domestic opening for a horror pic since last September’s It: Chapter Two, and one of the best ever for Jason Blumhouse’s prolific production company.

The latest adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel — written and directed by Leigh Whanell — stars Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass, who escapes an abusive relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).

When her ex commits suicide, Cecilia begins to suspect his death was a hoax and believes he has found a way to become invisible after a series of eerie coincidences and encounters that turn lethal. Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Harriet Dyer also star.

Though, often, horror movies skew female, the audience for The Invisible Man was 53 percent male.

The pic, costing just $7 million to produce before marketing, is also a win for Universal’s retooled monster universe.

Invisible Man was the weekend’s only major studio release. Elsewhere, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog fell to No. 2 with $16 million in its third weekend for a domestic total of $128.2 million. Call of the Wild, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising and Birds of Prey rounded out the top five.

At the specialty box office, Parasite continued to feast on its Oscar wins, earning $1.5 million for a domestic total of $51.6 million. Only three other non-English-language films have crossed the $50 million mark in U.S. ticket sales.

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man delivered an estimated $9.8 million on Friday and is currently heading toward a $26 million three-day debut. The film, which critics embraced, received a “B+” CinemaScore from opening day audiences and currently holds a 90% audience rating at RottenTomatoes.

Additionally, Funimation’s My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising has exploded on screens. The film had already pulled in a little over $3.3 million after debuting on Wednesday and added an estimated $1.8 million on Friday, pushing the film’s cumulative total to $5.2 million after three days of release. Comparatively, Funimation’s release of My Hero Academia: Two Heroes back in 2018 brought in $5.75 million over the course of about three weeks and largely an event style release. Heroes Rising received a 5-star rating from PostTack, and a 91% critics score and a 98% positive audience score on RottenTomatoes. The film is expected to deliver around $6+ million for the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man grossed $1.65 million in previews last night from 2,850 theaters with showings beginning at 7 PM. The performance is just ahead of the $1.55 million in previews for Insidious: Chapter 3, which opened with over $22 million back in 2015 and ahead of the $1.4 million in previews for Ma, which debuted with $18 million last May.

We’ll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Eight weeks into the year and we’ve already seen six films released that fall within the horror and/or thriller genre category and of them only Sony’s two entries — Fantasy Island and The Grudge — have managed to deliver double digit openings. This weekend, Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man looks to not only top those marks, but deliver the highest opening for a horror title since last year’s It Chapter Two.

Following the disappointing debut of The Mummy back in 2017, a film intended to serve as the first film in Universal’s proposed Dark Universe, the studio quickly shelved that idea and now, with the release of The Invisible Man this weekend, the studio offers a standalone feature in which writer-director Leigh Whannell brings his own spin to the story. Starring Elisabeth Moss, the film arrives with strong tracking and the studio anticipating a debut in the upper $20 million range, and we’re right in line with those expectations, if not expecting more.

A look at IMDb page view data over the two weeks leading up to release shows the film pacing ahead of Whannell’s Insidious: Chapter 3 ($22.7m opening) as well as Insidious: The Last Key, both Happy Death Day and its sequel, Ma and Truth or Dare. In fact, its performance has steadily increased day over day. This data in combination with strong early reviews to the tune of a 91% RottenTomatoes score suggest a $25+ million performance wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if not easily topping $30 million. Given the soft performances from all of this year’s previous horror releases there is nothing to suggest this one can’t be the one to finally break out.

Second place looks like a tight race between Sonic the Hedgehog and 20th Century’s The Call of the Wild. Right now we have them in a dead heat, both pulling in an estimated $14.5 million, but once the dust settles we anticipate Call of Wild will have the edge, perhaps reaching as high as $15 million. That said, Sonic is looking to race past $125 million this weekend and will soon top Lara Croft: Tomb Raider to become the second largest video game adaptation domestically.

Sony’s Bad Boys for Life enters its seventh week in release and we’re expecting a three-day around $3.8 million as it continues to push toward $200 million domestically after having topped that mark internationally this past weekend. Whether that will be enough for fourth or if Birds of Prey is able to challenge it remains to be seen as Birds of Prey continues to limp along, topping $75 million domestically this weekend.

Elsewhere, we aren’t sure what to expect from truTV’s Impractical Jokers: The Movie, which opened in 357 locations last weekend and delivered a $2.7 million opening. This weekend the film will expand into 1,900 theaters and we’re having a hard time finding any precedent or comparison for a film of this nature, which leaves us at a loss as to what to expect. For now we’re targeting a finish just outside the top five and a $5 million three-day, but time will only tell.

This weekend’s forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • The Invisible Man (3,610 theaters) – $28.0 M
  • The Call of the Wild (3,865 theaters) – $14.5 M
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (4,177 theaters) – $14.5 M
  • Bad Boys for Life (2,708 theaters) – $3.8 M
  • Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (3,124 theaters) – $3.5 M
  • Impractical Jokers: The Movie (1,900 theaters) – $3.5 M
  • 1917 (2,224 theaters) – $2.9 M
  • Brahms: The Boy II (2,151 theaters) – $2.9 M
  • Fantasy Island (2,724 theaters) – $2.2 M
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (1,811 theaters) – $2.0 M