How ‘The Invisible Man’ Almost Disappeared From Production

by Jeremy Spirogis
Elisabeth Moss at

Before film theaters shut down as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the 12 months began off pretty sturdy. One of the largest success tales, in fact, was The Invisible Man. Even with its theatrical run minimize brief, the film — which price simply $7 million — earned $123 million worldwide.

Director Leigh Whannell’s earlier film, 2018’s Upgrade, solely introduced in $16 million throughout its launch. Of course, The Invisible Man has the advantage of a recognizable model title. But even with that on its aspect, the movie nearly by no means materialized in any respect.

Elisabeth Moss at 'The Invisible Man' premiere
Elisabeth Moss at ‘The Invisible Man’ premiere | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Universal Monsters was the primary cinematic shared universe

Today’s moviegoers could also be all in regards to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it was Universal Monsters who first kicked off the notion of a big-screen shared universe. Movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and sure, The Invisible Man launched moviegoers to those unforgettable creations. And for many years, the movies largely thrived.

Over the years, audiences misplaced curiosity within the traditional Universal monsters. The characters started to appear sporadically on the massive display. But given the truth that lots of them are within the public area, most of those subsequent productions had been made exterior of Universal. The studio did attempt intermittently to adapt the Universal Monsters, nevertheless.

1999’s The Mummy was a smash which led to 2 sequels. Yet, 2004’s Van Helsing and 2010’s The Wolfman — which starred Hugh Jackman and Benicio del Toro, respectively — did not make the sort of affect obligatory for a full-fledged reboot. Likewise, 2014’s Dracula Untold underwhelmed and underperformed financially.

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The Dark Universe fell aside earlier than it may actually start

By the time 2017 rolled round, Universal believed they’d cracked the code. A brand new model of The Mummy led by Tom Cruise appeared to slam the doorways huge open for the “Dark Universe.” The movie even incorporates a fancy brand for the franchise and a supporting flip by Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll (and, you guessed it, Mr. Hyde).

Audiences, it appears, weren’t prepared for “a new world of gods and monsters.” The Mummy bombed on the field workplace and went down as one of many 12 months’s most embarrassing misfires. And plans for an formidable slate of flicks — together with a Bride of Frankenstein remake starring Javier Bardem — had been dashed. Universal even canceled a Johnny Depp-led The Invisible Man.

After such a pricey, time-consuming endeavor, no marvel Universal was hesitant to dip into its traditional monsters once more. In truth, it wasn’t till Whannell pitched the alternative strategy the studio appeared . Rather than a $125 million manufacturing like The Mummy, Whannell’s grim, very R-rated The Invisible Man would reveal the story’s dirty underbelly.

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‘The Invisible Man’ leads a monstrous resurgence

Instead of taking the attitude of the title character, Whannell’s The Invisible Man flips the main target onto his ex (Elisabeth Moss). The complete movie serves as a metaphor for coping with the trauma of an abusive relationship. In doing so, Whannell creates one thing much less about spectacle than harrowing emotional grounding. And, this time, audiences cherished it.

Perhaps a part of what makes The Invisible Man work so effectively is that it doesn’t intention to set the stage for a bigger cinematic universe. Universal could be very a lot tapping into the archives of its traditional monsters, together with a brand new Dracula. But at this level, there aren’t any plans for The Invisible Man to kickstart any anticipated cross-overs. For now, that’s most likely for the most effective.

If the studio is ready to efficiently apply the identical strategy to different Universal Monsters, then maybe a few of these characters will cross paths once more. Still, Whannell’s film defied the percentages by resurrecting a lifeless franchise in essentially the most surprising of the way. The very last thing Universal — and followers — need is for the studio to start out seeing greenback indicators and kill it once more.

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