It’s safe to say The Invisible Man snuck up on audiences. The movie is a modern reinvention of the 1933 monster movie based on H.G. Well’s novel. Yet, despite that brand recognition, most fans weren’t sure what to expect. Horror aficionados had a better idea, as The Invisible Man is written and directed by Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious).
With a $7 million production budget, The Invisible Man proved to be an instant smash, earning $29 million in its opening weekend. Following that success, rumors began to swirl about how this would affect the industry or at least Universal’s plans? While it’s too early to tell, we’re hoping it leads to a full-on revival of all the classic Universal monsters.
‘The Invisible Man’ could kick off a new era for Universal monsters
In the age of Marvel Studios, every studio has been eager to create their own shared universe. So far, Universal has franchises such as Fast and Furious and Despicable Me. But back in the day, monster movies starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi helped put it on the map.
After years of failed attempts to reintroduce audiences to its classic monsters, Universal has a long-awaited opportunity with The Invisible Man. After all, 2017’s big-budget version of The Mummy failed to kickstart the hoped-for Dark Universe. But with a tighter budget, The Invisible Man could be the start of an exciting minimalist take on characters everyone knows.
What makes Whannell’s film resonate so strongly isn’t just brand recognition. It’s the way in which he reinterprets the danger posed by the title monster. Bringing the story into the present day and pinning it on an abusive relationship transforms the classic tale into social commentary on issues on everyone’s minds. Plus, it’s scary as hell on a variety of levels.
Which classic Universal monster will make it to the big screen next?
Universal is likely eager to seize this moment to kick off “a new world of gods and monsters.” But in order to do so, the studio needs to make just the right play. Just take a look at how long it’s taken Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe to course-correct. The worst thing Universal could do right now is launch right into a monster mash-up.
Staying with dark, R-rated standalone reboots feels like the surest best. But with such a stable of iconic characters to choose from, which classic Universal monster should be next up? Traditionally, the classic line-up includes Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, the Phantom of the Opera, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The trouble is all these characters have been retooled and repackaged countless times over the years. Just as Dracula recently got the Netflix treatment, all these characters have been prominently adapted in recent years, though not always by Universal. But the one with the lowest success rate also might be poised to follow The Invisible Man‘s footsteps.
Universal is already developing a ‘Frankenstein’ movie
Recent attempts to make a hit Frankenstein movie — such as 2014’s I, Frankenstein and 2015’s Victor Frankenstein — have been dead on arrival. Yet, there’s potential within Mary Shelley’s original novel for a disturbing body horror story. Apparently, Universal agrees because the studio does reportedly have a reboot in the works, with James Wan (Saw) producing.
Recently, a story even broke that Tom Hardy could be attached to play Frankenstein’s monster in the film. The project has been in the works for a while, with Guillermo del Toro once involved. But the project has had trouble getting off the ground. With The Invisible Man‘s success, producer Jason Blum will convince Whannell to take on the new Frankenstein.
After all, the character came up as a possibility when Blum was trying to convince Whannell to make a Universal monster movie. Blum even pointed out how Whannell’s previous film, 2018’s Upgrade, presents a modern twist on Shelley’s story. Funnily enough, Upgrade stars Logan Marshall-Green, an actor notoriously mistaken for Hardy.
We can’t tell just yet how Universal will handle its classic monsters. But you can bet we’ll find out more soon.
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