The beginning of a new year usually means one thing when it comes to film: studio dump – studios simply dump films that they foresee may not do as well; historically, this period occurs in January and February with the summer season effectively kicking off in early-to-mid March. The reasoning behind this is mainly due to holiday fatigue and spring fever – people just don’t go to the movies as much after the holidays or before Spring – it’s cold. While films usually do poorly in the first two months of the year, recently there have been blockbusters – for instance, 2018’s “Black Panther” shattered expectations with a $200 million budget, it grossed over $1 billion – partly due to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also due to black audiences flocking to see a black superhero take center stage once again after a long stint from the Wesley Snipe Blade films. While box office numbers may be on the uptick for beginning of the year films in terms of recent years, 2020 so far hasn’t delivered a box office smash to say the least (save for Sonic the Hedgehog, which is still going fast toward the $3 million gross). With modest success of “Bad Boys for Life” and carryovers from the holiday and Award season still in theaters, the beginning of the year has been rather lackluster – with a slew of dismal horror films to show for it. “The Turning”, for instance, barely broke even with a $14 million budget and a gross of $18 million. “The Grudge” and “Underwater” pulled similar flops and with this weekend’s “The Invisible Man”, history suggests that it too will flop – but it’s actually a fine film.
A continuation of Universal’s reboot of The Dark Universe, or more accurately, a restart to The Dark Universe, (as the studio would probably want to distance themselves from the recent “Mummy” remake with Tom Cruise) – “The Invisible Man” follows a woman who escapes her abusive husband, when he dies, she is stalked by what appears to be a ghostly form of him, an Invisible Man. Without giving major plot points away (as the trailer does an excellent job of doing), what this film does phenomenally well is how to showcase abuse without actively showing abuse – this is done in a very Hitchcockian method. Elizabeth Moss delivers a stellar performance that wretches your psychosis on the same level that Anthony Perkins did in “Psycho”.
Currently, “The Invisible Man” has a box office of over $100 million.