The U.S. box office has been, more or less, on life support ever since most movie theaters had to shut down in mid-March. Yet, thanks largely to drive-ins, some movies have had the chance to rake in the dough in recent weeks. The most recent beneficiary is Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man remake, which just broke an unlikely box office record, and it’s one that may never be broken again.
Playing on just 147 screens, The Invisible Man earned $383,000, which was good enough to top the box office over the weekend. Trolls World Tour had been in the number one spot since its release ten weeks ago. The Invisible Man topped the domestic charts during its debut weekend in release when it initially arrived back in February 28. That means there was a staggering span of 15 weeks between hitting #1 twice at the domestic box office during its theatrical lifetime. That is a new record, which was brought on by truly unprecedented circumstances.
In the interest of public health, every major theater chain in the U.S., and throughout most of the world, closed its doors three months ago. That forced studios to delay virtually every major release through the summer to much later in 2020, if not well into 2021. So when drive-ins started springing back to life around the country, that left them with fewer options in terms of movies to showcase. While classic titles such as Jurassic Park and Back to the Future (both of which cracked the top ten over the weekend as well) have been a big part of it, recent hits like The Invisible Man have had something of an extended life as a result.
Another noteworthy element to this is the fact that The Invisible Man, and all of the other movies on the box office charts currently, are available on home video. They can be watched from the comfort of home, be it digitally or on Blu-ray/DVD. But, a not-so-insignificant number of people are still actively choosing to go see these movies at a drive-in to have a theatrical experience. Part of that has to do with the fact that people are trying to find safe things to do, and that limits options. Though it also seems to indicate that, for a good chunk of people, the cinematic experience isn’t going to die.
This also further cements The Invisible Man as a home run. Directed by Leigh Whannell, it has earned $64.9 million at the domestic box office and $58.3 million overseas, giving it a huge $123.2 million total against a $7 million budget. It also earned solid reviews from critics and audiences alike. This has given Universal’s classic monster franchises new life following the failed experiment that was the Dark Universe, which began and ended with Tom Cruise’s ill-fated The Mummy. Now, we’re poised to see more lower-budget, filmmaker-driven revamps of these properties in the future. This news comes to us via Deadline.