After Universal’s grand plan for their Dark Universe franchise came crashing down after just one film, the studio will be charting a new course which will move away from an interconnected universe and instead focus on bringing in creative directors with distinctive visions for the classic monsters. The first part of this fresh strategy will find Leigh Whannell (UPGRADE) writing and directing a reboot of THE INVISIBLE MAN for Blumhouse Productions.
Just how did this deal come about? Well, Collider recently spoke with Blumhouse founder and CEO Jason Blum who revealed that the project got started when Leigh Whannell pitched them an idea for a new take on The Invisible Man.
I don’t believe in saying “We’re going to do movies about this” and then trying to find a movie about it. So I didn’t believe in going and saying “I want to do all these movies”, and then try to find directors to do them. We have a director who… we’ve also done six or seven movies with, pitched us this spectacular idea about Invisible Man. We told him to write it, he wrote it, then we took it to the studio and said ‘We’d love to do this and this is what we would do with it,’ and they said yes.
You shouldn’t expect THE INVISIBLE MAN to become some big-budget blockbuster this time around, as Blum says that it will definitely be a lower budget movie. “It’s not dependent on special effects, CGI, stunts. It’s super character-driven, it’s really compelling, it’s trilling, it’s edgy, it feels new,” Blum teased. “Those were all things that felt like they fit with what our company does. And it happened to be an Invisible Man story, so it checked both boxes. And we responded to it because I think Leigh is just an A+ director.” Blum estimated that the budget will likely fall somewhere between $5 and $10 million. As a huge fan of the Universal Monsters, I think this is a much better approach than the Dark Universe concept. These characters don’t need giant budgets or to become superheroes, and keeping the budget on a smaller scale will allow for more experimentation. I’m getting excited.
“Throughout cinematic history, Universal’s classic monsters have been reinvented through the prism of each new filmmaker who brought these characters to life,” said Peter Cramer, Universal’s president of production, when the project was first announced. “We are excited to take a more individualized approach for their return to screen, shepherded by creators who have stories they are passionate to tell with them.“