LOS ANGELES – The Elisabeth Moss-led thriller "The Invisible Man" rode a wave of good reviews to a very visible spot atop the box office this weekend. Universal Pictures on Sunday estimated that the film from writer-director Leigh Whannell earned $29 million from North American theaters.
Whannell helped dust off the classic H.G. Wells story and update it for modern audiences by focusing on Moss' victim character instead of the Invisible Man character, who here is an abusive ex-boyfriend.
"The Invisible Man" carried a modest budget, costing under $10 million to produce, and exceeded expectations by a few million dollars. The film, which had been well-received by critics, drew diverse audiences to the theaters (46% white, 20% black and 18% Hispanic), according to exit polls.
"We couldn't be more pleased," said Jim Orr, Universal's president of domestic distribution. "[Whannell] brought this century-old character to life in a very clever and relevant way." The studio expects it to continue to play well into March, although it will have competition when "A Quiet Place Part II" opens March 20.
Paramount Pictures' "Sonic the Hedgehog" slid to second place in its third weekend. "The Call of the Wild," with Harrison Ford, placed third. Fourth went to the animé superhero film "My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising" which opened to $6.3 million from just 1,260 screens.
In limited release, "Wendy," Benh Zeitlin's long-awaited follow-up to his Oscar-nominated film "Beasts of the Southern Wild," got off to a bumpy start with $30,000 from four theaters.
The box office is up nearly 3.5%. "This weekend it was business as usual in North American theaters," analyst Paul Dergarabedian said. "People went to the movies to escape the trials and tribulations of the real world."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday:
1. "The Invisible Man," $29 million.
2. "Sonic The Hedgehog," $16 million.
3. "The Call of the Wild," $13.2 million.
4. "My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising," $6.3 million.
5. "Bad Boys for Life," $4.3 million.
6. "Birds of Prey," $4.1 million.
7. "Impractical Jokers: The Movie," $3.5 million.
8. "1917," $2.7 million.
9. "Brahms: The Boy II," $2.6 million.
10. "Blumhouse's Fantasy Island," $2.3 million.