A few years ago Universal Pictures created Dark Universe in order to produce new adaptations and remakes of the monster movies of the classic Universal Monsters film series. The first film to be produced by the new label was Dracula Untold (2014), directed by Gary Shore and starring Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper and Charles Dance. The movie received a mixed financial and critical reception resulted, and the future films of a planned franchise became uncertain. The second and most notable title of the Dark Universe reboots was The Mummy (2017), directed by Alex Kurtzman, with a notably higher budget and starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella. But, again, the movie received generally negative reviews from critics and performed below the studio’s expectations at the box office.
With Universal burnt out by the poor results of their new adaptations, the executives have decided to yield the exploitation rights to Blumhouse, a young company which is becoming one of the most important brands in horror movies of the last years. The first title that has been announced is the new version for The Invisible Man, and Leigh Whannell has been the chosen one to direct the adaptation of the popular novel written by H. G. Wells. This sounds like a good move for all the parts since Blumhouse have good confidence in Leigh Whannell since they produced his second film as writer and director, the adrenaline action thriller Upgrade (2018). Originally Johnny Depp was announced to be The Invisible Man when Universal was in charge of the new series of adaptations, but now it is yet to confirm if Blumhouse will respect that agreement or they will make their own version from scratch.
In the original novel, first published in 1897, The Invisible Man tells the story of Griffin, a gifted young medical student with albinism who has devoted himself to research into optics and invents a way to change a body’s refractive index to that of air so that it neither absorbs nor reflects light and thus becomes invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself but fails in his attempt to reverse it. The novel, as an adaptation or merely as a conceptual origin, has inspired a good bunch of movies not always in the terrains of horror and science fiction. A few one of the most notable ones are The Invisible Man (1933) directed by James Whale, Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) by John Carpenter, Hollow Man (2000) by Paul Verhoeven or the TV series The Invisible Man (1975–1976).
We will have to wait and see how this new adaptation of The Invisible Man performs in the box office to know if Universal Pictures and Blumhouse will go on with the Dark Universe planned films. Other rebooted versions of the classic characters that were announced to have films in development included the Wolf Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, besides the already announced casting of Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde and Javier Bardem as the Frankenstein monster.
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