The Invisible Man (2020 film)

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The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man (2020 film) - release poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLeigh Whannell
Produced by
Written byLeigh Whannell
Based onThe Invisible Man
by H. G. Wells
Music byBenjamin Wallfisch
CinematographyStefan Duscio
Edited byAndy Canny
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • February 27, 2020 (2020-02-27) (Australia)
  • February 28, 2020 (2020-02-28) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes
  • United States
  • Australia
Budget$7 million[1]
Box office$124.5 million[2][1]

The Invisible Man is a 2020 science fiction horror film written and directed by Leigh Whannell. It follows a woman who, after the apparent suicide of her abusive and wealthy boyfriend, believes she is being stalked by him.[3] She ultimately deduces that he has acquired the ability to become invisible.[4] The film stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. It is an international co-production of the United States and Australia.

The development of a new Invisible Man film began as early as 2006. The project was revived as part of Universal's shared cinematic universe in 2016, intended to consist of their classic monsters, with Johnny Depp attached to star in the title role. After The Mummy was released in 2017 to critical and financial failure, development was halted on all projects. In early 2019, the studio changed their plans from a serialized universe to films based on individualized story-telling, and the project reentered development. Principal photography lasted from July to September 2019 in Sydney, Australia.

The Invisible Man was theatrically released in the United States on February 28, 2020, by Universal Pictures. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for Moss' performance, its inventive modernization of the novel's plot, and the combination of scares with "a smart narrative about how women can be manipulated and abused in harmful relationships".[5] The film also became a commercial success, grossing $124 million worldwide against a $7 million budget and it is currently the fifth highest-grossing film of 2020. However, due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic closing theaters across the globe, Universal announced the film would be made available digitally-on-demand just three weeks after it was released theatrically.


Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with wealthy optics engineer and businessman Adrian Griffin, Cecilia Kass drugs him with Diazepam and escapes their home into the nearby woods to wait for her sister, Emily. After she arrives, Adrian nearly catches Cecilia, but the pair are able to escape.

Cecilia hides out with childhood friend James, and his teenage daughter Sydney. Two weeks later, Adrian seemingly commits suicide and leaves Cecilia $5 million in his will, handled and organized by his lawyer brother, Tom. As Cecilia tries to move forward, she is plagued by several unexplained experiences. During a job interview, she faints after finding her portfolio's contents removed and is taken to the hospital. Later, the doctor calls and says they found high levels of Diazepam in her system. Shortly after returning home, Cecilia finds the same bottle she drugged Adrian with, which she dropped during her escape, in her bathroom.

She arranges a meeting with Tom and James, insisting that Adrian faked his death and used his optics expertise to become invisible in order to torment her, but gets rebuffed. Cecilia turns to her sister, but Emily refuses to acknowledge her after receiving an email from Cecilia's account stating she never wants to see her again. Later, she is comforted by Sydney, but Sydney is hit by an unseen force, leading her and James to assume Cecilia did it. While a furious James rushes his daughter out of the house, Cecilia tries a number of tactics to catch the figure. After finding Adrian's old phone in the attic and covering the figure with paint, she ends up in a violent struggle and escapes to Adrian's home to investigate. In his lab, she finds a suit that confirms her suspicions. After hiding it in a closet, the invisible figure attacks again, so Cecilia flees and contacts Emily. The pair meet in a restaurant, though as Cecilia begins to tell her what she found, the invisible figure slits Emily's throat with a knife and places it in Cecilia's hand, framing her for the crime.

Remanded to a mental hospital while she awaits trial, the staff informs Cecilia that she is pregnant. Tom visits her and offers to get her charges dropped if she agrees to "return to him" and raise the child, implying that he helped his brother stage his suicide while revealing Adrian tampered with her birth control to ensure she became pregnant. Cecilia refuses to take the deal and steals a pen from his briefcase. That night, she uses the pen to pretend to commit suicide to draw the invisible figure out. When the figure tries to stop her, she stabs him repeatedly, causing the suit to malfunction. The security team arrive, but the invisible figure violently incapacitates them before fleeing the hospital, with Cecilia in pursuit. Promising not to harm her because of her pregnancy, the figure instead threatens to attack those she loves.

Cecilia races to James' house, where she finds the invisible figure attacking him and Sydney. She manages to shoot the figure after spraying him with a fire extinguisher, but when she unmasks him, she finds Tom in the suit. Police find a captive Adrian alive at his house, tied up in his basement and claiming Tom held him prisoner. Cecilia quickly disagrees, insisting the brothers must have shared the suit, with Adrian sending Tom to the house knowing what would happen.

In an attempt to get Adrian to confess, she meets him at his house to discuss her pregnancy while James listens in on a wire. She agrees to mend their relationship, but only if he confesses to being the invisible figure. Adrian insists Tom did kidnap him, claiming that the experience changed his outlook on life and how he treated her in their relationship. When she begins to cry, Adrian alludes to former abuse using similar phrasing to that of the invisible figure. Smiling, Cecilia departs to use the restroom. Moments later, the room's security camera captures Adrian seemingly committing suicide. Cecilia returns and, apparently distraught, calls the police. Out of the camera's sight, however, she silently taunts Adrian, having retrieved the spare suit she hid earlier to kill him.

When James arrives and asks what happened, she confirms what the camera saw. He spots the suit in her bag, but accepts her story and allows her to leave. Relieved and overjoyed, Cecilia leaves the house with the suit.




Development of a new The Invisible Man film began as early as 2006 when David S. Goyer was hired to write the screenplay.[6] Goyer remained attached to the project as late as 2011, with little to no further development on the film.[7]

In February 2016, the project was announced to be revived as part of Universal's cinematic universe, intended to consist of their classic monsters. Johnny Depp was cast as the titular character, with Ed Solomon writing the screenplay.[8] The film was set to be part of Universal Pictures' modern-day reboot of their Universal Monsters, called Dark Universe. The would-be series of films was set to begin with The Mummy and followed by a remake of Bride of Frankenstein in 2019. In 2017, The Mummy director Alex Kurtzman stated that fans should expect at least one film per year in the shared film universe.[9] However, once The Mummy was released to negative critical reception and box office returns deemed by the studio as insufficient, changes were made to the Dark Universe to focus on individual storytelling and move away from the shared universe concept.[10]

In January 2019, Universal announced that all future movies film on their horror characters would focus on standalone stories, avoiding inter-connectivity.[11] Successful horror film producer Jason Blum, founder of production company Blumhouse Productions,[12] had at various times publicly expressed his interest in reviving and working on future installments within the Dark Universe films. The Invisible Man was set to be written and directed by Leigh Whannell, and produced by Blum, but would not star Depp as previously reported.[13]

On February 22, 2020, during an interview with Cinemablend's ReelBlend Podcast, Whannell stated that the film was never planned to be part of any cinematic universe, including the Dark Universe.[14] He stated,

"It was weird, this film came about in a really random way. It wasn't like I was plugged into some kind of worldbuilding. I had just finished Upgrade, they called me in for a meeting with some of these Universal and Blumhouse execs… I go to this meeting, and they didn't really talk about Upgrade. I mean, they said they liked it and they moved on. So, I'm sitting on this couch thinking, 'What am I here for? What is this meeting about?' And they started talking about The Invisible Man."[14]


In March 2019, Elisabeth Moss entered early negotiations to star,[15] with her official casting the following month.[16] Storm Reid, Aldis Hodge, and Harriet Dyer later joined the cast,[17] with Oliver Jackson-Cohen set to play the titular role in July.[18]


Principal photography began on July 16, 2019 and ended on September 17, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.[19]


Benjamin Wallfisch composed the music for the film.[20] Back Lot Music has released the soundtrack.


The Invisible Man was theatrically released in the United States on February 28, 2020 by Universal Pictures.[21] It was originally scheduled for release on March 13, 2020, but in August 2019 was moved up two weeks.[22] On March 20, it was one of many films prematurely released to streaming platforms for rent in response to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.[23]


Box office[edit]

As of March 25, 2020, The Invisible Man has grossed $64.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $59.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $124.5 million.[2][1]

In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $24–30 million from 3,610 theaters in its opening weekend.[5] It made $9.8 million on its first day, including $1.65 million from Thursday night previews. The film went on to debut to $28.9 million, topping the box office.[24] The film made $15.1 million in its second weekend (dropping 46%, above-average for a horror film) and then $5.9 million in its third weekend.[25] In the film's fourth weekend, due to the mass theater closures around the country, it made $64,000 from 111 locations, mostly drive-ins.[26]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 91% of 345 reviews of the film were positive, with an average rating of 7.69/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Smart, well-acted, and above all scary, The Invisible Man proves that sometimes, the classic source material for a fresh reboot can be hiding in plain sight."[27] Metacritic calculated a weighted average score of 71 out of 100 based on 57 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[28] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, and PostTrak reported it received an overall positive score of 76% and an average four out of five stars, with 53% of people they polled saying they would definitely recommend the film.[24]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that Moss's performance "gives the movie its emotional stakes," adding, "while her agony can be unnerving, it is even more shivery when her weeping stops and this horror-movie damsel in distress becomes a threat."[29] Writing for The A. V. Club, Jesse Hassenger gave the film a "B+", also praising Moss's performance and the film's centering of her character's experience;[30] the publication followed up with a video review from senior writer Katie Rife and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who also gave a positive review, for the aesthetic and filmmaking of Blumhouse Productions and Moss's performance.[31] Alison Willmore of Vulture commented about the effectiveness of Moss's facial expressions, and said that she "has established herself as an empress of the onscreen breakdown, our lady of ruined eye makeup".[32] Patrick Cavanaugh of gave the film four out of five stars, and wrote that Whannell's film is "an experience that is both effective as a full-blown horror film and as a chilling reminder of the abuse one can suffer from a supposed loved one."[33]

Conversely, Nicholas Barber from BBC gave the film 2 out of 5 stars, opining that "the latest remake of the HG Wells tale offers a timely feminist spin – but it's lacking in thrills." He criticized the film's vagueness, concluding, "at a time when small-scale horror movies can be as stunning as A Quiet Place and Get Out, a film as perfunctory as The Invisible Man feels insulting."[34]

Franchise future[edit]

In November 2019, it was announced that a spin-off film centered around the female counterpart to Invisible Man was in development. Elizabeth Banks was set to star in, direct, and produce a new adaptation of The Invisible Woman (1940), based on her own original story pitch. Erin Cressida Wilson will write the script for the reboot of the female monster, while Max Handelman and Alison Small will serve as producer and executive producer, respectively.[35] Banks was allowed to choose a project by Universal Pictures from the roster of Universal Monsters, ultimately choosing The Invisible Woman.[36]


  1. ^ a b c "The Invisible Man (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "The Invisible Man (2020)". The Numbers. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  3. ^ Bridget, Hill (February 29, 2020). "Invisible Man Pulls In A Solid Box Office Weekend". Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  4. ^ David, Sims (February 27, 2020). "This Time, The Invisible Man Is Really About a Woman". Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Jeremy Fuster (February 25, 2020). "Will 'The Invisible Man' Become a Box Office Hit No One Sees Coming?". TheWrap. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Billington, Alex (December 12, 2008). "David S. Goyer Directing The Invisible Man Before Magneto". Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  7. ^ "David S. Goyer's 'Invisible Man' Remake Is Still Alive". Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  8. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming; Jr, Mike Fleming (February 10, 2016). "Johnny Depp To Star In 'The Invisible Man' At Universal". Deadline. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Alex Kurtzman says monster movie fans should get one Dark Universe film a year". June 6, 2017. Archived from the original on November 10, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  10. ^
  11. ^ ‘Invisible Man’ Finds Director, Sets New Course for Universal’s Monster Legacy (EXCLUSIVE)
  12. ^ Cunningham, Todd (July 20, 2014). "Blumhouse Signs 10-Year Production Deal With Universal Pictures". The Wrap. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Mahmoud, Sarah El (February 22, 2020). "The Invisible Man Was Never Considered A Part Of The Dark Universe, Leigh Whannell Reveals". Cinemablend.
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin; Kroll, Justin (March 1, 2019). "Elisabeth Moss Circling Universal's 'Invisible Man' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony; D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 12, 2019). "Elisabeth Moss Officially Boards Universal-Blumhouse's 'The Invisible Man'". Deadline. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  17. ^
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony; D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 12, 2019). "Blumhouse & Universal Find Their 'Invisible Man' In Oliver Jackson-Cohen". Deadline. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Benjamin Wallfisch Scoring Leigh Whannell's 'The Invisible Man' | Film Music Reporter". Film Music Reporter. January 28, 2020.
  21. ^ Hipes, Patrick (August 22, 2019). "Blumhouse's 'The Invisible Man' Will Emerge Two Weeks Earlier – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  22. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (May 20, 2019). "Blumhouse's 'The Invisible Man' Sets March 2020 Release Date". The Wrap. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  23. ^ Adams, Sam (March 16, 2020). "Universal Reacts to Coronavirus by Releasing New Movies Straight to Streaming". Slate. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  24. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 1, 2020). "'The Invisible Man' Sighting At B.O. Swells To $29M – Sunday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  25. ^
  26. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 23, 2020). "Drive-Ins Continue To Post Best Ticket Sales In Weekend Box Office Wiped Out By Theater Closures". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  27. ^ "The Invisible Man (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  28. ^ "The Invisible Man Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  29. ^ Dargis, Manohla (February 26, 2020). "'The Invisible Man' Review: Gaslight Nation, Domestic Edition". The New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  30. ^ Hassenger, Jesse (February 25, 2020). "A New Version of The Invisible Man Makes One of His Victims Intensely Visible". The A. V. Club. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  31. ^ Katie, Katie; Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (February 28, 2020). "Elisabeth Moss is Visibly Great in Blumhouse's New Take on The Invisible Man". Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  32. ^ Willmore, Alison (February 26, 2020). "Elisabeth Moss Makes The Invisible Man Worth Seeing". Vulture.
  33. ^ Cavanaugh, Patrick (February 25, 2020). "The Invisible Man Review: A Real-Life Movie Monster Breathes Life Into an Antiquated Concept". Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  34. ^ Barber, Nicholas (February 26, 2020). "Invisible Man film review: 'Nothing to see here'". BBC. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  35. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 26, 2019). "Elizabeth Banks to Direct, Star in Invisible Woman for Universal". Variety. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  36. ^ Donnelly, Matt; Donnelly, Matt (February 11, 2020). "Hollywood Still Trying to Put a Ring on Universal's 'Bride of Frankenstein' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 24, 2020.

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