Box Office Oracle — 02/28/2020-03/01/2020

Welcome to the Box Office Oracle–where new movies are pitted against each other for box office supremacy and only one can claim victory. Each week, I will be doing a quick box office prediction for all wide new releases. Sorry, obscure indie films I’ve never heard of, but you aren’t going to be discussed here unless you become big.

This is also something I’m going to keep as free of “controversy” as I can. This means that if, I don’t know, Jon Voight is voicing an evil government agent talking bear in a DreamWorks movie, I’m not going to make a bunch of Trump jokes. If a Tom Cruise actioner comes out, I’m not going to make a bunch of Scientology cracks. You get the idea. I want for this to be kept fun and simple.

So, without any further discussion, let’s get into this weekend’s solo big new release, The Invisible Man.

The Invisible Man

The only new movie for the final weekend of February, this “remake” of the 1933 horror classic appears to strictly be one in name only. Starring Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale, Frosty Returns) as a woman whose supposedly deceased husband has apparently come up with a way to make himself disappear simply so he can terrorize herit seems to have a lot more in common with Hollow Man–or even the wonderful episode See No Evil of Batman: The Animated Series–than it does with its alleged source material.

What’s bizarre is the poster and trailer campaign are heavily using titles which echo the golden age of Universal horror, which feels misleading as this looks basically nothing like the original. Critics are pretty much fully on board with an 89% “freshness” rating over at RT, but many of them seem to be taking a “topical” approach with their reviews, behaving as though this is the first creepy stalker film ever made. But I digress. As I said when The Kitchen opened last August, Moss is more or less untested as a marquee star–I don’t think her presence is going to have any major swing one way or the other in terms of receipts–and even with the strong write-ups it seems unlikely that this will be able to break the tide of financial duds the genre has been through so far this year. Tracking has The Invisible Man at $25 million, but I’m not nearly that optimistic, especially since the movie has an R rating which it doesn’t seem to need. Look for $13 million.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: The moment in the trailer in which the titular invisible character forces an officer to shoot himself in the leg is pretty scary and cool.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: I haven’t watched the movie yet, but the previews seems to give everything about the plot away, right down to the film’s apparent climatic battle between Moss and her husband.

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $13 million opening; $30 million finish.

Other fun stuff…

* If I appear to be overly harsh on the new Invisible Man, it might be because the original is one of my very favorite horror movies of all time. It’s funny, sophisticated, appropriately scary, delightfully twisted, and has special effects which look cool even today. It also launched the film career of Claude Rains, whose commanding, distinctive voice dominated the movie in the best way possible.

* Funnily enough, the only character The Invisible Man didn’t terrorize in the original was his love interest, who could momentarily stop his madness (and was played by Titanic’s Gloria Stewart, no less!).

* It got a lot of hate at the time, but as a remake of a classic property, I actually found 2010’s The Wolfman to be gleeful spooky fun.

* I may never stop making jokes about how Moss was in 1992’s Frosty Returns. It’s just so fucking weird that a silly holiday special that everyone makes fun these days of is somehow connected to a TV show as dark as The Handmaid’s Tale of all things.

* I’m a tad late to the party, but Sonic the Hedgehog is fun. I probably wouldn’t say it’s as great (or as funny) as the actually quite clever Detective Pikachu, but it definitely works for what it is. Characters are very likable, and the action is pretty terrific (I had a huge grin on my face during the final world-jumping chase). Also, Jim Carrey is a hoot.

The Call of the Wild is probably a lot better than many might expect. The dog being done the way that he was ends up being the right call, and it’s a beautiful movie to look at as well. Plus it has Evil Dan Stevens.

* What will YOU be doing at the movies this weekend? Invisible people? Fast hedgehogs? Sound off in the comments!