The Universal Monsters franchise reboot has been resurrected, and in stunning fashion. Believed to be dead in the water after the very first film in the reboot (2017’s The Mummy) failed to connect with audiences, Universal Pictures has changed course entirely. First announced by Variety, the studio has signed on director and horror veteran Leigh Whannell to direct a reboot of The Invisible Man! Also, in a reunion of sorts for Whannell, Blumhouse Productions will be producing the new film.
That’s not the only news to break surrounding the Universal Monsters, however. In a dramatic shift away from Universal’s original strategy of a big budget/interconnected universe called Dark Universe, the studio has decided instead to bring in “creative directors with distinctive visions” for the timeless horror monsters! Peter Cramer, the president of production for the studio, had this to say to Variety:
Throughout cinematic history, Universal’s classic monsters have been reinvented through the prism of each new filmmaker who brought these characters to life. 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.
To break it down simply, the Universal Monsters reboot will no longer be required to form a unified universe of films. In addition, there are reportedly no restrictions on each individual film’s budget, MPAA rating, or tone of each film. The A-list actors announced for the original failed reboot are no longer tied to any individual project, but could still appear at some point in the franchise. With that, Johnny Depp, originally tabbed to star in The Invisible Man, will reportedly no longer appear in the upcoming film.
There’s a lot of news to digest here, but everything about it should be beautiful music to horror fans’ ears. Regarding the shift in strategy for the Universal Monsters franchise, the studio clearly learned from its mistakes and successes. Their partnership with Blumhouse Pictures yielded critically acclaimed/box office hits such as Get Out, the Purge franchise, and 2018’s Halloween. Horror projects undoubtedly thrive when their creators are given artistic freedom, whereas they suffer when under the thumb of big studio productions (see: The Mummy). As for The Invisible Man reboot, Whannell’s resume speaks for itself. Writing and/or directing credits for the Saw and Insidious franchises aside, his 2018 feature Upgrade received critic and audience acclaim. Our beloved Universal Monsters are in good hands, fiends.
Stay tuned here at Nightmare On Film Street for more news surely to come surrounding these classic characters! Let us know who you’d cast as The Invisible Man on Twitter, in our Subreddit, or in the Fiend Club Facebook Group!