Blumhouse/Universal’s soft reboot of its monster movies (formerly known as the Dark Universe) is just unfolding with its second official release, ‘The Wolfman’, but one thing this new universe has in common with other splashier shared universes is the trust of one guiding vision. ‘The Invisible Man’s director, Leigh Whannell, is returning to helm ‘The Wolfman’, which will star Ryan Gosling. Reportedly, Whannell had previously passed on this project, but Jason Blum’s wife, Schuker Blum, who is a producer on this project, asked him to reconsider. And he did!
‘The Invisible Man’ opened right before COVID-19 quarantine shutdowns forced theaters to close, but it raked in an impressive $29 million on a meager production budget of $7 million. It made $48.2 million worldwide on opening weekend, and its total theatrical gross was $129.4 million. It was then sent to VOD early, taking in even more money as people began sheltering in place. Elisabeth Moss starred as Cecilia Kass, an abused woman on the run after her rich fiancé appears to commit suicide but still seems to be stalking her invisibly.
This low-fi approach was adopted after the very expensive flop of ‘The Mummy’ in 2017, which killed plans for a big-budget string of interconnected films which turned Universal’s classic monster franchise into large-scale tentpoles. Audiences weren’t interested.
‘The Wolfman’ will be written by ‘Orange is the New Black’s Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo. Prior to Whannell’s hiring, it was rumored that ‘Bad Education’s Cory Finley had met with the studio to possibly helm. The approach to ‘The Wolfman’ was compared to Dan Gilroy’s 2014 thriller ‘Nightcrawler’, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal.
Universal’s classic original ‘The Wolfman’ was released in 1941. George Waggner directed and Lon Chaney Jr. starred as Larry Talbot, an American visiting Wales, where he is bitten by a wolf and turns into a supernatural creature. Claude Raines (The Invisible Man of the era) and Bela Lugosi (Dracula) appeared in supporting roles.
Are you excited to see how Blumhouse and Leigh Whannell approach the concept of ‘The Wolfman’ from a low-budget perspective?