Jason Blum says Blumhouse's Invisible Man reboot will be low-budget and the studio is open to using scripts originally meant for the Dark Universe. The "Dark Universe" was the title that Universal gave to their planned shared universe of classic monster movie remakes, which 2017's The Mummy was designed to kick-off. For better or worse, things didn't work out and The Mummy disappointed at the box office, while at the same time earning poor reviews from critics and general audiences. The movie's failure left the Dark Universe dead in the water before it really had a chance to fully get off the ground.
Then, last summer, Blum was quoted as saying he'd like to resurrect the Dark Universe in some form or another. The mega-producer wasn't kidding around either, and has since set Leigh Whannell - the writer of Blumhouse's Insidious films and director of their acclaimed sci-fi action-thriller Upgrade - to write and direct an Invisible Man reboot for his studio and Universal. By the sound of it, Whannell is starting over from scratch on the film, rather than using the older screenplay that Ed Solomon (Now You See Me) wrote for the Dark Universe version starring Johnny Depp. According to Blum, however, that might not be the case with Blumhouse's other monster movie remakes.
In an interview with Collider to promote Happy Death Day 2U, Blum discussed the upcoming Invisible Man reboot and confirmed it will have a low budget on the level with Blumhouse's other horror movies. He also spoke briefly about Whannell's pitch and why he found it compelling:
“It was like the Blumhouse version of The Invisible Man, it’s a lower-budget movie. It’s not dependent on special effects, CGI, stunts. It’s super character-driven, it’s really compelling, it’s [thrilling], it’s edgy, it feels new. Those were all things that felt like they fit with what our company does. And it happened to be an Invisible Man story, so it checked both boxes. And we responded to it because I think Leigh is just an A+ director.”
It's no surprise to hear that Whannell's Invisible Man will have a small budget (no more than $10 million, according to Blum). Starting with the original Paranormal Activity in 2009, Blumhouse has carved out a niche for itself as the go-to source for inexpensive thrillers and/or horror movies. Because they cost less, the films are generally able to take bigger risks and stray further from the formulaic approaches that studios prefer to use on their big-budget tentpoles and franchise movies. Blumhouse's films often turn out better for it, as evidenced by the strong critical receptions to an increasing number of their movies in recent years (Split, Get Out, Halloween, etc.). Whannell is already comfortable with drawing from a small budget anyway, so there's all the less reason for Blum to change that strategy with Invisible Man, especially after the costly failure of The Mummy reboot.
Bringing the conversation back to the Dark Universe: Blum told Collider that he's already looked at some of the older scripts for the franchise and said he would be "open" to using them, assuming they can be reconfigured to fit with Blumhouse's low-budget model. It's known that Universal had Dark Universe screenplays for Bride of Frankenstein and The Wolfman well into development before the franchise was abandoned, and there could be even more that were never reported on. At the same time, Blumhouse is also known for taking films one at a time, even when it comes to their long-running properties. That's to say, they'll probably wait to see how Invisible Man fares before green-lighting any other revived Dark Universe projects.