Back in April of 2019, when Paramount released the first trailer of its much-anticipated Sonic The Hedgehog movie, the target audience’s reaction was not what the studio expected. Fans of the game hated the big-screen version of their beloved furry blue hero, taking to social media to loudly chastise its “creepiness” and “horrible teeth” that looked “terrifyingly human”.
Wisely, the studio took it to heart, pushing back the release date, initially scheduled for November of 2019, and giving director Jeff Fowler time and resources to fine-tune the movie’s non-human star.
It paid off: in North America, Sonic took the Presidents’ Weekend by storm, on track to hit $70 million by the end of the day this Monday, making it the fourth most lucrative release on the same weekend, behind Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther ($242million), Deadpool ($152.1 million) and Fifty Shades of Grey ($93 million). It also became the best box office performance of any game-based picture, and Jim Carrey’s second-best opening Stateside, behind Bruce Almighty.
The redesign was key, but so was the massive multi-platform campaign, with the combined forces of game creator Sega, a major push for the movie’s song, “Speed Me Up”, which amassed 15 million streams, and a TikTok challenge that hit 1.8 billion viewers.
International markets were a repeat of North America, with $ 43 million from 40 markets, racing past other similar pictures such as Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Peter Rabbit, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Pokemon Detective Pikachu.
Mexico was the hottest market for Sonic, bringing in $6.7 million, followed by the UK with $6.2 million, France with $4.3 million, Germany with $3.3 million and Brazil with $3 million. Sonic will open in Russia and Japan later, and China remains in suspense, owing to the coronavirus epidemic.
The other big box office news came from two much smaller movies: Parasite, Awards Season’s undisputed winner, and Golden Globe nominee Portrait of a Lady on Fire, both from Neon, currently the hottest independent in the industry. Directed by Céline Sciamma and starring Noémie Melrand and Adèle Haenel, Portrait of Lady on Fire expanded from two markets – Los Angeles and New York,- to six, on track for a cume of $ 633, 310
Now playing in 2001 screens in the US and Canada, Bong Joon-Ho’s social satire amassed $ 5.5 million so far, on track to hit the $ 6.7 mark by the end of the long weekend. Parasite is actually the number 8 slot of the North American Top 10 box with a cume of $44 million. Internationally, Parasite is taking a very lucrative victory this weekend, adding $12.8 million from 43 markets for a $161 million cume. Overall, the worldwide – US, Canada, and all international markets – take of the multi-winner is $204.3 million. Not bad for a film shot with an $11 million budget.
This week will bring us The Call of the Wild, with Harrison Ford and a motion-capture dog in another cinematic take of Jack London’s classic adventure; a new take on Jane Austen’s Emma, starring Anya Taylor-Joy; horror thriller Brahms: The Boy II and Michael Winterbottom’s Greed, a satire of the lifestyles of the ultra-rich.
See the latest box office estimates: