The family film tops last year's Detective Pikachu to earn the top spot

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 18, 2020 10:51 AM
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Audiences showed love to Sonic the Hedgehog over Presidents Day weekend — and the iconic video game mascot has a new record to prove it!

As domestic box office reports poured in after the holiday weekend, Sonic zoomed past industry projections to rake in an estimated $58 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. With Monday’s Presidents Day ticket sales included, the family film’s total haul comes to $70 million.

Sonic, with its three-day earnings, now holds the title of highest opening weekend for a big-screen adaptation of a video game property.

Based on the popular Sega gaming franchise, the movie just edges out 2019’s Pokémon Detective Pikachu‘s opening bow of $54 million, according to Variety.

The speedy blue hedgehog’s theatrical performance is ahead of other top video game movie opening weekends like 2016’s The Angry Birds Movie ($38 million) and 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ($47 million), IGN reported.

James Marsden in Sonic the Hedgehog

Success at the box office is especially good news for Sonic the Hedgehog after it bounced back from internet ridicule for its initial character animation for its titular hero.

When Paramount Pictures released the first trailer for the film — which stars Jim Carrey and James Marsdenfans were disapproving of Sonic’s humanoid design, not reminiscent of his look in the video game source material.

Originally intended for a Nov. 8, 2019, release date, the film was delayed three months in order to get the visual effects “just right,” director Jeff Fowler tweeted at the time. Sonic was soon redesigned in a move that now paid off for the studio.

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Jim Carrey in Sonic the Hedgehog
| Credit: Paramount Pictures

This is the first feature film from Fowler, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for his animated short film Gopher Broke. On Tuesday, the director shared his joy in the film’s success, thanking fans for “sticking with” it.

“There’s one word in my head this morning and it’s GRATITUDE,” he wrote. “THANK YOU to all the amazing people that helped make the #SonicMovie and most importantly thank you to the FANS for sticking with us and delivering an extraordinary RECORD-BREAKING weekend. Much ??? to all of you!!!”

Parks and Recreation star Ben Schwartz, who voices Sonic in the movie, echoed appreciation for the fans, tweeting: “It’s all because of the fans that we are here. Thanks for your feedback, your passion & for your love of Sonic. You did this. Thank you!”

Sonic the Hedgehog is now playing in theaters nationwide.