This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, in a scene from "Sonic the Hedgehog ."  Picture: Paramount Pictures/Sega of America via AP
This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, in a scene from "Sonic the Hedgehog ." Picture: Paramount Pictures/Sega of America via AP

'Sonic the Hedgehog' movie breaks box office record for video game adaptation

By Sonaiya Kelley/Los Angeles Times Time of article published Feb 17, 2020

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Los Angeles - In a weekend bookended by two holidays - Valentine's Day on Friday and Monday's Presidents Day - the box office enjoyed an increasingly rare slate of three (out of four) new releases landing among the top five.

Paramount's "Sonic the Hedgehog" premiered in first place with 57 million dollars and a projected 68 million dollars through the holiday, above analyst forecasts of 40 million to 45 million dollars for the three-day weekend and 50 million to 60 million dollars through the Presidents Day holiday.

Based on the Sega video-game character, the live-action and CGI hybrid follows Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and a small-town sheriff, Tom (James Marsden), as they defend a planet under attack by the villain Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).

It surpassed Warner Bros.' "Detective Pikachu," which earned 54.3 million dollars in its 2019 debut, as the highest domestic opening ever for a video-game adaptation.

The 87-million-dollar film, directed by Jeff Fowler, was forced to undergo a major redesign last year after fans reacted negatively to Sonic's CGI look in a trailer. The effort seems to have paid off _ the movie was well-received with an A CinemaScore and a 63 per cent "fresh" rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

In second place, Warner Bros.' "Birds of Prey" added 17.1 million dollars in its second weekend (a 48 per cent drop) and is projected to earn 19.6 million dollars through Monday, for a cumulative 59.3 million dollars.

At No. 3, Sony's Blumhouse-produced "Fantasy Island" opened with 12.4 million dollars over the weekend and is projected to earn 14 million dollars through Monday, within range of analyst predictions for the weekend of 12 million to 14 million dollars.

A reimagining of the '70s TV series, "Fantasy Island" was directed by Jeff Wadlow and stars Michael Pena as the enigmatic Mr. Roarke, who is tasked with bringing his guests' fantasies to life at a remote tropical resort.

The 7-million-dollar film also features Lucy Hale, Michael Rooker, Maggie Q, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang and Ryan Hansen. It was poorly received, with a C-minus CinemaScore and a mere 9 per cent "rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes.

In fourth place, Universal's "The Photograph" opened with 12.3 million dollars over the weekend and is projected to earn 13.4 million dollars through Monday, within range of analyst predictions of 12 million to 14 million dollars.

The romantic drama stars Issa Rae as a woman who falls for a journalist (Lakeith Stanfield) and comes to terms with her estranged photographer mother's complex past.

Directed by Stella Meghie, the 16-million-dollar movie was positively received with a B-plus CinemaScore and a 76 per cent Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Rounding out the top five, Sony's "Bad Boys for Life" added 11.3 million dollars in its fifth weekend and was expected to bring in 12.8 million dollars for Valentine's Day plus the holiday weekend, for a cumulative total of 181.3 million dollars.

At No. 6, Universal's "1917" and its three Academy Awards added 8.1 million dollars in its eighth weekend, for a cumulative 144.4 million dollars.

In seventh place, Sony's "Jumanji: The Next Level" added 5.7 million dollars in its 10th weekend, for a cumulative 305.7 million dollars.

At No. 8, Neon's "Parasite," buoyed by its best picture, director and original screenplay wins at last week's Oscars ceremony, added 941 locations and 5.5 million dollars in its 19th weekend, for a cumulative 43.2 million dollars.

In ninth place, Universal's "Dolittle" added 5.1 million dollars in its fifth weekend, for a cumulative 70.5 million dollars.

Rounding out the top 10, Searchlight's "Downhill" opened with 4.7 million dollars through the weekend and was projected to earn 5.2 million dollars through Monday, below analyst projections of 7 million dollars.

A remake of Ruben Ostlund's "Force Majeure," the black comedy stars Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a married couple on the outs.

It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews and was poorly received by moviegoers and critics with a D CinemaScore and a 41 per cent "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In limited release, Neon opened "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" on 22 screens to 440,907 dollars and an expected 514,707 dollars through Monday, for a per-screen average of 20,000 dollars. It was originally released in two theaters in December for an awards-qualifying run, opening to 33,672 dollars per screen.

This week, 20th Century Studios opens "The Call of the Wild," STX Entertainment reveals the horror film "Brahms: The Boy II," and Focus Features debuts the period dramedy "Emma." In limited release, IFC Films premieres the indie love story "Premature."

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