Last year after the first trailer was met with outcry by fans upset over the design of the title character in Sonic the Hedgehog, I thought the movie was in trouble. The creators spent a lot of money and redesigned the character, which I personally thought was a vain attempt to salvage a project that was already doomed. Earlier this week, however, my son told me that he wanted to go see Sonic the Hedgehog, even though he, too, mocked the original trailer. “They listened to the fans and made changes, and nobody ever does that,” my son said. My kid — who is in the target audience for this film — insisted on seeing it to honor the creators, and I took him because I liked the sentiment of that.
Turns out, it wasn’t a bad movie, either, notwithstanding the baffled reviews (and the mixed 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). Audiences loved it — giving it an A Cinemascore — and turned out in droves. The film earned $68 million over the four-day holiday weekend, and $57 million over the first three days of the weekend to achieve the biggest opening for a video-game movie ever, besting last year’s Detective Pikachu. After a series of duds (Gemini Man, Terminator: Dark Fate), Sonic is a big win for Paramount.
Warner Brothers, however, is probably still smarting a little over the disappointing (but not devastating) numbers for Birds of Prey, which dropped 48 percent over the weekend and earned $17 million over the four-day holiday. The film stands at $59 million domestic, and it is doing much better overseas. With an $84 million budget, it’s probably poised to crawl back its costs, but unfortunately — notwithstanding its title tweak — it is not particularly well positioned to spawn a sequel, which is a real bummer for those of us super into Black Canary and The Huntress.
In third place for the weekend is the bizarre Fantasy Island movie adaptation from Jason Blum. It’s received abysmal reviews (9 percent from Rotten Tomatoes) and a terrible Cinemascore (C-), and yet, it still beat expectations, earning $14 million over the four-day holiday. It’s from Blumhouse, too, so it was cheap — $7 million — so it’s basically doubled its budget already, because Blum knows how to earn money even with a stinker.
Fourth place goes to The Photograph, starring Issa Rae-LaKeith Stanfield in a straight romance. The movie earned $12.2 million on a $16 million budget, so while it’s not proving to be as financially successful as Fantasy Island, it’s doing just fine, thanks to solid reviews (76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and a fine Cinemascore (B+).
Holdovers occupied spots 5-9 this weekend (while tenth place goes to the weekly box-office dud). Bad Boys for Life continues to put up solid business, earning $12.45 million over the holiday. It’s now up to $182 million domestic and about double that including overseas moneys. 1917 did not make a particularly good showing at the Oscars, but it is still earning decent coin, putting up $9 million more to bring its total to $145 million. In its 10th week, Jumanji: Next Level has now officially crossed the $300 million mark with $8.4 million over four days. With another $8 million, Robert Downey Jr.’s Dolittle has earned $73 million, which would be quite respectable were it not for the fact that the film cost $175 million to make (with overseas box office, it may actually earn back its budget, but given the marketing budget and the cut that goes to exhibitors, this is still going to be a sizable write-down for Universal). Meanwhile, Parasite — the big winner at the Oscars last weekend — jumped back into the top ten after expanding into 2000 theaters in its 19th week. It earned $6.47 million over the holiday weekend to bring its total to $44 million.
Finally, Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus struck out with Downhill. The remake could only muster $5.2 million off of lukewarm reviews (41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and an abysmal D Cinemascore. As a producer, Will Ferrell continues to do well, but as a comedic lead, Ferrell has been on a long dry streak, save for the two Daddy’s Home films.
In any respect, next weekend sees two wide releases. Katie Holmes stars in Brahms: The Boy II, the sequel to the 2016 horror movie The Boy, and Harrison Ford takes on The Call of the Wild with a CGI sled dog.