If its bumpy journey to the screen raised any doubts, Sonic the Hedgehog has dispelled them with a strong opening. Paramount Pictures’s hybrid feature, which is based on Sega’s iconic game property, hogged the box office this weekend, launching in the top spot.
The movie grossed an estimated $58 million domestically from 4,167 screens in its first three days, with the total rising to $70 million across the four-day Presidents’ Day weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. Meanwhile, it took $43 million in 41 overseas territories in three days — solid numbers for a film with a reported budget of $85–$90 million.
The domestic three-day total lands at the upper end of projections. It ranks as the best ever domestic opening for a movie based on a video game, beating last year’s Pokemon Detective Pikachu ($54.4 million), and the second-best for a Jim Carrey film after 2003’s Bruce Almighty ($67.9 million).
Paramount, which has had a wretched few years (as The New York Times recently detailed), will be breathing a sigh of relief. It pushed the film hard, combining a Super Bowl ad with a savvy social media campaign and Carrey’s charismatic presence. These numbers also vindicate its decision to redesign Sonic after his appearance in the film’s first trailer was widely mocked. The change appears to have placated fans. The film has received mixed reviews, with its Rotten Tomatoes score currently standing at 64%.
The movie could perform very strongly in Japan, Sonic’s homeland, where it will come out on March 20. Its release in China has been indefinitely postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which has shuttered the country’s theaters.
Jeff Fowler directs the film — his feature debut — from a screenplay by Pat Casey and Josh Miller. As well as Carrey, cast includes Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Adam Pally, and Neal McDonough. The producers are Neal H. Moritz, Toby Adcher, Toru Nakahara, and Takeshi Ito, and the executive producers are Hajime Satomi, Haruki Satomi, Masanao Maeda, Nan Morales, and Tim Miller. The animation and vfx were handled by Blur Studio, Digital Domain, Industrial Light & Magic, and MPC.