Sonic Speeds to a Record $57 Million US Opening: Best Debut for a Video Game Film Ever

Image: Paramount Pictures

When the trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog debuted last year, moviegoers were expecting a flop due to the blue blur’s horrific, nightmare-inducing design. The universal outrage was unheard of, prompting Paramount to delay the film so its visual effects could be revised from the ground up.

While skeptics considered that a vain and pointless effort at salvaging an inevitable failure, they couldn’t have been more wrong.

Sonic the Hedgehog has crushed this weekend’s box office competition, exceeding all expectations with a remarkable $57 million debut. This happens to be the best opening ever for a film based on a video game franchise, beating previous record holders Pokemon: Detective Pikachu ($54 million) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ($47 million).

The movie hasn’t done too shabby overseas either, raking in $43 million in international markets thus far. “Leading the charge on the Hedgehog was Mexico with $6.7 M from 895 locations, followed by the UK with $6.2 M from 616, France’s $4.3 M at 622, Germany’s $3.3 M from 475, and Brazil’s $3 M from 629,” reports Deadline.

It’s an interesting turnaround for a movie that was initially ridiculed and destined to fail. VFX controversy aside, video game to film adaptations rarely turn out well – disappointing either critically and/or financially – but Sonic the Hedgehog has managed to reverse tradition by stealing both the wallets and hearts of fans.

Professional reviewers are split, but audiences seem to be enjoying the film because it respects the source material. Plenty of references and memes that only fans will get are strewn throughout the movie, and it even has a cameo from one of Sonic’s best buddies. Yes, we finally have a video game adaptation made by people who seemingly played them.

There’s some bad news, though. Moving Picture Company (MPC) – the VFX studio that arguably ruined and then saved the film – is now defunct. Some reports have blamed Sonic, claiming that Paramount’s do-over resulted in severe overtime and stress that buried the company. Nobody is sure whether that’s true or not, as MPC has blamed its shuttering on “increasing external market pressures.”

Sonic the Hedgehog is expected to run up to $68 million by the end of Presidents’ Day weekend. Is the golden age of video game films finally here?

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