‘Sonic 2’ Grabs $72 Million as Biggest Covid-Era Kids Movie
(Bloomberg) -- “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” became the highest-grossing kids movie of the pandemic era, generating $72.1 million in its domestic debut in an encouraging sign for theater owners and film studios that families will return to cinemas.
The Paramount Pictures movie, a sequel to the February 2020 hit, was a key test for the industry. Previously, the biggest PG-rated movie released during the pandemic was Warner Bros.’s “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which took in $31.1 million in domestic ticket sales during its opening weekend in July 2021.
The Sonic sequel exceeded the $65 million estimate of Boxoffice Pro. The original “Sonic the Hedgehog” collected $58 million in domestic ticket sales over its February 2020 opening weekend.
“It’s a win for Paramount and a win for the industry,” Chris Aronson, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, said in an interview Sunday. Paramount would have been pleased even with a figure closer to $50 million, and he’s taking the fact that the film beat the original as a sign people are ready to return to theaters in larger numbers.
- “Sonic 2” is a combination live action and animated film. It tells the story of a blue spiny mammal that goes in search of an emerald before it can fall into the hands of the evil villain, Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey. “Parks and Recreation” actor Ben Schwartz is the voice of Sonic.
- The movie has a decent 67% critical approval rating on Rottentomatoes.com, which can help draw audiences back. It also benefited from the fact it’s based on a popular Sega Co. video game. Audiences favor movies with familiar brands, even when they are critically panned, like Sony Group’s Marvel installment “Morbius.”
- “Sonic 2” already made $26.1 million internationally last weekend. Before its wide release in the U.S. and Canada, the movie was available in 31 countries, mostly in Europe. This weekend it also opened in Asia and Latin America.
- The performance of “Sonic” bodes well for other upcoming family friendly films. Warner Bros. is scheduled to release “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” on April 15. That may make as much as $55 million during its opening weekend, according to Boxoffice Pro.
- The domestic box office has taken in $1.58 billion so far in 2022, an almost fivefold increase over the same period last year, industry researcher Comscore Inc. said Monday.
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