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‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ breaks record for video game adaptation

By Los Angeles Times (TNS) - Feb 18,2020 - Last updated at Feb 18,2020

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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 and a projected $68 million through the holiday, above analyst forecasts of $40 million to $45 million for the three-day weekend and $50 million to $60 million 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 in its 2019 debut, as the highest domestic opening ever for a video-game adaptation.

The $87 million 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 in its second weekend (a 48 per cent drop) and is projected to earn $19.6 million through Monday, for a cumulative $59.3 million.

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

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 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 over the weekend and is projected to earn $13.4 million through Monday, within range of analyst predictions of $12 million to $14 million.

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 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 in its fifth weekend and was expected to bring in $12.8 million for Valentine’s Day plus the holiday weekend, for a cumulative total of $181.3 million.

At No. 6, Universal’s “1917” and its three Academy Awards added $8.1 million in its eighth weekend, for a cumulative $144.4 million.

In seventh place, Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” added $5.7 million in its 10th weekend, for a cumulative $305.7 million.

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 in its 19th weekend, for a cumulative $43.2 million.

In ninth place, Universal’s “Dolittle” added $5.1 million in its fifth weekend, for a cumulative $70.5 million.

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

A remake of Ruben Östlund’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 and an expected $514,707 through Monday, for a per-screen average of $20,000. It was originally released in two theatres in December for an awards-qualifying run, opening to $33,672 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”.

By Sonaiya Kelley

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