Sonic the Hedgehog has been one of the most talked about movies of 2020 already. Although that's in large part because the movie was supposed to come out in 2019. The first trailer for the film was met with such a negative response online, due to the look of the CGI title character, the movie was delayed into 2020 so that Sonic could be redesigned.
We saw the new look for the character recently and the internet breathed a sigh of relief, but what does the new look for the character mean for the box office? According to the early tracking, it means somewhere in the range of $20-$30 million domestically on opening weekend.
The Sonic number is about what we would expect from the major wide release coming out on that weekend. Alita: Battle Angel did just short of $30 million during that weekend in 2019. The LEGO Batman Movie did just over $30 million in 2017. 2018 is something of an outlier as that was the weekend Black Panther was released, and it did nearly $300 million and set all sorts of February records.
Sonic is a popular character with a certain segment of the audience and there's a feeling that if the adults who grew up with Sonic take their kids to the movie, it could do well, especially since there aren't any other family oriented films coming out around the time of Sonic.
Also, the positive buzz the movie now has following the redesign should help. It's certainly better than where the movie would be if the original design was still causing negative reactions.
Of course, there is still the fact that Sonic the Hedgehog is ultimately a video game movie, and in the end, video game movies have had a difficult track record. They rarely bring in massive box office dollars. Sonic is looking to do more or less "as expected" but isn't tracking to set any records.
And of course, big box office dollars are all the more important for a movie like Sonic the Hedgehog. While we'll likely ever know just how much more money was spent on the redesign of the character following that first trailer, the fact is that the movie now has that much more of a budget shortfall to makeup.
If the redesign doesn't bring in more of an audience, the decision to make the fixes could ultimately burn the Sonic movie, making it less profitable than it could have been by simply going with the unpopular design.
It's still quite early so these numbers will likely change as we get closer to release. People may start to get really excited about Sonic the closer we get to actually seeing it.