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How do you solve a problem like the Sonic the Hedgehog movie? When the first trailer came out in April 2019, the backlash was so severe the filmmakers delayed the movie for a complete redesign of the main character. Now the movie is here. So are fans going to put their money where their mouths were? (Side note: I don't think that expression make sense either.)
Whatever happens from here, Sonic's box office results will set a precedent. If the movie is a hit, it may enable fans to point to Sonic as an example of how it works if you speak up/complain to get your way. If the movie is a loss, it may enable studios to point to Sonic as an example of it being a waste of time to try to adjust your film/show for the loud voices online.
What's the verdict for Sonic?
So far, it looks like the fans are turning out for redesigned Sonic! The early box office forecast for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie was around $20-$30 million at the domestic box office and it's now much higher. The movie had a strong showing on its opening night for Thursday previews, setting the stage for a potentially better-than-expected domestic debut.
Heading into this weekend, Box Office Mojo projected a three-day forecast of around $40 million, with a four-day Valentine's Day-to-Presidents' Day holiday weekend gross around $46 million. Deadline is now projecting waaaaaay above that -- a three-day around $54M and a four-day of $64 million. If that's the case, Sonic would easily set a new record for a video game movie debut.
That's a solid win, and may bode well for fans who speak up and studios who listen. Not that fans on the internet represent everyone, but in this case, the Sonic fan base stems from the video games. That base is digital savvy, opinionated, and vocal. And apparently they're walking the walk here and not just talking the talk. That's good to see.
But there was no guarantee fans would like the redesigned version. In this case, though, fans DID seem to like the redesign. Importantly, they also liked the rest of the movie. After all, Sonic's design is not a script. There needed to be a whole movie behind that character, however he looks.
Sonic the Hedgehog has an "A" CinemaScore from fans polled on opening night. Those would probably be the hardcore fans who rushed in to show their support first. So far, the Sonic movie has a 65% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a much more impressive 94% audience score, although only from 508 users so far. Over at IMDb, Sonic has a 7.0/10 rating so far from almost 4,000 users. Those user numbers will climb across the holiday weekend and we'll have to see if the scores stay high as more mainstream fans check out the film.
What about you, though? Have you seen Sonic yet? If not, do you plan to see it in the theater, wait for a home release, or skip it entirely? If you are skipping it, is it because of the design or the story or what?