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There was a time in the not too distant past when Sonic the Hedgehog’s failure seemed all too likely. Now, just a month after its release in theaters, it’s standing on the precipice of an enormous box office milestone: It’s about to become the highest-grossing video game movie of all time in the United States.
Sonic the Hedgehog grossed $143.2 million domestically through March 12. That was a hair length behind the current record holder, Detective Pikachu and its $144.1 million gross. Sonic the Hedgehog needed to make less than $1 million yesterday to overtake Pikachu. And even with growing calls for social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems likely that it crossed that mark, given that it made over $10 million last weekend. Other high-grossing video game films in the United States include Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ($131.2 million), The Angry Birds Movie ($107.5 million) and Rampage ($101 million).
This is a huge win for the entire Sonic the Hedgehog team -- especially given the hurdles the film had to overcome to even make it to theaters. After a unanimously negative response to the eponymous hero’s appearance in the first trailer, filmmakers went back to the drawing board to redesign Sonic. Though it was a big financial gamble, it now looks like it may have paid off.
Sonic the Hedgehog’s success, while not a foregone conclusion, seems to be driven by the fact that it’s actually a pretty good movie. By and large, critics had good things to say about the film - it holds a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. CinemaBlend’s own Mike Reyes gave Sonic the Hedgehog 3.5 stars and commended it for adapting its source material in a way that feels both fresh and accurate. And fans -- who were once so dubious about the film’s prospects -- really seem to have enjoyed seeing Sonic the Hedgehog. It has a 93% Audience Score on RT and an A rating on CinemaScore.
So, basically any way you cut it, Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the bigger cinematic success stories of 2020 (at least, thus far). However, despite its domestic box office domination, it still has quite a ways to go to catch up to other video game films internationally. As far as the worldwide box office is concerned, Warcraft appears to be the current winner with $439 million, followed closely behind by Detective Pikachu at $433 million. After that is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time at $336 million. Sonic the Hedgehog’s current worldwide gross is $301.9 million.
It’s hard to say how much momentum Sonic the Hedgehog still has left at the box office, and whether or not it will be able to climb up another spot in the global rankings. But the film’s surprising success could have potentially been enough to kickstart a franchise, which would undoubtedly mean more box office success in the future.