news No Hedging It — It’s a ‘Sonic’ Boom at the Weekend Box Office

Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (Paramount) came through and then some with a $71 million estimated opening weekend gross, overperforming even more than last week’s “Morbius” (Sony) disappointed.

“Sonic” benefits from being the first top-flight family theatrical release since “Sing 2” last Christmas. The February 21 release of Pixar’s “Turning Red” received much better reviews, but of course Disney made that a Disney+ exclusive outside of three limited runs.

The original “Sonic the Hedgehog” opened to $58 million on February 14, 2020 to become the last pre-Covid theatrical debut over $50 million. The second installment of a franchise often exceeds the first, which suggests $71 million represents a shot at normalcy. The summer is top heavy with sequels from major franchises; similar performances could mean exceeding expectations.

This extends Paramount’s consistent run of opening above projections and by some distance, it’s the best. After a minimum 45-day window, it will feed Paramount+ and presumably increase its family appeal.

Budgeted at $90 million, “Sonic” looks like it will be April’s standout release. “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (Warner Bros.), which opens next weekend in the U.S., just opened to around $58 million in 22 territories. With each of its two predecessors, those same territories generated twice as much. In the U.S./Canada, the first two “Fantastic Beasts” in November 2016 and 2018 opened to $74 million and $62 million respectively; this time around, the film will have the benefit of Easter weekend.

With “Sonic” providing a bit over 60 percent, total gross rose to $116 million and became the third weekend this year to see over $100 million. This weekend represents 80 percent of the same period three years ago and the four-week rolling comparison of the same dates rose to 63 percent.

Jake Gyllenhaal Ambulance



“Ambulance” (Universal), Michael Bay’s smaller-scale action film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, managed not-terrible reviews and a fine A- Cinemascore but landed at #4 with a weak $8.7 million. “Morbius” went from disappointing to worse with a horrific 74 percent second-weekend drop. “The Lost City” (Paramount) held better, off 38 percent for third spot.

Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) was impressive with about $6 million in 1,250 theaters. The SXSW-premiered title with strong younger-audience appeal expanded in its third weekend to land at #6. It is largely playing mainstream theaters, with signs of broader reach that will be tested with further expansion.

This weekend, the only title in the top 10 with home availability is “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony), which grossed under $1 million for #9. Next weekend, it could be down to none.

Two limited openings of note. The reissue of David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” (Janus) scored a strong showing at New York’s IFC Center (nearly $20,000 for the weekend), although the Los Angeles result was weak. “Viva Maestro” (Greenwich), a documentary about conductor Gustav Dudamel, opened well with $14,310 in two theaters, placing #1 at New York’s Film Forum and #2 at The Landmark in Los Angeles.

In a sign of different times, grosses for the well-reviewed “Cow” (IFC), “Donbass” (Film Movement), and “The Girl and the Spider” (Cinema Guild) went unreported. This was once a rarity, now is becoming more common. And just two weeks post-Oscars, the winners are barely a blip.

The Top 10

1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
(Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 47; Est. budget: $90 million

$71,000,000 in 4,234 theaters; PTA: $16,769; Cumulative: $71,000,000

2. Morbius (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$10,200,000 (-74%) in 4,268 (no change) theaters; PTA: $2,390; Cumulative: $57,077,000

3. The Lost City (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$9,165,000 (-38%) in 3,797 (-486) theaters; PTA: $2,414; Cumulative: $68,854,000

4. Ambulance (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 55; Est. budget: $40 million

$8,700,000 in 3,412 theaters; PTA: $2,550; Cumulative: $8,700,000

5. The Batman (Warner Bros.) Week 6; Last weekend #3

$6,500,000 (-41%) in 3,254 (-478) theaters; PTA: $1,998; Cumulative: $359,002,000

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 3; Last weekend #9

$6,059,000 (+462%) in 1,250 (+1,212) theaters; PTA: $4,847; Cumulative: $8,446,000

7. Uncharted (Sony) Week 8; Last weekend #4

$2,650,000 (-28%) in 2,318 (-756) theaters; PTA: $1,143; Cumulative: $142,952,000

8. Jujutsu Kaigen 0 (Crunchyroll) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$(est.) 800,000 (-59%) in 850 (-1,220) theaters; PTA: $941; Cumulative: $(est.) 30,493,000

9. Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony) Week 17; Last weekend #7; also on PVOD

$625,000 (-57%) in 1,009 (-696) theaters; PTA: $619; Cumulative: $803,816,000

10. RRR (Sarigama) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$(est.) 550,000 (-66%) in 326 (-874) theaters; PTA: $1,687; Cumulative: $(est.) 11,673,000


“Inland Empire”

Additional specialized/limited/independent releases

Viva Maestro (Greenwich) NEW

$14,310 in 2 theaters; PTA: $7,155

Aline (Roadside Attractions) NEW – Metacritic: 55; Festivals include: Cannes 2020

$20,785 in 61 theaters; PTA: $341

Inland Empire (518) REISSUE

$22,308 in 2 theaters; PTA: 11,154

You Won’t Be Alone (Focus) Week 2

$50,000 in 147 (no change) theaters; PTA: $340; Cumulative: $235,175

The Rose Maker (Music Box) Week 2

$13,423 in 20 (+14) theaters; PTA: $671; Cumulative: $26,569

Mothering Sunday (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3

$91,115 in 293 (+274) theaters; Cumulative: $129,410

The Outfit (Focus) Week 4

$40,000 in 140 (-266) theaters; Cumulative: $3,318,000

The Automat (Slice of Pie) – Week 8

$10,000 in 17 (-3) theaters; Cumulative: $146,533
I shudder to think how this would read if there were bad puns for every movie listed. I've seen it happen on webpages, and it's a travesty. lol.