Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the sequel to the last big blockbuster before the pandemic, opens this weekend, keeping a steady stream of dollars into the theatrical marketplace with an estimated opening of $50 million-plus, and possibly $60M.
The first movie in February 2020 broke the video game feature adaptation curse for the genre, opening to $58M over 3 days, $70M over four, and winning over die-hard fans of the Sega character. In landing a new franchise, Paramount wasn’t going to mess up the second time around and kept director Jeff Fowler on board as well screenwriters Pat Casey and John Miller, with the addition of John Whittington.
The increased stakes for the sequel come with the expansion of Sonic universe with characters Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba, and Tails, voiced by one of the video game’s iconic voiceover performers, Colleen O’Shaughnessey. That latter piece of casting goes a long way with Sonic devotees.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is booked at 4,232 theaters. The movie has some PLFs. There’s a fan event tonight in just under 700 locations and previews start tomorrow at 3 p.m. The first movie grossed $3M in previews that started at 5 p.m. for a $20.9M opening day. There’s a lot of love here for the property, hence a lot of confidence for the sequel heading into a Friday where there’s rolling spring breaks, with 15% of K-12 schools out, as well as 4% pf colleges per comScore.
Sonic 2 has already minted a solid $30M abroad from 31 markets with another 22 debuting this weekend including in Latin America, Italy and Korea. Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes right now at 66% fresh are slightly higher than the first pic’s 63%. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 world premiered last night in the same place as the first film — Westwood’s Village Regency Theatre — and it was a déjà vu experience on par with two years ago with several video game vloggers in attendance and explosive cheers, especially with those end credits.
While Sonic the Hedgehog is targeting boys and girls ages 16-25, Universal is counterprogramming, eyeing older males with Michael’s Bay action movie Ambulance. However, the movie isn’t going to save any lives at the box office, seeing an $8M-$12M start (some prognosticators believe the movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza González won’t be able to crack double digits). It’s too bad, because we could use an extra layer of depth at the box office. Reviews aren’t as atrocious as The 355, Universal’s last action dud, 69% to 24% Rotten. The 355 died with $14.5M at the domestic box office after the studio shelled out $20M for the Jessica Chastain-Penélope Cruz-Diane Kruger-Lupita Nyong’o spy ensemble.
Ambulance is a co-production between New Republic Pictures, Bay Films, Endeavor Content and Project X Entertainment, and it’s based on the 2005 Danish film of the same name by Laurits Munch-Petersen and Lars Andreas Pedersen. Pic follows decorated veteran Will Sharp (Abdul-Mateen), who is desperate for money to cover his wife’s medical bills. He asks for help from the one person he knows he shouldn’t—his adopted brother Danny (Gyllenhaal). A charismatic career criminal, Danny instead offers him a score: the biggest bank heist in Los Angeles history. But when their getaway goes spectacularly wrong, the desperate brothers hijack an ambulance with a wounded cop clinging to life and ace paramedic Cam Thompson (González) onboard. We’ll see what happens here. Showtimes start on Thursday at 7 p.m., and Uni has all the Imax auditoriums for this one.
Going wide is A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, going from 38 sites to roughly 1,200. The outlook is $4M for The Daniels movie, which is 97% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and counts $1.36M though Tuesday, its 12th day in release.
Through five days, Sony/Marvel’s Morbius counts $43.8M. After underperforming at No. 1 with a $39M start, look for the Jared Leto vampire movie to drop 65% in Weekend 2 with around $13M. Despite Morbius coming in under where tracking was seeing it, make no mistake, exhibition isn’t going to swat away an opening like that.