“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” reached the top of the charts in its first weekend, earning an impressive $ 71 million according to estimates from Sunday’s studies. The Paramount sequel, rated PG, easily surpassed the other big newcomer of the weekend, Michael Bay’s “Ambulance,” which faltered in theaters.
“Sonic 2”, which brings back the director, screenwriter and cast of the first film, including James Marsden, Jim Carrey and Ben Schwartz, who voiced the video game’s blue character, premiered in 4,234 locations and actually surpassed the weekend of premiere of its predecessor. The first “Sonic the Hedgehog” opened the President’s Day holiday weekend in February 2020, earning $ 58 million in its first three days.
“The normal pattern nationwide is that the aftermath slips a bit,” said Chris Aronson, Paramount’s home distribution president. “But we certainly deviate from that trend.”
That a sequel opens 22% above the first, Aronson added, is “quite remarkable.”
“Sonic 2” was mixed with positive reviews from the critics and the audience was even more excited. They gave the CG / live action hybrid a strong “A” CinemaScore.
“The filmmakers did a great job of being at the service not only of the general public but of Sonic’s own fans,” Aronson said. “A lot of people think it’s a bigger and better movie than the first one.”
It’s an important weekend not only for the “Sonic” franchise, but also for PG-rated family movies. Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said one of the big questions about the pandemic was whether families would return to movie theaters with seemingly unlimited viewing options available at home. According to polls, families made up 58% of the “Sonic 2” audience.
“There was some indication that they wanted to come back with movies like‘ Sing 2 ’, but it changed within a few steps,” Dergarabedian said. “That says once and for all that families want to come back. It’s a very good indicator. Of the things that will come for family movies in 2022 with ‘Lightyear’ and the upcoming movie ‘Minions’.”
“Sonic 2” is also the latest in a series of theatrical hits for Paramount in 2022, including “Scream,” “Jackass Forever,” and “The Lost City,” which is still in the top five.
“Our marketing and distribution teams have a lot of merit,” Aronson said. “We were judicious in choosing our dates and knowing who our audience was for each one.”
And its next release could be the biggest so far. “Top Gun: Maverick” will be released on May 27th.
Meanwhile, “Ambulance” got off to a rough start on its first weekend. With an estimated revenue of $ 8.7 million, it opened behind Sony’s “Morbius” and “The Lost City.” Universal has reported Bay Bay’s nail biting on a bank robbery and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza Gonzalez.
Its lukewarm release turned out to be a puzzle for many. The reviews weren’t terrible (it’s 69% on Rotten Tomatoes versus “Sonic 2’s” 67%) and on paper “Ambulance” seems to be the kind of big-screen hit show that would attract major crowds to theaters.
“This is a filmmaker who will always be considered a very successful director, whether they like his films or not. The bar always rises for someone like that,” Dergarabedian said. “But this is a different kind of movie and I think that’s why we’re watching these numbers. It’s not about being ‘Transformers.’
“Sonic 2” wasn’t the only hit of the weekend. A24’s favorite, “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” spread across the country in its third weekend in theaters and grossed $ 6.1 million with just 1,250 screens.
“A24 has done a spectacular job in launching it on a platform launch and generating great enthusiasm,” Dergarabedian said.
The film, directed by Daniels and starring Michelle Yeoh, will be released in more theaters in the coming weeks.
Follow AP screenwriter Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr
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‘Sonic 2’ steals the weekend box office, but ‘Ambulance’ stops
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