“Sonic the Hedgehog” is off to the best start ever for a video game adaptation with a $70 million 4-day opening weekend. Now it is expected to stay No. 1 even with new competition from “The Call of the Wild,” the first 20th Century Fox film that will be released by Disney under the rebranded name 20th Century Studios.
It’s the start of what will be a slower late February period for the box office. Between the release rush of the first half of the month and what is expected to be a crowded March, theaters are largely keeping their distance from this period as it isn’t showing a lot of potential for new films to leg out. With its genre record and strong audience word of mouth, “Sonic the Hedgehog” should stay atop the charts while “The Call of the Wild” is expected to open No. 2 with an opening weekend of approximately $15 million.
For “Call of the Wild,” it will be a challenge to peel away the core family audience it is aiming towards from the very popular “Sonic.” Ideally, the film finds a lane with families that have older kids and teens that might be looking for something with a bit more intensity than the lighthearted “Sonic.” Based on the Jack London literary classic, the film stars Harrison Ford as the devoted companion of a St. Bernard named Buck, who is portrayed as a CGI character rather than by a real dog.
Early reviews from critics have been mixed-to-positive, with some criticizing the CGI Buck as being stuck in the uncanny valley while others praised the film for its entertaining action and earnest tone. The Rotten Tomatoes score currently sits at 67%, a score that won’t hurt its pre-release buzz but probably won’t do much to help it either. We will have to see whether there is a large slice of moviegoers that is interested in a family-friendly film that prefers irony-free adventure over the wisecracking and eye-popping flash and bang that made “Sonic” a success this past weekend.
“The Call of the Wild” is directed by Chris Sanders from an adapted screenplay by Michael Green. Ford stars alongside Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan and Bradley Whitford.
Also releasing wide is the STX horror film “Brahms: The Boy II,” the sequel to the 2016 film “The Boy” which grossed $64 million worldwide against a $10 million budget. Analysts who spoke to TheWrap predict a $5-8 million opening for this film, which would be slightly below the $10.7 million domestic opening for “The Boy.”
“Brahms: The Boy II” stars Katie Holmes as a mother whose family moves in to the Heelshire Mansion, unaware of the bloody events that occurred there during the events of “The Boy.” Soon, her son befriends the diabolical doll named Brahms, dragging the family into a face-to-face confrontation with the mansion’s darkest secret. William Brent Bell directed the film from a screenplay by Stacey Menear. The film currently does not have a Rotten Tomatoes score.