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LOS ANGELES, April 10 (Variety.com) — “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” hit $71 million on its domestic box office debut, a hopeful indication that family audiences are feeling better about it. to return to the theatre.
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Taking the top spot, Paramount’s kid-friendly film topped Sony’s Marvel adaptation “Morbius” and Universal’s Michael Bay action-adventure “Ambulance,” which debuted to a disappointing $8 million.
Ticket sales for “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” set a new record for video game adaptations, edging the opening weekend record set by its predecessor, 2020’s “Sonic the Hedgehog.” raised $58 million in its first three days of release and ended President’s Day weekend with $70 million.
“It’s an exceptional opening,” says David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research. “With strong reviews and very strong ratings, ‘Sonic’ is going to have a strong run.”
Jeff Fowler returned to direct “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” after leading the original film to $319 million worldwide and setting a record for the highest-grossing video game adaptation in North America. Ben Schwartz returned to voice the fast blue creature with a knack for stopping bad guys and Jim Carrey reprized his role as mad scientist Doctor Robotnik, a combo that proved to be a hit among moviegoers. “Sonic 2” nabbed an “A” CinemaScore from audiences.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” cost $90 million, far more than the $40 million Bay and Universal paid for “Ambulance.” This is a relatively cheap price for “Ambulance”, which is heavy on explosives and special effects. However, the $40 million figure does not include the many millions spent on marketing and other efforts necessary to publicize the film’s release.
The lackluster start to “Ambulance” is another sign of changing consumer tastes. The kind of adrenalized, physics-defying mojo that turned past Bay movies like “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor” into zeitgeist-y hits doesn’t always work these days. In today’s theater environment, fewer genres seem to resonate with ticket buyers.