As the major Hollywood studios, entrenched perhaps too much in the old ways, look to combat disruption caused by streaming services in the entertainment marketplace, there proves to be one thing that’s reliable: computer-generated animals.
As The Lion King proved last summer, creatures doing exactly what filmmakers want without needing to be fed are a ticket to box office gold. The top two pictures this weekend both star fuzzy critters made from zeros and ones you can’t help but want to nuzzle. But enough about James Marsden! I’m talking about Buck, the St. Bernard/Scotch Collie at the center of 20th Century’s The Call of the Wild, and everyone’s favorite numismatist shrew, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog.
The two films came quite close in the box office race this week, with Sonic winning by a snout. The domestic tally, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is $26.3 million for the SEGA video game adaptation and $24.8 million for the Harrison Ford-led adventure picture based on Jack London’s novel from 1903. Both films significantly outperformed their initial projections.
This puts the two-week total for Sonic across the $100 million mark, which is a much needed victory for its beleaguered studio, Paramount. They were positively shellacked in 2019 with high-profile misfires Terminator: Dark Fate and Gemini Man. Hope springs eternal, however, with eyes on two revived franchises, Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick and Eddie Murphy in Coming 2 America later this year. Still, it has to smart coming in dead last not just among the majors but even getting clobbered by the far smaller Lionsgate/Summit. Do they have a universally recognized arched gateway symbolizing the glamor of Hollywood? I think not! They barely have a working fax machine! (I kid, I kid, and mazel tov to Lionsgate on the success of Knives Out and John Wick: Chapter 3, it’s no wonder you had such a good year.)
Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey maintained a solid position in third place, bringing its worldwide total to $173.7 million. Based on the success of what’s in the one and two slot, though, one wonders if the movie gave a little more screen time to Harley Quinn’s hyena we’d be across the $200 million mark by now.
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