Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog got off to a solid start Thursday night, scoring $3 million from shows that began at 5 PM at 3,150 locations.
That number is the same as what DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World made last February — a $3M Thursday off 6 PM showtimes — before soaring to a $55M opening weekend. Other titles Sonic is being compared to off its previews include Lego Batman ($2.2M, 5 PM previews, $53M opening), Lego Movie 2 ($1.5M 4 PM previews, $34.1M opening), and MGM/UAR’s animated The Addams Family ($1.25M 4 PM previews, $30.3M opening). Tracking and industry estimates have a wide projection on the four-day total for Sonic: $40M-$50M.
After last weekend’s letdown with Warner Bros’ Birds of Prey coming in 37% under its projections with $33M, man, do theaters need a hit this weekend. Working in all studios’ and exhibitors’ favor is the holiday break, with 21% K-12 schools and 9% colleges off today and 90% K-12 and 32% colleges out Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.
Sonic is at 65% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, which though lower than it was yesterday still won’t hurt it because it’s a family film. Already there’s been a CinemaScore screening for the film, with Sonic TV spots touting an A- grade. Sonic‘s PostTrak exits were strong last night with 4 stars from general audiences, 4 stars from parents, and 5 stars from kids under 12. Of those who showed up, 60% were general audience, 40% were parents and kids. Boys under 12 outnumbered girls, 69%-31%. Definite recommend was 66% for general audiences, 72% from parents and 82% from kids — all great scores.
Lifelong fans of the Sega game are turning up wearing Sonic shirts, abundant at Wednesday’s special Los Angeles screening as well as last night’s 7 PM show at the Century City AMC which was sold out.
Universal’s Issa Rae-LaKeith Stanfield romance movie The Photograph earned $650,000 at 2,250 theaters last night from shows that began at 7 PM. The Stella Meghie-written and -directed film is expected to do between $12.5M-$15M over the four-day weekend. The pic expands to 2,516 theaters today. RT is at 79% fresh. Photograph‘s exits were 3 stars, a 49% definite recommend, with 51% females over 25, 31% males over 25 who were pulled in on a date, 12% women under 25 and 7% men under 25. Diversity demos were 47% African Americans, 33% Caucasians, 13% Hispanic, and 6% Asian.
Sony did not hold previews last night for Blumhouse’s feature take on the hit 1980s ABC show Fantasy Island. The studio held last-minute previews quite late: yesterday at 2 PM, and unfortunately that only makes us more suspicious about the $7M pic’s prospects here for the weekend. Tracking was lowered to $12M over the four-day frame yesterday from $13M-$15M.
Searchlight also has the Will Ferrell-Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy Downhill opening today at 2,301 theaters. Previews were held last night (and we’re waiting on them) because PostTrak audiences did not like the movie with a half-star and low 19% definite recommend. Maybe because it was the Farrell fans who showed up wanting something else, with guys over 25 at 46% (but they also brought dates, with women over 25 at 36%). Critics hated the remake of Force Majeure at 45% Rotten. The hoped-for opening is between $3.75M-$4.25M.
Birds of Prey ends the week with $42.1M at 4,236 locations. The Harley Quinn movie’s second four-day weekend is expected to be around $23M-$25M, off 25%-30% from the pic’s three-day total. If you’re looking for the film at your local cinema or online ticketing apps, it’s listed as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.