The redesigned "Sonic the Hedgehog" showed plenty of teeth at the box office, speeding to a $57 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday, while "Parasite" saw one of the largest post-Oscars bumps in years following its best picture win.
Paramount Pictures' "Sonic the Hedgehog" came in well above expectations, especially for a movie that just months ago was a laughing stock. After its first trailer was greeted with ridicule on social media last year, "Sonic" was postponed three months to give its title character a design overhaul — including fixing Sonic's eerily human teeth.
The makeover worked and audiences responded by making "Sonic the Hedgehog" the weekend's top film and the highest-grossing opening for a video game adaptation, not accounting for inflation. For Paramount, it's a welcome success following misfires such as "Gemini Man" and "Terminator: Dark Fate." The studio estimates "Sonic" will gross $68 million over the four-day Presidents Day holiday weekend.
"If you don't listen to your customer, and this goes for any business, then you're going to fail," said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount. "We retooled Sonic in a way that was obviously very satisfying for the fans and they were very forgiving. Now that they've seen the movie, they love the movie. It all worked out."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters:
1. "Sonic the Hedgehog," $57 million.
2. "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey," $17.1 million.
3. "Fantasy Island," $12.4 million.
4. "The Photograph," $12.3 million.
5. "Bad Boys for Life," $11.3 million.
6. "1917," $8.1 million.
7. "Jumanji: The Next Level," $5.7 million.
8. "Parasite," $5.5 million.
9. "Dolittle," $5.1 million.
10. "Downhill," $4.7 million.