Oh sure! Call of the Wild might surprisingly top Sonic the Hedgehog (Which deserved to have a better second week hold!) in a seemingly dead heat for first place over $28 million to under $28 million (Unless Sonic goes How to Train Your Dragon 3 on us throughout the rest of the weekend) after a better than expected $8 million opening day but since Brahms: The Boy II earned $2 million for a possible $5 million debut, I think it’s more intriguing to talk about why the Horror genre might indeed be dying. Okay, when was the last time a horror movie did well? If you guessed It: Chapter Two, then you are correct because every horror movie after that has bellyflopped both critically and commercially despite being profitable with low low budgets. And yes, I’m counting the $95 million Cats as a horror movie that bombed even though saying that $95 million is “low” for a horror movie doesn’t seem right at all. Not a single horror movie made it past $75 million in global revenue after It: Chapter Two made more than $450 million. That’s bad. So yeah, Black Christmas. Savaged by critics and audiences and bombed. Cats. Ravaged by critics and audiences and bombed. The Grudge. Massacred by critics and audiences and bombed. Underwater. didn’t do well with critics, destroyed by audiences and bombed. The Turning. Panned by critics and audiences and bombed. Gretel and Hansel. wasn’t a critical darling, stomped on by audiences and bombed. Fantasy Island. Annihilated by critics and audiences and bombed. And now Brahms: The Boy II. Roasted by critics and audiences and will bomb this weekend. If Invisible Man (Or A Quiet Place: Part II) doesn’t get its foot in the pedal to save the genre, then Hollywood might have to omit Horror as a genre for future movies and probably replace it the newfangled “Mystery-Fi” genre Netflix’s (Terrific) Stranger Things TV series invented when it premiered on the second biggest streaming service in the world (Disney+ is now your ruler!) 4 years ago. And as someone who doesn’t watch horror films, if this happens, my feelings will be twofold, on one hand, Hollywood won’t make gory or violent or scary horror movies anymore. On the other, I love the Mystery-Fi genre Stranger Things invented so I wouldn’t mind seeing movies that are under that newly made genre. So yeah, if anything, horror is not doing well because Hollywood is running out of ideas for that genre and is just making the same movie over and over again. And to wit, Horror used to be huge now it’s just a genre that keeps pumping out movies nobody watches or likes. Hey! Maybe we should start seeing PG-13 rated Mystery-Fi movies getting theatrical releases sometime! Alas, barring a miracle next week or in March with Quiet Place 2, the once mighty go-to genre for scary movies is getting… Uh… itself killed.
Looks like Paramount just earned themselves a brand new franchise as Sonic the Hedgehog earned a boffo $57 million over the three day weekend and a possible $68 million Presidents’ Day haul. That is much better than expected and shows that listening to the internet can be a good thing. However, like Bad Boys For Life (Another Movie that opened on a holiday weekend and crushed expectations) it could go up to $60 million+ over the three day weekend and $70 million+ over the four day weekend during the actuals.
There are a few reasons why the movie did so well. First off, Paramount redesigning the character and moving it from November 2019 to Valentine’s Day 2020 turned out to be a smart move. Second, it was promoted to heck so yeah, that was an obvious sign that it was going to be a monster hit. And finally, the fact that we’ve been flooded with R rated movies for weeks (All due respect to the PG rated Doolittle) made it stand out. And we haven’t gotten a family movie that looked like a monster hit since Jumanji: The next level (Which crossed $300 million domestic just before the weekend).
Solid reviews, the fact that it’s fun and entertaining, an A Cinemascore (Its the first video game movie to ever earn an A on Cinemascore), and a user rating of 95% all suggest that it will not only become the biggest video game film of all time but also the most successful video game movie ever. Overseas is a little tricky because of China’s movie theater shutdown. But If it has good legs, it will become the first video game movie to ever reach $200 million domestic which is possible because Call of the Wild is tracking really low. And we don’t have another big event movie until Pixar’s Onward (Which I hate the fact that it’s tracking to open closer to Ratatouille than WALL-E).
And with a likely Presidents’ Day haul of nearly $70 million, I’m pretty sure Paramount will think about what they’re gonna do for a sequel. And yes that post credit scene (Which I’m not going to spoil) does set up for a sequel. And yes it became the third movie in a row that doesn’t involve superheroes or has to deal with King Mickey to actually get turned into a franchise after Jumanji and Bad Boys. Amazing. It really deserves this kind of success. And with A Quiet Place Part 2 shaping up to open like a breakout sequel but not have the same legs as the first movie, looks like Paramount will no longer be the most hated kid on the block.
Last week’s winner Birds of Prey slipped a spot to second. After a dreary $33 million debut last week, it held on okay falling 48% to $17 million for a possible $20 million Presidents’ Day haul. This is a case of too little too late. As the film will have $62 million at the end of the holiday. And yes it may make less in total than how much Wonder Woman made on opening weekend. Had the movie opened to $62 million, it would have done better. But that’s only if it was called Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey and it was PG-13.
Fantasy Island earned about over $12 million/$15 million over the weekend. Yep. It’s another horror movie that failed to gain traction from critics and audiences. With awful reviews and a C- score, it won’t last long. Could it be that video game movies right now are healthier than horror films?! The world I’m living in right now makes no sense anymore!
The Photograph opened in forth place with under $12 million/$14 million. It’s reviews are good and it’s B+ score is okay but it’s internal multiplier suggests that like About Last Night and Endless Love, it won’t last a long time.
Bad Boys For Life is almost at $200 million thanks to an $11 million/$14 million weekend. It will become the first January release to accomplish that feat. With the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action comedy becoming a monster hit and Sonic the Hedgehog following suit, were already looking at the first year since 2014 where a certain year isn’t dominated by Disney. Oh sure! Black Widow might still top Captain Marvel (Alongside Warner Bro’s. Wonder Woman 1984) but this is impressive regardless.
Downhill lived down to its name with just $4 million/$5 million. It’s reviews aren’t very good and it’s Cinemascore was a D. A D! Do you know how rare that is?! That’s what you normally give a horror film and not a dramedy! With Holmes and Watson earning a D+ in 2018, and now this earning a D, Will Farrell has overstayed his welcome and is likely becoming Adam Sandler. I know. Sad.
I have not done a movie review in two years so please bear with me. After the surprisingly great monster carnage of Rampage and the colorful and enjoyable Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog has indeed made lightning strike three times for video game films that range from good to great. Yes, I really liked Pokémon: Detective Pikachu from that same exact summer where Aladdin turned out to be the best remake ever, Godzilla King of the Monsters ended up as the definition of underrated, The Secret Life of Pets 2 turned out to be the summer underdog, Toy Story 4 turned out to be the best animated film of the year, Spider-Man Far from Home was another marvel masterpiece, The Lion King turned out to be the most disappointing movie of the season, Hobbs and Shaw was entertaining, Good Boys was a happy surprise and Stranger Things season 3 was the undisputed champion of the season (Yes I’m counting it as a movie, shut up.), but needless to say, Sonic the Hedgehog is by default the best video game movie ever made.
After leaving his home planet as a kid, Sonic (Voiced by Ben Schwartz who I think should replace Roger Craig Smith) has been living his life in Green Hills with Thomas (Played by James Marsden who did a good job making us aware that the Hop comparisons are no more) until Sonic wants to get back to his home planet in which he loses his rings in San Francisco and now it is up to him along with Tom to get on out there and get them back. But they have to watch out for the villainous Dr. Robotnik (Played by Jim Carrey being good ol’ Jim Carrey) Along the way. Like Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, it’s faithful to the original source material. But unlike that Ryan Reynolds/Justice Smith adventure (Which was a crime mystery comedy), Sonic the Hedgehog plays as a fun, colorful, and amazing comedy which will have you laughing for pretty much over an hour.
Ben Schwartz is arguably the best choice for Sonic (Suck it, Roger Craig Smith and Jaleel White!) and Jim Carrey gives us yet another amazing performance and his first one since… Horton Hears a Who!? And does better as Dr. Robotnik than Long John Baldery (All due respect to those AOSTH YTPs which are better than that show itself). James Marsden is terrific in the movie and is more comfortable with a talking hedgehog than that British rabbit who plays drums. If you are obsessed with Sonic, this movie is for you because there are a bunch of Easter eggs that I can’t spoil. If your not the biggest Sonic fan in the world, you’ll still adore this movie regardless. If you don’t know who Sonic is, you’ll kind of sort of like it. Sonic the Hedgehog is probably the best video game movie ever made and is probably the best movie paramount has made since Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (All due respect to the Marvel movies they used to distribute).
Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog gets a rock solid 9.5/10. The highest I ever gave to a video game movie beating out the 9 I gave to Pokémon: Detective Pikachu and the 8 I gave to Rampage. Oh! The movie gets an A+ rating from me. Like I said wether your a Sonic fan or not or your familiar with the character but never played every game but maybe just 3 or 4 games, this movie is for you!
Overall rating for Sonic the Hedgehog: 9.5/10 and an A+
In May of last year, the first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog came out and it pleased absolutely no one. They hated how Sonic looked in the trailer. So much that Paramount spent an extra $5 million to redesign the character. Because of that, it got pushed back from November of 2019 to this Valentine’s Day. Then last November, the next trailer came out and featured the redesign. Everybody was pleased with how Sonic looked in that trailer. In fact, as the months and weeks went by, the buzz grew louder and louder.
When I saw that the movie was being promoted to heck, I knew it was gonna be a monster hit. Had it kept its original November 2019 release date (and that creepy humanoid version of Sonic with weird teeth and air Jordan’s) it would have earned $21 million on opening weekend after a $7 million opening day alongside awful reviews and a B Cinemascore. But since the studio redesigned the character and moved it to February 2020, it instead earned solid reviews, a mind-blowing $21 million opening day for a possible $53 million-$62 million 3 day debut and $60 million-$71 million four day debut, and an A Cinemascore (Making it the first video game based film to ever earn an A on Cinemascore).
See what happens when you listen to the public? You get an extremely successful Sonic movie that people absolutely adore. A $57 million/$69 million debut is an absolute win for a movie a lot of people thought was gonna A. Flop hard and B. Be horrendous after that first trailer came out. But I have a funny feeling that strong word of mouth and kid powered matinees might drive that figure higher.
As for Birds of Prey…. it fell only 51% from last Friday’s $12 million opening day to over $6 million. That’s an okay hold but it’s still going to earn as much as $17 million/$21 million. It’s still going to miss $100 million though. But with a likely 11 day total of $64 million, it may be considered a mild flop.
The Photograph was in a close third with under $6 million for a possible $12 million/$15 million debut. It’s reviews are decent but it’s B+ Cinemascore sure means that it will indeed earn closer to $12 million over the three day weekend than $17 million.
Fantasy Island earned a small $5 million for a likely under $11 million/$13 million weekend. It’s reviews are terrible and so is its C- Cinemascore. It probably won’t stick around for so long as it feels like The Bachelor/The Bachelorette with horror elements.
Bad Boys For Life rounded out the top five with $4 million which was more than last Friday for a likely over $11 million/$14 million weekend. It is guarantee that it will become the first ever January release to reach $200 million domestic (I’m sorry but American Sniper started in limited release in December 2014 and then expanded wide in January 2015!). With the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence sequel being a monster hit and Sonic the Hedgehog possibly following suit, it’s already looking like the first year since 2014 where Disney didn’t dominate a year. Sure Black Widow might still top Captain Marvel (Alongside Warner Bro’s. Wonder Woman 1984) but this is impressive.
On the other hand, Will Farrell’s Downhill won’t be a monster hit at all as the film earned just $2 million for a likely $5 million/$6 million debut. It’s reviews aren’t that good and it’s Cinemascore was a D. A D! Do you know how rare that is! That’s something you would normally give to a horror film and not a dramedy! I’m sure poor Julia-Louis-Dreyfus will want to try to be given an Elaine themed Seinfeld spin-off if it happens.
This may be the shortest post I’ve written this year but… As filming of Stranger Things 4 just started, Netflix gave us a brief look at the fourth season of one of the best shows this generation has to give us (I’m halfway done with season 1 of The Mandalorian but it is freaking amazing). As you can see here, in case you were wondering “Did Hopper really die at the end of season 3?” The answer this short clip gave us is “No!” Which means he survived the explosion while Dustin and Susie were helping him stop the Russians. Unfortunately, they didn’t give us a release date for season 4 but the fact that it’s filming right now indicates that it may be out in 2021 which is fitting because it will have been the show’s 5th anniversary. Hopefully SDCC will give us more info about season 4.
Tomorrow (Or tonight) sees the release of Jeff Fowler’s Sonic the Hedgehog film. As I mentioned last Saturday, a poor opening for Birds of Prey (A terrible $33 million debut) could possibly leave massive breathing room for the Jim Carrey/Ben Schwartz/James Marsden film to break out huge. And with the movie tracking for $40 million or more for the three day debut and $50 million or more for the four day weekend, it looks like my “Birds of Prey could bomb while Sonic the Hedgehog becomes a big hit” theory may actually come true. I wouldn’t be surprised if the growing buzz, successful marketing campaign and good reviews (It’s at 70% fresh as of this writing) pushed the movie higher than that. With the caveat that it’s closer to Pokémon: Detective Pikachu than The Angry Birds Movie, it May threaten the Pokémon film’s $54 million debut for biggest opening for a video game based film if the it has a user score of 80% or higher. I will be seeing the movie Saturday but it isn’t my first 2020 film as last Saturday, I went to see 1917 (Which is probably the best war movie ever made). It could crack $50 million in three days and $60 million in 4 days but I think $45 million in three days and $52 million in four days is more than enough to be a big hit especially since it cost only $95 million to produce. Hopefully, I will have a stupidly huge grin on my face by the end of Monday if it crushes expectations.
Hmmm… maybe I should get my “Sonic runs over Harley Quinn” headline ready for this same time next Saturday cause my whole “Birds of Prey could flop while Sonic the Hedgehog could be a surprise monster hit” theory might actually be coming true. Anyhow, I did say out loud that I wouldn’t be surprised if Birds of Prey opened closer to The LEGO Movie 2 (From this same time last year) than Shazam! and it turns out everybody so far is listening to me. So… yay? I’m pretty sure that was predicted by the same idiot who’s expecting Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984 to be bigger hits than Captain Marvel.
With the Harley Quinn film earning $13 million last night for a terrible $31 million debut (Possibly the lowest opening for a live action DC movie and the lowest opening for a live action superhero movie since Fant4stic) even with surprisingly solid reviews, it is possible that (Despite being aimed at two vastly different target audiences) Sonic the Hedgehog might outperform my “educated guess” opening weekend expectation of $37 million/$46 million and threaten the $54 million Fri-Sun debut of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu for the biggest debut for a video game based movie.
If Birds of Prey is pacing to earn $31 million (Or lower), then Sonic might earn… $62 million/$78 million next week?! One sign that the Harley Quinn actioner is imploding is that an R rated Harley Quinn movie was always going to be a big turn off with the kids that adore Harley Quinn as a character. Another sign is that people hated Suicide Squad and didn’t want to go back into the world of that David Ayer disaster. Problem #3 was that the trailers looked horrendous. Sin #4 was that Harley Quinn is not Deadpool (Shes not funny or entertaining to watch).
And finally, the most important reason why it flopped… and this was an indication that the movie was gonna fail… was that not a single ticket was sold. In fact there is a possibility that since the tickets for Sonic the Hedgehog have been on sale for weeks, that the Ben Schwartz/Jim Carrey video game adaptation is already sold out at major theater chains like Regal, Cinemark and AMC which is a really good sign. And that it’s being promoted to hell is also a good omen. So While Birds of Prey (Which came in far below its $50 million+ tracking) came out the same exact time The LEGO Movie opened to a boffo $69 million and Sonic the Hedgehog (Which is tracking for a $45 million+ Presidents’ Day debut) is coming out the same exact Presidents’ Day weekend time RoboCop malfunctioned with $21 million, we may be looking at an Opposite Day version of what happened in February 2014 with the action film underperforming the same time the family film overperformed and the family film overperforming the same time the action film underperformed.
So yeah with (Unfitting comparison but okay) Birds of Prey opening on par with G-Force (Remember when that came out? Yeah, me neither.) and (another unfitting comparison but whatever) Sonic the Hedgehog possibly opening on par with Bad Boys For Life if it beats my $37 million/$46 million weekend prediction, by the end of next Monday, the color blue will be the second to last thing Harley Quinn will ever see. But after the first weekend of May?! Well, let’s all admit that the very last thing Mrs. Quinn will see is Scarlett Johansson wearing black.
This Friday (Or tomorrow) sees the release of Margot Robbie’s Birds of Prey. Despite an awful series of trailers and tv spots, looking like a direct sequel to Suicide Squad and not selling a lot of tickets, it’s tomatometer score currently stands at 92% fresh with critics noting that the movie is more of an R Rated gangster action comedy like Deadpool (Both of them) and less of a serious violent bloodbath like Logan. Seeing that the movie is earning reviews closer to Wonder Woman and Shazam! than Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, it could indeed make as much as $54 million this weekend but it’s much better than expected reviews could give it an opening weekend closer to Bad Boys For Life than The LEGO Movie 2 from this same time last year. I can’t promise an opening weekend closer to Aquaman’s $67 million.
However, it’s not going anywhere near Suicide Squad’s $700 million+ global total. In fact it could take a hit from David Ayer’s goof of a film and still be a big hit. After all, Harley Quinn does have a monster sized fanbase (Yep. A bigger fanbase than The Joker). So yeah (Ignoring Justice League) with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam!, And Joker pleasing audiences, and Birds of Prey earning surprisingly awesome reviews (and possibly a good user score), I guess the whole “DC is dead!” Narrative can be left in the past. And with Wonder Woman 1984 looking darn awesome, maybe DC is shaping up to no longer be the most hated kid on the block.
Also given the fact that Sonic the Hedgehog could possibly defy expectations and media outlets next week thanks to tickets already being on sale and it being promoted to hell, we could not see a repeat of The LEGO Movie vs Robocop but rather a repeat of John Wick 3 and Aladdin both beating expectations. If Birds of Prey is turning into John Wick 3, then Sonic the Hedgehog could be… Aladdin?! Well this comparison may be fair because Like Sonic, Aladdin started out with bad buzz and then the buzz got better and better. Maybe Harley Quinn and Sonic can both please audiences while playing at the same time?! But yeah, despite me yelling about how Birds of Prey was custom made to anger me, seeing it earn amazing reviews really impresses me considering how much I hated Suicide Squad.
As of last month, there’s a Coronavirus going on in China causing about 70,000 theaters to shut down there. I don’t know if there ever gonna reopen but this may be a huge test to see if any of this year’s big movies are going to break big without China. Oh sure! You can say Joker making $1 billion without that country was something of both a teaser and an unofficial beginning to what’s really gonna happen to 2020’s release slate but that was only because that 2019 surprise hit never played there. I’ll be darned sure that the entire Disney Star Wars slate we got being ignored there must have already been a signal that even movies that were positioned to make big bucks can still make big bucks without said Asian country.
Of course, it was used to make Aquaman, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far from Home reach $1 billion and Venom make more than $850 million. Not including China in an overseas roll out for a future movie may not be unlike you making pizza without pepperoni. Besides, maybe Sonic the Hedgehog can make $500 million+ to be the biggest video game movie ever without releasing it in China. Maybe Black Widow can top Captain Marvel without any help from China. Maybe F9: The Fast Saga (Still not liking that title) can be an overseas monster without China.
Maybe Joker making $1 billion without China was a sign that Hollywood can’t use China as an excuse to make a certain movie break out big. Is this the end of People going to the movies in China? Probably but always remember that Joker making $1 billion without China wasn’t a fluke.
As expected, Universal dropped the trailer for F9: The Fast Saga (Seriously?! Was calling it Fast and Furious 9 or Furious 9 just asking too much?) last night during a concert in Miami. As you recall, the trailer for Furious 7 had a red carpet premiere and now this! At this rate, I’m expecting the tenth movie to debut its trailer on Mars (Or the moon for that Matter) next year
So anyhow, the trailer makes the franchise go back to its “Let’s be serious and funny at the same time while stealing stuff, driving cars racing each other and going on heists at the same time!” Routine after just being a goofy buddy comedy like Hobbs and Shaw. And the bad guy is (as expected from the from the fact that he’s not in the main poster despite getting his own character poster) John Cena majorly because A. Ferdinand failed to set the world on fire (Thanks a lot, Star Wars: The Last Jedi!) and B. Playing with Fire bombed hard (I blame Frozen II’s hype). Jokes aside, Charlize Theron returns as Cypher because she got away in the last movie. Now the end of the trailer sees a surprise return from Han Lue(!) who died in Fast and Furious 6. As for the trailer itself, it looks epic and I can’t believe I’m saying that about a fast and the furious movie!
Also, to note the tickets are already on sale despite coming out 3 months from now so… is it going to be this decade’s The Force Awakens where the buzz is super loud and it’s an installment of a well liked franchise and the tickets are selling like crazy as of this reading and it breaks records and earns rave reviews and is super duper good?! If that’s the case then Fast and Furious: Stranger Times (Featuring Finn Wolfhard, Noah Shnapp, Millie Bobby Brown, Joe Kerry and Maya Hawke with David Harbor as the villain) May be this decade’s Avengers: Endgame once the marketing campaign starts next year (Watch out Avatar 2?!) .
That being said, it looks like it might be really good even if I want to see Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow more. Yes the Gal Gadot sequel may gross more than the original Wonder Woman and yes the Scarlett Johansson attempt to bring back Black Widow to the MCU and renew Johansson’s MCU contract might gross more than Captain Marvel but F9: The Fast Saga (Oy! Not digging that title at all!) May be the movie to beat in 2020.