No Hedging It — Its a Sonic Boom at the Weekend Box Office

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (Paramount) came through and then some with a $71 million estimated opening weekend gross, overperforming even more than last week’s “Morbius” (Sony) disappointed.

As the best animated opening since “Frozen 2” in 2019, “Sonic” benefits from being the first top-flight animated theatrical release since “Sing 2” last Christmas. The February 21 release of Pixar’s “Turning Red” received much better reviews, but of course Disney made that a Disney+ exclusive outside of three limited runs.

The original “Sonic the Hedgehog” opened to $58 million on February 14, 2020 to become the last pre-Covid theatrical debut over $50 million. The second installment of an animated franchise often exceeds the first, which suggests $71 million represents a shot at normalcy. The summer is top heavy with sequels from major franchises; similar performances could mean exceeding expectations.

This extends Paramount’s consistent run of opening above projections and by some distance, it’s the best. After a minimum 45-day window, it will feed Paramount+ and presumably increase its family appeal.

Budgeted at $90 million, “Sonic” looks like it will be April’s standout release. “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (Warner Bros.), which opens next weekend in the U.S., just opened to around $58 million in 22 territories. With each of its two predecessors, those same territories generated twice as much. In the U.S./Canada, the first two “Fantastic Beasts” in November 2016 and 2018 opened to $74 million and $62 million respectively; this time around, the film will have the benefit of Easter weekend.

With “Sonic” providing a bit over 60 percent, total gross rose to $116 million and became the third weekend this year to see over $100 million. This weekend represents 80 percent of the same period three years ago and the four-week rolling comparison of the same dates rose to 63 percent.


“Ambulance”

Universal

“Ambulance” (Universal), Michael Bay’s smaller-scale action film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, managed not-terrible reviews and a fine A- Cinemascore but landed at #4 with a weak $8.7 million. “Morbius” went from disappointing to worse with a horrific 74 percent second-weekend drop. “The Lost City” (Paramount) held better, off 38 percent for third spot.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) was impressive with about $6 million in 1,250 theaters. The SXSW-premiered title with strong younger-audience appeal expanded in its third weekend to land at #6. It is largely playing mainstream theaters, with signs of broader reach that will be tested with further expansion.

This weekend, the only title in the top 10 with home availability is “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony), which grossed under $1 million for #9. Next weekend, it could be down to none.

Two limited openings of note. The reissue of David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” (Janus) scored a strong showing at New York’s IFC Center (nearly $20,000 for the weekend), although the Los Angeles result was weak. “Viva Maestro” (Greenwich), a documentary about conductor Gustav Dudamel, opened well with $14,310 in two theaters, placing #1 at New York’s Film Forum and #2 at The Landmark in Los Angeles.

In a sign of different times, grosses for the well-reviewed “Cow” (IFC), “Donbass” (Film Movement), and “The Girl and the Spider” (Cinema Guild) went unreported. This was once a rarity, now is becoming more common. And just two weeks post-Oscars, the winners are barely a blip.

The Top 10

1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 47; Est. budget: $90 million

$71,000,000 in 4,234 theaters; PTA: $16,769; Cumulative: $71,000,000

2. Morbius (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$10,200,000 (-74%) in 4,268 (no change) theaters; PTA: $2,390; Cumulative: $57,077,000

3. The Lost City (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$9,165,000 (-38%) in 3,797 (-486) theaters; PTA: $2,414; Cumulative: $68,854,000

4. Ambulance (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 55; Est. budget: $40 million

$8,700,000 in 3,412 theaters; PTA: $2,550; Cumulative: $8,700,000

5. The Batman (Warner Bros.) Week 6; Last weekend #3

$6,500,000 (-41%) in 3,254 (-478) theaters; PTA: $1,998; Cumulative: $359,002,000

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 3; Last weekend #9

$6,059,000 (+462%) in 1,250 (+1,212) theaters; PTA: $4,847; Cumulative: $8,446,000

7. Uncharted (Sony) Week 8; Last weekend #4

$2,650,000 (-28%) in 2,318 (-756) theaters; PTA: $1,143; Cumulative: $142,952,000

8. Jujutsu Kaigen 0 (Crunchyroll) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$(est.) 800,000 (-59%) in 850 (-1,220) theaters; PTA: $941; Cumulative: $(est.) 30,493,000

9. Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony) Week 17; Last weekend #7; also on PVOD

$625,000 (-57%) in 1,009 (-696) theaters; PTA: $619; Cumulative: $803,816,000

10. RRR (Sarigama) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$(est.) 550,000 (-66%) in 326 (-874) theaters; PTA: $1,687; Cumulative: $(est.) 11,673,000


“Inland Empire”

 

Additional specialized/limited/independent releases 

Viva Maestro (Greenwich) NEW

$14,310 in 2 theaters; PTA: $7,155

Aline (Roadside Attractions) NEW – Metacritic: 55; Festivals include: Cannes 2020

$20,785 in 61 theaters; PTA: $341

Inland Empire (518) REISSUE

$22,308 in 2 theaters; PTA: 11,154

You Won’t Be Alone (Focus) Week 2

$50,000 in 147 (no change) theaters; PTA: $340; Cumulative: $235,175

The Rose Maker (Music Box) Week 2

$13,423 in 20 (+14) theaters; PTA: $671; Cumulative: $26,569

Mothering Sunday (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3

$91,115 in 293 (+274) theaters;  Cumulative: $129,410

The Outfit (Focus) Week 4

$40,000 in 140 (-266) theaters;  Cumulative: $3,318,000

The Automat (Slice of Pie) –  Week 8

$10,000 in 17 (-3) theaters; Cumulative: $146,533

 

 

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