Box office goes ‘Sonic’ again but hears ‘Call of the Wild’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The hedgehog edged the sled dog by a nose at the box office.

Sonic: The Hedgehog zoomed to the top of the box office with a take of USD26.3 million in its second weekend while audiences ignored critics and heeded The Call of the Wild as the Harrison Ford CGI dog flick finished a close second with USD24.8 million, according to studio estimates last Sunday.

It was a strong weekend for both films, with each outperforming expectations and overcoming early doubts about design problems.

Paramount Pictures’ Sega video game adaptation Sonic the Hedgehog was a laughingstock when its first trailer was released last year, but after a delay and a title-character makeover, the film has now spent two weeks atop the box office and brought in over USD200 million globally.

20th Century Studios’ The Call of the Wild was also mocked by many on social media for its CGI dog — the first five film adaptations of Jack London’s 1903 novel all used real ones — and reviews were decidedly mixed with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 62 per cent, but moviegoers bought into the digital dog and his 77-year-old co-star, who would have won the weekend were it not for a late surge from Sonic.

“For Call of the Wild heading into weekend the estimates were all over the place, as low as 10 million for the weekend, some saying it could do 15, maybe 20,” said Senior Media Analyst for Comscore Paul Dergarabedian. “So like Sonic it over-performed.”

In a very distant third with USD7 million was Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey in its third week.

The weekend’s other wide release, Brahms: The Boy II starring Katie Holmes, was fourth with just USD5.9 million.

That was a disappointing opening at a time of year when horror films often do well. 2020 appears to be bucking that trend with family films thriving in the early weeks of the year.

Sonic and Call of the Wild represent two PG-rated movies where that void in the marketplace for families is the key to their success in this part of the year, a time that’s usually dominated by awards holdovers and R-rated films,” Dergarabedian said.

And those family audiences may be why critics didn’t matter for the top two films.

“PG-rated films are more immune to reviews and are more about the audience. If a kid wants to go see a film, they’re going to go see it” he said.

Best picture winner Parasite continued its post-Oscars surge in a week where its victory was mocked at a rally by United States (US) President Donald Trump, bringing in USD3.2 million in North America, where it has earned nearly USD50 million.