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Box Office Breakdown: “Sonic” Builds on Record Debut; “Call of the Wild” Outperforms Expectations

After being gone for a week I have a lot to catch up on with “Sonic the Hedgehog”, “Fantasy Island” and “The Photograph” making an impact over Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend and “The Boy II” and “Into the Wild” looking to contend over this past weekend. “Sonic’s” debut gave it the best opening for a video game movie ever but “Into the Wild” looked like a surprise contender as the first film using Disney’s rebranded 20th Century Films moniker looked to right the ship on what has been a pretty poor investment for the cinema giant so far. Let’s see if “Sonic” was able to double down on its overwhelmingly successful opening weekend or if “Call of the Wild” or another competitor was able to steal the spotlight in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.

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After opening to a record $57 million three-day weekend to top “Detective Pikachu” as the highest opening ever for a video game adaptation, “Sonic the Hedgehog” continued its successful run (pun intended) scoring a second week at number one with a little over $26 million. After only two weekends “Sonic” currently sits in fourth place on the list of largest video game movies at the domestic box office having earned over $106 million in North America. It sits just around $1 million behind “The Angry Birds Movie” and is poised to easily usurp both “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’s” $131 million and “Detective Pikachu’s” $144 million domestically before its run is over if it keeps its current pace. Overseas “Sonic” added over $38 million to bring its worldwide tally to $203 million. That put’s “Sonic” twelfth on the all-time list of Hollywood live-action video game adaptations worldwide. For comparison “Warcraft” sits on top of that list with $439 million in global earnings.

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“Call of the Wild” put up a bigger fight than expected but still settled for a runner-up finish. The latest adaptation of Jack Landon’s classic novel of the same name, “Call of the Wild” survived middling reviews to overperform mightily. Original expectations had the first movie under Disney’s re-branded 20th Century Films banner earning between $11 million and $15 million but it surpassed that bringing in nearly $25 million and looked poised to dethrone “Sonic” by numerous estimates until the final tally. However, this still leaves 20th Century Films looking for answers as “Call of the Wild” carries a reported $135 million price tag before marketing costs. Overseas “Call of the Wild scored a $15.4 million international debut.

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“Birds of Prey” continued to struggle sitting in third place with a $7 million weekend bringing its domestic numbers to $72 million and its global tally to $173.7 million. STX Entertainment’s horror sequel “Brahms: The Boy II” scared up a $5 million debut to finish fourth but became the latest horror film in 2020 to receive scathing reviews from both critics and viewers continuing the slow start for the genre in the new decade. “The Boy II” was the only other new film to enter the top ten over the weekend, but notably just outside the top ten in eleventh was “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” bringing the cast of the popular prank show to the big screen for the first time. “Bad Boys for Life” rounded out the top five closing in on becoming the first film of the year and decade to top $200 million domestically. “1917” finished sixth while “Fantasy Island” fell back to seventh after a top three finish last week. Best Picture winner “Parasite” continued to earn much-deserved viewer attention with an eighth-place finish. “Jumanji: The Next Level” ended the weekend ninth and “The Photograph” fell off big time from fourth to tenth, a drop of 77%.

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Horror attempts to rebound this coming weekend with “The Invisible Man” hitting theaters as the only new major wide release to compete against “Sonic”. Depending on reviews and interest it could contend for the top spot, but “Sonic” looks strong and could very easily grab a third straight weekend win. We shall see if “Sonic” has enough steam to win out again or if horror finally finds a hit in the new year. Disney and Pixar will also roll out sneak-preview viewings of “Onward” which is slated to debut in the first full weekend of March.

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