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How backlash made Sonic stronger



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Sonic the Hedgehog, the beloved Sega video-game character with lightning speed, had to survive his harshest foe to make it to the big screen: Twitter.

Like the very blue Genie in “Aladdin” and the freaky felines of “Cats,” Sonic sped right into a social media backlash of loathing from fans when the too-realistic computer-generated creation (with conspicuously human teeth) was unveiled in 2019’s first trailer.

Remarkably, director Jeff Fowler and Paramount Studios heard the criticism, delayed the film’s release and retooled the pivotal character. The revised Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) reappeared in a November trailer to (gasp!) acclaim and will officially arrive in theaters Friday alongside humans Jim Carrey as the villainous Dr. Robotnik and James Marsden as Sonic’s small-town cop sidekick. 

“This is a big deal. ‘Sonic’ filmmakers learned you have to appease the hardcore fans,” says Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. “The fans said, ‘This is not the Sonic we know,’ and amazingly, Paramount redid it. It looks like this will pay off as ‘Sonic’ is a near lock to win the weekend box office. This is the anti-‘Cats’ scenario.”

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Thumbs up:‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ trailer redo earns praise from fans who criticized first look

Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is now designed for success in "Sonic the Hedgehog."

The very public criticism has been painful but fruitful for the director.

“I would not wish this experience necessarily on anyone, even though, at the end of the day, I really love that we engaged the fan base. They felt heard by our response,” Fowler says. “Honest, one of my biggest sources of pride from this whole process was that the fans were able to be involved in this movie. They helped get us where this needed to be.”





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