Biggest film based on a video game

How backlash made Sonic stronger

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NEW YORK – The redesigned “Sonic the Hedgehog” showed plenty of teeth at the box office, speeding to a $57 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday, while “Parasite” saw one of the largest post-Oscars bumps in years following its best picture win. 

“Sonic” came in well above expectations, especially for a movie that just months ago was a laughing stock. After its first trailer was greeted with ridicule on social media last year, “Sonic” was postponed three months to give its title character a design overhaul – including fixing Sonic’s eerily human teeth.

Audiences responded to that makeover by anointing “Sonic the Hedgehog” the weekend’s top film and the highest-grossing opening for a video-game adaptation, not accounting for inflation. For Paramount, it’s a welcome success following misfires such as “Gemini Man” and “Terminator: Dark Fate.” The studio estimates “Sonic” will gross $68 million for the four-day Presidents Day holiday weekend. 

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“If you don’t listen to your customer, and this goes for any business, then you’re going to fail,” says Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount. “We retooled Sonic in a way that was obviously very satisfying for the fans and they were very forgiving. Now that they’ve seen the movie, they love the movie. It all worked out.”

The Sega video-game adaptation, directed by Jeff Fowler, drew decent reviews (63% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and an A grade from moviegoers on CinemaScore. The $87 million production co-stars Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik with Ben Schwartz supplying Sonic’s voice. 

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