‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ aims to be the highest-grossing children’s film of the pandemic era | arts and entertainment
‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2,’ a sequel to Paramount Pictures’ 2020 hit, could be the highest-grossing kids’ movie of the pandemic era, if parents feel more comfortable bringing toddlers back At the movie theater.
The PG-rated pic is expected to generate $65 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada this weekend, according to Boxoffice Pro. Paramount expects more than $50 million. It has already grossed $26.1 million in international ticket sales after opening in 31 markets last week.
The film, about a super-fast blue mammal, has a number of things going for it. It is based on a popular Sega Co. video game franchise. Its predecessor was one of the last big hits before the pandemic. And it gets decent reviews, with 66% critical approval, according to RottenTomatoes.com.
The picture is also coming out during Spring Break, which means more parents will be looking for things to do with their children as the number of coronavirus cases drops and mask rules are lifted. All of this is good news for theater owners, who have relied heavily on older children and young adults to fill their seats in recent years.
“‘Sonic 2’ is the biggest litmus test yet during the pandemic of how comfortable parents feel bringing their kids back to public places like the theater,” said analyst Shawn Robbins. head at Boxoffice Pro. “The box office results of this film will tell us a lot about what to expect from other family movies to come over the summer and beyond.”
Children are an important demographic for film studios. Children ages 2 to 17 made up 28% of domestic movie ticket sales in 2021, despite making up just 21% of the population, according to research by the Motion Picture Association. But they’re also more likely to be drawn to smaller screen options. In the United States, about 85% of children watched feature films on their mobile devices last year, compared to 60% of adults.
Ticket sales are picking up this year. The numbers are largely driven by two big superhero movies, Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” released in mid-December, and Warner Bros. “The Batman.” Both appealed to both adults and children.
Some theater operators also say they’ve been waiting to add more family events to their lineups. Mark Anastasio, director of special programming at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts, said his theater will soon feature more kid-friendly activities.
“We have refrained from bringing back our children’s programming on weekends,” he said. “Not all children are eligible for vaccines and we weren’t sure if families were ready to bring their children back.”
Before ‘Sonic’, the biggest opening weekend for a PG-rated movie since the pandemic took hold was Warner Bros.’ ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’, which grossed 31.1 million dollars last July, according to Comscore data. After “Encanto” raked in a relatively disappointing $27.2 million in November, Walt Disney Co. put its next animated movie, “Turning Red,” straight to its Disney+ streaming service instead of showing it in rooms.
“Sonic 2,” a combination live-action and animated film, tells the story of the hedgehog as he tries “to prove he’s got what it takes to be a true hero,” according to a description from Paramount. Along with a friend, Knuckles, he goes in search of an emerald before it falls into the hands of the evil villain, Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey.
The original “Sonic” generated $58 million in domestic ticket sales during its opening weekend and stayed at No. 1 for two weeks in February 2020. It is now the highest-grossing film based on a nationwide video game franchise, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.