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411 Box Office Report: Sonic the Hedgehog Rules For Second Frame, The Boy II Opens Low

February 23, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

It was a second weekend atop the box office for Sonic the Hedgehog, who edged out Call of the Wild to score the win. The Paramount video game adaptation brought in $26.3 million to claim the #1 spot, down a solid 55% from its record-breaking opening weekend. Sure, 55% would be a high drop for a drama or comedy, but for a fandom-heavy film (which are traditionally front-loaded) which overperformed in its first weekend that’s an admirable hold.

Sonic is scoring both in the US and overseas right now. The film sits at $106.6 million domestically and $203.1 million worldwide. Paramount has a likely franchise here, a nice payoff on its massive gamble considering all the film’s pre-release controversy. It should be able to top $175 million in the US still and should be very profitable against its $95 million budget.

The Disney-owned 20th Century Studios release of Call of the Wild narrowly lost out on the top spot, bringing in $24.8 million for the weekend. That is a bit of an overperformance for a film that was expected to target the $20 million range. The Harrison Ford-led adaptation of the classic Jack London novel is following the Dolittle route, as it’s a family film based on a literary classic that would be in fine shape if not for its massive $125 million budget.

Yes, this family film came with a blockbuster-level price tag, another head-scratching legacy of the former 20th Century Fox. It’s a puzzling decision to say the least. Sure, Call of the Wild is a hallowed novel for many and it could have brought in a solid profit on a mid-level budget. But the heavy CGI needed for the non-location shoot pushed the budget through the roof, and there’s not a chance in the world for this to make a profit. The performance was pretty good considering the film only carried okay critical buzz (a 63% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes). Word of mouth should be okay with an A- CinemaScore, but the film is facing down a potential monster in a couple of weeks with Pixar’s Onward.

Ultimately, Call of the Wild should be able to finish its domestic run at around $75 million to $80 million. Overseas numbers won’t be great here; the movie grossed $15.4 million in 40 overseas markets, reflecting international apathy to Americana-centric films. That’s a $40.2 million worldwide first weekend. This film is poised to be another spendy loss inherited by Disney from Fox with a potential $100 million in red ink when all the beans are counted.

Birds of Prey scored $7 million in its third weekend, down 59%. That’s an expected drop considering last weekend saw a solid hold, and puts the DCEU film at $72.5 million domestically and $173.7 million worldwide. The film is not going to be a massive hit for DC, but it’s in solid shape against a $80 million production budget plus marketing, defying all the doom-saying spread online after its disappointing opening weekend. Make no mistake: DC and Warner Bros. were hoping for more from Birds of Prey, but they were also prepared for this which is why the budget was kept lower. (In fairness against the film, Shazam’s budget was also low and performed much better.) It should still make it to $90 million or so in the US and the overseas numbers are performing well enough that the studio will pull in a bit of money here.

Horror’s had a bad showing thus far in 2020, and that continued with Brahms: The Boy II which fell flat at $5.9 million. That’s below the high single digits expectation for this sequel from STX to 2016’s The Boy. The start is even lower than the less-than-impressive openings thus far for The Grudge ($11.4 million), The Turning ($7 million), Gretel and Hansel ($6.2 million), and Fantasy Island ($12.3 million).

Much like Call of the Wild being produced on a high budget, the big question surrounding Brahms is “why?” Sure, The Boy was profitable with $68.2 million against its $10 million budget, but those aren’t the numbers that demand a follow-up be made regardless of whether it makes sense. And The Boy wasn’t well liked by critics or fans, either. Brahms followed suit on that front with a lousy 11% Rotten Tomatoes score and a C- CinemaScore from fans — not the F-level reaction to The Grudge or The Turning, but not great either even for horror. STX threw a moderate marketing campaign behind it, mostly on digital which is designed to maximize exposure on the dollar. It didn’t help, and Brahms is destined for a quick exit from theaters. $15 million is likely its upper ceiling in the US, and it won’t do much overseas where it started with just $2.2 million for a $8.1 million worldwide start. It might not be a money loser for STX, who say the production budget was $3 million out of their coffers, but it won’t be a hit by any measure either.

Bad Boys For Life continues to show strength in its box office legs, as it held steady at #5 with $5.9 million. That’s down 49% from last weekend’s take and puts the franchise revival at $191.2 million domestically and $397.2 million worldwide. The movie is now targeting around $215 million to $220 million in the US and is a major hit against its $90 million budget.

1917 was down 46% in its ninth weekend with $4.4 million. The Sam Mendes-directed war film has reached $152 million domestically and $347.3 million, a profit against its its $100 million budget. The film is right on course for around $160 million to $165 million in the US.

Fantasy Island saw a rough fall from last weekend’s mediocre take. The horror take on the TV series brought in $4.2 million, down 66% from its start. That’s not the kind of result that Sony Pictures was going for, but they’re also not too worried here. The film now stands at $20.2 million domestically and $33.8 million worldwide, targeting a $30 million final domestic gross. That will make it profitable against its $7 million budget, which is all the studio hoped for.

Parasite was down 45% after last weekend’s Oscar-fueled surge, bringing in $3.1 million in its 20th week of release. The Best Picture winner now stands at $48.9 million domestically and $210 million worldwide against an $11.8 million budget. The film is on par to surpass Hero’s $53.7 million to be the third highest domestic-grossing foreign film of all-time, and Life Is Beautiful’s $57.2 million is not entirely out of the question.

Jumanji: The Next Level was off 46% to $3 million in its eleventh week. The franchise film is now at $311 million stateside and $788 million worldwide, with a $318 million final domestic total likely. It cost $130 million.

The Photograph saw the very expected (but still rough) post-Valentine Day plunge, down a nasty 77% to $2.8 million. The romantic drama was very quickly abandoned by audiences and now stands at $17.6 million domestic, with $17.7 million total worldwide. The film should still make its way to about $25 million domestically, but being profitable against its $15 million budget is now in doubt.

Next weekend should see a new #1 as Blumhouse and Universal’s The Invisible Man re-adaptation is hitting theaters and targeting around $25 million to $30 million.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Sonic The Hedgehog – $26.3 million ($106.6 million total)
2. Call of the Wild – $24.8 million ($24.8 million total)
3. Birds of Prey – $7 million ($72.5 million total)
4. Brahms: The Boy II – $5.9 million ($5.9 million total)
5. Bad Boys For Life – $5.9 million ($191.2 million total)
6. 1917 – $4.4 million ($152 million total)
7. Fantasy Island – $4.2 million ($20.2 million total)
8. Parasite – $3.1 million ($48.9 million total)
9. Jumanji: The Next Level – $3 million ($311 million total)
10. The Photograph – $2.8 million ($17.6 million total)