Sonic the Hedgehog 2 just one-upped its predecessor at the box office.
The video game sequel had a big opening weekend, grossing $71 million domestically. That's even better than the $58 million three-day opening of the first film, which was released before COVID-19 began affecting the U.S. box office.
This gives Sonic the Hedgehog 2 the biggest opening weekend for a video game movie, a record set by the original film. It's also the second biggest domestic opening weekend of 2022 after The Batman, and it was an especially strong result for a movie aimed at families, given that demographic has been slower to return to theaters amid the pandemic.
The Sonic franchise has certainly come a long way since 2019, when the character's movie design was revealed and sparked widespread derision. In a rare move, the film's creators redesigned Sonic in response to criticism. Despite all this early negativity, the 2020 movie ended up being well received, with audiences giving it an A CinemaScore rating.
Two years later, the sequel earned comparable reviews and another A CinemaScore rating from audiences. For years, video game films were generally expected to be disappointing, but Sonic is the second in 2022 to perform well after the long-delayed Uncharted movie. This is another win for Paramount Pictures, which has already had several box office success stories this year with Scream, Jackass Forever, The Lost City, and now Sonic.
Not every studio has been so lucky, though. Ambulance, a new Universal thriller from Michael Bay, opened with a weak $8 million, the latest example of how movies that aren't part of recognizable franchises are having a difficult time getting audiences to turn out.
That's not to say even franchise films are guaranteed box office gold, though. Look no further than Sony's poorly reviewed Morbius, as after a decent opening, the comic book film is falling off a cliff, grossing about $10 million this weekend.