8:02 AM PST 2/15/2020 by Pamela McClintock
Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog grossed a huge $21 million on Friday for a projected four-day debut of $60 million-plus over Presidents Day weekend, including $50 million or more for the three days.
If traffic holds, the family friendly pic has a strong shot of coming in several million dollars higher and unseating Detective Pikachu ($54.3 million) to boast the biggest domestic opening ever for a video game adaptation, according to Comscore and unadjusted for inflation.
The PG-rated title — nabbing an A CinemaScore — is based on the popular Sega video game and sees the titular character (voiced by Ben Schwartz) team up with a small-town sheriff (James Marsden) to battle the evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
Sonic's better-than-expected debut is a win for Paramount and director Jeff Fowler, who redesigned the titular character after a loud fan outcry last year.
The movie will easily steal the box office crown from holdover Birds of Prey, which debuted to a tepid $33 million last weekend. The female-led superhero pic looks to come in No. 2 over Presidents Day with an okay $20 million.
Sonic is hardly the only new offering on the marquee, thanks to the one-two-punch of Valentine's Day, which fell on a Friday this year, and Presidents Day weekend.
Universal and producer Will Packer's romantic drama The Photograph is in a relatively close race with Sony and Blumhouse's horror pic Fantasy Island for No. 3 behind Sonic and holdover Birds of Prey. Both films are eyeing a four-day gross in the $14 million to $15 million range, with many rivals giving Fantasy Island a slight edge.
The Photograph, starring Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield, was written and directed by Stella Meghie. The $15 million film received a B+ CinemaScore.
Fantasy Island, a horror reimagining of the classic television series of the same name, barely passed with a C- CinemaScore. Directed and written by Jeff Wadlow, the $7 million pic stars Michael Peña, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen and Michael Rooker.
Searchlight's black comedy Downhill, starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, flunked with a D CinemaScore. Premiering last month at the Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews, the film is looking at a four-day debut of $5.5 million to $6 million.
Downhill could be beat by Bong Joon Ho's and Neon's Parasite, which expanded into more than 2,000 theaters on Friday following its historic Academy Award wins for best picture and director, among other top accolades. The South Korean film is projected to gross $5.5 million to $6.5 million as it nears or crosses the $44 million mark domestically.