Weekend Wrap-Up

By Tim Briody

February 16, 2020

*bangs on garbage can lid*

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The weird year that has been 2020's box office so far continues as more '90s nostalgia is a big winner on this holiday weekend.

As we approach the 30th anniversary of the franchise, there had somehow never been a movie adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog. There have been some animated series here and there, but nothing that memorable. For a character ostensibly created to sell merchandise (and video games) and be Sega's version of Mario, that's surprising. All of that changed this weekend, and in a big way.

With a $57 million opening weekend, Sonic the Hedgehog has both become the biggest opening weekend for a movie based on a video game (besting last year's Detective Pikachu), and likely launched a franchise, too.

In a weird way, what may have helped Sonic's breakout was the release of the initial trailer, which was widely ridiculed across the internet. Giving the Sonic character a more humanoid look (those eyes! those teeth!) was a spectacular amount of nightmare fuel, and the reaction caused the production company to go back to the drawing board and delay the film by a few months (it was set to release last November, to which I think they kind of dodged a bullet in hindsight). The redone trailer earned positive reviews and the bump to a holiday weekend in February actually paid off.

With a reported budget of only $68 million, Sonic the Hedgehog will have essentially matched that by tomorrow, as President's Day is usually a good box office day with schools closed. It's well on its way to $100 million plus, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a sequel's been greenlit as early as this week.

Birds of Prey, or now Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey instead of that other ridiculous subtitle, drops 48% from opening weekend to $17.1 million and $59.2 million to date. This might not get to $100 million, and that's a big disappointment for DC, who had been doing well (not Marvel well, but still pretty well) with their recent films. On a holiday weekend that was very kind to holdovers, this is the biggest drop in the top ten by a large margin.

Fantasy Island is another new release this weekend. An adaptation of the late '70s TV show, Blumhouse has gotten their hands on this one and turned it into a horror movie. As far as concepts go, that's a pretty good one. Fantasy Island took third for the weekend with $12.4 million. As is tradition with a Blumhouse project, it was made on the cheap (just $7 million) so this one will have doubled its budget domestically by tomorrow. It was destroyed by critics (just 9% Fresh!), but that really doesn't matter in the long run, especially when it's profitable.


The Photograph is your requisite Valentine's Day romantic film, this one with a mostly black cast (Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield are your main characters). It did well enough, earning $12.2 million for the weekend, and only cost $16 million to make, and it should get to around $30 million in theaters, which is fine.

Bad Boys For Life gets closer to $200 million with a fifth weekend of $11.3 million (down just 9%!) and $181.3 million to date. A hold as ridiculous as that just sent its odds of reaching the $200 million mark way up, after it seemed like it might fall a little short. It's going to hold the title of biggest movie of 2020 for some time.

1917 did not win Best Picture last weekend, but still only drops 12% to $8 million and has $144.4 million after six weekends in wide release.

Jumanji: The Next Level is a big beneficiary of the holiday weekend, up 3% from last weekend to $5.7 million and $305.7 million in its tenth weekend in theaters. Much like Welcome to the Jungle, I'm out of things to say about this, but it's going to hang around for a couple more weekends as both films showed legs that are extremely rare in the modern box office age.

The film that did win Best Picture (and also Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature), Parasite, effectively doubles its screen count from the last few weekends (1,060 to 2,001) and earns $5.5 million.

We've not mentioned it much here, as Parasite only made the top ten for exactly one weekend (back in November, and it was not in the estimates for that weekend, but landed in ninth when the actuals came in), but it's been among the top 20 films since its initial release in October, and had earned $37.6 million in that time. The Bong Joon-ho film has now earned $43.1 million after 19 weeks in theaters. A massive hit in its native South Korea, Parasite has earned $184 million worldwide and cost $11 million in US dollars to make. It should hang around for another weekend or two, and may also expand further given the decent showing here.

With some direct kiddie competition thanks to Sonic, Dolittle slides to ninth place with $5 million and $70.5 million in five weekends. Only $105 million to go before it matches its production budget!

A fourth new release wraps things up this weekend as Downhill takes $4.6 million. A remake of Swedish film Force Majeure, starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (and written and directed by the team of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who previously won a screenplay Oscar), a lot was apparently lost in the translation here, as the original was acclaimed and Downhill...was not, with a 41% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a D CinemaScore from audiences, which is essentially a kiss of death.

The top 12 films in theaters earned $143.9 million, way ahead of last year's $109.1 million thanks to the breakout of Sonic the Hedgehog. Last year's Valentine's Day weekend was won by Alita: Battle Angel with $28.5 million.

Next weekend brings Harrison Ford in an adaptation of famed book Call of the Wild, as well as yet another horror entry, with Brahms: The Boy II, a sequel to a 2016 film that I had completely forgotten about.

Top Ten for Weekend of February 14-16, 2020
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Gross ($)
1 Sonic the Hedgehog Paramount 57.0 New 57.0
2 Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey Warner Bros. 17.1 -48% 59.2
3 Fantasy Island Sony Pictures 12.4 New 12.4
4 The Photograph Universal 12.2 New 12.2
5 Bad Boys For Life Sony Pictures 11.3 -6% 181.3
6 1917 Universal 8.0 -12% 144.4
7 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony Pictures 5.7 +3% 305.7
8 Parasite Neon 5.5 +234% 43.1
9 Dolittle Universal 5.0 -23% 70.5
10 Downhill Searchlight Pictures 4.6 New 4.6
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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