|SONIC THE HEDGEHOGWEEKEND BOX OFFICEBOX OFFICESONIC|
Those who didn't get the chance to catch Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters won't have to wait much longer to watch it from the comfort of home. Paramount Pictures has announced that the blockbuster video game adaptation will be arriving on Digital HD early, either to rent or purchase, starting on Tuesday, March 31. This joins a growing list of Hollywood movies that are releasing early as theaters all around the world are closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Paramount made the announcement recently, making Sonic the Hedgehog available on VOD just 46 days after it first hit theaters. The move makes a great deal of financial sense, with every major theater chain in the U.S. shutting its doors in the past week for the time being. Be that as it may, it serves as another major shake-up to the traditional, exclusive theatrical window movie theaters have enjoyed for years now. Typically speaking, a movie won't arrive on digital until nearly three months after it first hit theaters. But extenuating circumstances have led an increasing number of studios to experiment with early digital releases to help bring in some much-needed revenue.
Universal Pictures was the first to break down this barrier with The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma, all very recent theatrical releases that were still playing in theaters ahead of the shutdown, being made available as of today to rent online for $19.99. Trolls: World Tour will also be available to rent next month. Other studios have followed suit, with Disney releasing Onward to rent today ahead of a sooner-than-expected Disney+ debut next month. Warner Bros. has Birds of Prey, The Way Back and The Gentlemen arriving on March 24, with Sony's Bloodshot and Robert Downey Jr.'s Dolittle arriving that day as well. Lionsgate's faith-based drama I Still Believe is slated for March 27.
Sonic the Hedgehog, which stars James Marsden, Jim Carrey and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, had proved to be a big hit at the box office before movie theaters closed their doors. The adaptation of the classic Sega video game series grossed more than $306 million globally and recently passed Detective Pikachu as the highest-grossing video game adaptation at the domestic box office, with $146 million. With that in mind, Paramount stands to gain a lot from an already successful venture by giving people something to watch while they're cooped up at home during this period of self-isolation and social distancing.
The question right now is, will these early digital releases be a temporary measure? Or will this be something that studios try and stick to once things return to normal? Theater chains such as AMC have battled against this for years, arguing it could hurt attendance. Unfortunately, now that the precedent has been set, it may prove difficult to fully turn the ship around. For those who are still interested in getting a physical copy of the movie, Sonic the Hedgehog is arriving on...
I have used this space every Sunday morning for the last four years or so to write about the weekend box office. There have been some exciting weekends, lots of broken box-office records, and some very dull weekends, too. This weekend, however, there was no box office to speak of. Very few theaters across the country remained open, there were no new wide releases, and the major studios made the decision to stop reporting box-office numbers for the foreseeable future.
If you’re an industry website, the box-office report is meant to report on the state of the movie industry. But for us here at Uproxx, it’s mostly about running down what were the most popular movies of the weekend, to check in on what everyone has been watching. I think I can still do that in some respect. Both Apple’s iTunes and Google Play list their most popular digital rentals, Netflix lists its ten most popular movies now, and Hulu lists its popular movies, too. Because we’re all watching movies at home now, these lists should be fairly reflective of the most popular movies over the weekend, more or less.
For Netflix, Spenser Confidential was the top movie over the weekend. The last five movies that Peter Berg have made as a director have all starred Mark Wahlberg, and at the box office, each has paid increasingly fewer dividends, from Lone Survivor to Mile 22. The two clearly love to work together, however, and their latest comes to Netflix and brings in the spectacular Winston Duke along for the ride, as they remake both an ’80s television show based on a massive series of novels created by Robert B. Parker. Critics gave the film 39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences didn’t exactly give it great marks, either, with a 59 percent Audience score. Netflix, however, has done a really great job of putting Post Malone - who is probably a minor character in the movie - front and center on the streaming service.
The most popular movie over on Hulu this weekend is Pete Davidson’s Big Time Adolescence. The film from writer/director Jason Orley also stars Jon Cryer and Machine Gun Kelly. It premiered last year at Sundance. It’s well liked by critics 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and audiences an 82 percent audience score. This is supposed to be part of the beginning of a big year for Davidson, who also starred in The Big Lebowski spin-off, Jesus Rolls, has the semi-autobiographical King of Staten Island directed by Judd Apatow out over the summer, and will star in the next Suicide Squad movie in 2021. He also just released a stand-up special and appeared on Nathan Fillion’s The Rookie!
Unsurprisingly, the rental charts on iTunes and Google Play are being dominated by two movies that dominated at the theatrical box office for the last three months: Jumanji: Next Level and Knives Out, both of which offer great escapes from the current news cycle. Despite already being available...
At this point, nearly all 2020 wide-release films — as well as key specialized titles — are either available for home viewing, or soon will be. And the initial impact is dramatic. Based on the rental charts at iTunes and Amazon Prime, which are updated daily, premium rentals largely priced at $19.99 for 48 hours are flying high.
Both charts show strong performances for Vin Diesel’s sci-fi cyborg revenge actioner “Bloodshot” Sony and for Pixar’s “Onward” Disney; at iTunes, initial results also are strong for “Birds of Prey” Warner Bros..
All of this must come with a caveat: Unlike theater box-office revenue, which is verifiable and comes from independent sources, these charts are created without oversight. However, assuming that they accurately reflect consumer choices, they give a sense of what the shelter-in-place public is willing to pay for.
Here are what both services show today March 26, the price, and the ranking the day prior.iTunes feature films only 1. 1917 Universal $5.99 4 2. Onward Disney $19.99 1 3. Birds of Prey Warner Bros. $19.99 2 4. Bloodshot Sony $19.99 3 5. The Gentlemen STX $14.99 – 6. Jumanji: The Next Level Sony $5.99 5 7. The Fittest Gravitas Ventures $4.99 8 8. Dolittle Universal $19.99 10 9. Contagion Warner Bros. $3.99 7 10. The Way Back Warner Bros. $19.99 – Amazon Prime feature films only 1. Bloodshot Sony $19.99 1 2. Jumanji: The Next Level Sony $5.99 2 3. Knives Out Lionsgate $5.99 3 4. The Greatest Showman Fox $3.99 4 5. Bombshell Lionsgate $5.99 5 6. Onward Disney $19.99 8 7. Midway Lionsgate $5.99 6 8. Uncut Gems A24 $5.99 7 9. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Disney $24.99 10 10. Frozen 2 Disney $4.99 –
The charts aren’t absolutes. It’s possible that Amazon’s list lags a day or more behind iTunes. We’ve noticed that the latter seems to show a quicker response to new entries. iTunes users also seem to have more willingness to spend on premium items. The two services may serve different demographics with Amazon possibly more mass market, less niche.
Universal was first, but not best. Universal was the first to announce, and release, their premium titles “The Invisible Man,” “The Hunt,” and Focus’ “Emma”, but they found little to no Top 10 placement. The more recent offerings are doing much better.
The ground is moving, quickly. Figure all studios are ingesting this data already, and making plans accordingly. Exhibitors are grateful that the all-industry benefits in the congressional relief package apply to them. In the meantime,...