The Sonic Cinematic Universe Breaks Video Game Movie Records Again

I just wanted to type “Sonic Cinematic Universe.”

Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s opening weekend has surpassed the ticket sales record held by the first movie’s debut, making it the biggest opening weekend for any video game movie. According to Variety, Sonic 2’s US box office debut raked in $71 million over the weekend and another $70 million internationally.

That’s pushing it to the halfway point for the first film’s total revenue of $319 million during its big-screen run back in 2020. Prior to Sonic’s live-action series, Pokemon Detective Pikachu held the record for the biggest video game opening. Pikachu’s mystery flick where he’s played by a whole adult man (Ryan Reynolds) with the most unfitting, but somehow absolutely perfect, voice is still the better movie, but I’m happy for Sonic.

Other notable game-to-movie live-action releases among the top ten opening weekends include last February’s Uncharted, the 2001 Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider, Angry Birds, and Rampage. Apparently, the 1993 Super Mario Bros. film does not even make the top 30.

Perhaps the extra push driving fans to see Sonic 2 lies within its expansion of the Sonic Cinematic Universe to include Knuckles, played by Idris Elba. Last February, Paramount and Sega announced Sonic live-action canon would even continue by giving the rival Echidna his own film. Sonic 2 also stars Tails, but Tails did not deliver my favorite movie speech in a riveting Pacific Rim monologue.

Yes, the “Sonic cinematic universe” is a phrase we’re using now, at least that’s according to producer Toby Ascher. It’s a little silly, but characters like Sonic and Pikachu make a cleaner jump between mediums when they embrace those parts that make them absurd, cheeky, and perhaps a few jokes that age with the audience. It’s the goofy stuff like Sonic that makes an easy grab at my childhood nostalgia, while I’d prefer to pass on the hypothetical adaptions of series like Mass Effect. Fanbyte’s Kenneth Shepard gets as much, noting that it “leans in heavier on the video game’s bullshit” but isn’t a mess of “buzzwords and winking” in his thoughts on the film.

Honestly, I just like the most we have to show for video game movie success comes down to Sonic and Pikachu. Without those two, we’re stuck parading around the same character twice with new iterations of Nathan Drake and Lara Croft. That’s a conversation for another day, but all of this is to say: I’m going to watch Pacific Rim later and I’ll catch Sonic 2 when I can watch it from home. Paramount Plus should add it to its streaming library later this month.