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Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 >>

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— Tagline

Sonic the Hedgehog[4] is a 2020 action-adventure comedy film adaptation based on Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise by Sega. The film is directed by Jeff Fowler in his directorial debut and written by Patrick Casey and Josh Miller.[5][6] The film features Ben Schwartz as the voice of the film's titular hero, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik, alongside James Marsden and Tika Sumpter. The film features a small-town sheriff assisting Sonic as he attempts to escape a government scientist who will stop at nothing to catch him.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a CGI/live action hybrid film, and an American–Japanese joint venture between several parties. It was co-produced and financed by Paramount Pictures, with Neal Moritz serving as producer as well through his Original Film banner. Tim Miller also served as executive producer under his animation company Blur Studio, and Sega's Marza Animation Planet unit assisted with the animation. It is the first entry in a film series planned by the company.[7] The film premiered at the Paramount Theatre on 25 January 2020, and was theatrically released in the United States for its world premiere on 14 February 2020 by Paramount Pictures.[2]

Initially, Sony Pictures acquired the film rights to Sonic the Hedgehog from Sega in 2013, before officially giving the film green-light at a private joint Sega/Sony Pictures press conference announcing the film on 10 June 2014.[6] Fowler was hired to direct in 2016, but in October 2017, due to financing issues, Sony sold the rights to the the film to Paramount, who retained the film's production staff.[8] Most of the cast had signed on for the project by August in 2018. Filming shooting took place between July and October in 2018 in Vancouver, Ladysmith and elsewhere on Vancouver Island, Canada.

Sonic the Hedgehog was initially set to be released in November 2019; however, due to the negative reception of the movie's first trailer that debuted at the end of April 2019, it was delayed to 14 February 2020 so that Paramount could redesign the film's titular character.[2][9] The film premiered in early 2020 worldwide, with a later release in China and Korea due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It received mixed-to-positive reviews, with critics praising the performances (particularly those of Schwartz and Carrey), Sonic's design, and its faithfulness to the source material; however, they criticized its plot for its perceived lack of originality.[10][11] Nonetheless, the film set the record for the biggest opening weekend for a video game film in the United States and Canada.[12] It grossed over $319.7 million worldwide,[13] becoming the second highest-grossing film of 2020, and the currently highest-grossing video game film adaptation of all time in North America.[14] The film returned to theaters on 21 August 2020 for a limited time.[15] A sequel, titled Sonic the Hedgehog 2, was released on 8 April 2022 in the United States.[16]

Plot

In San Francisco, California, a seemingly normal day is interrupted by a shocking spectacle: an anthropomorphic hedgehog with blue fur, white gloves and red shoes is running through the city at breathtaking speed while a flying machine piloted by a mustached scientist dressed in red gives chase and fires explosive energy blasts. In the middle of the chase, there is a pause as the hedgehog, named Sonic, begins to narrate what is currently happening and rewinds to the very beginning, recalling his childhood days living on a beautiful island in another world with palm trees, waterfalls, and even loop-de-loops made of soil. He remembers running joyously across the island every day, relishing in life and making full, open use of his natural-born powers despite being told to keep them secret by his doting guardian, Longclaw.

A young Sonic going to Earth through a Ring, by Longclaw's orders.

The toddler Sonic rushes home to the treehouse where Longclaw is resting and playfully bumps into her to wake her up. Longclaw warns Sonic that he might have been noticed because of his coveted powers, but Sonic is not concerned, saying he was too fast to be seen. But as he affectionately presents a sunflower to her as a gift (a gesture that touches the owl), they are ambushed by a tribe of echidna warriors. Her fears realized, Longclaw desperately flies away with Sonic, only for one of the echidnas to fire his arrow and successfully strike her, causing her to plummet to the ground with Sonic still clinging to her. Though injured, Longclaw reminds Sonic of the importance of keeping himself and his powers hidden, and uses a golden Ring to open a portal to a planet on the far side of the universe, called Earth. She gives the rest of the Rings to Sonic in a small bag and tells him to flee to Earth, where he will be safe. The reluctant Sonic runs through the portal while Longclaw stays behind to hold off the approaching echidnas. Seeing her in danger, Sonic desperately runs back to try to save her, but the portal dissipates just before he can reach her, leaving him heartbroken and alone.

Ten years later, Sonic, now a teenager, has adjusted to life on Earth. Tom Wachowski, the local sheriff of Green Hills, Montana, is sitting bored in an empty speed trap, waiting for cars, and Sonic playfully messes with him by zipping past his radar gun at ridiculous speeds. Getting out to investigate, Tom discovers one of Sonic's blue quills lying by a small opening in the long grass and brings it with him as he is called away by his deputy, Wade Whipple, to address a minor issue back in town. Nearby, Sonic saves a turtle from being run over by an approaching car and takes it for a wild ride before leaving it and zipping back to a hidden cave, which he has turned into a makeshift home. Sonic seems to love his life, since he has great fun with the discarded items from the outside world he uses to occupy himself and feels safe since he knows to escape to one of the worlds depicted on a map included in the bag of Rings, should he ever be discovered - specifically, an uninhabited world full of giant mushrooms. He hates the idea, but he is not worried, since Green Hills feels like a home to him. He frequents the town every day and secretly observes the people, his favorites of whom are Tom (or "Donut Lord", as he calls him), and his veterinarian wife Maddie, whom he nicknames "Pretzel Lady" for her yoga flexibility. He also likes to mess with old, eccentric Crazy Carl, the only person in town who actually knows about him and is constantly trying in vain to catch him so he can prove his existence to the townspeople, since they laugh off his claims of a "Blue Devil". Having formed a strong bond with Tom and Maddie from afar, Sonic often hangs out around their house, especially on movie nights. But even with this fun place and all of these so-called "friends" of his, Sonic still feels very lonely in his self-imposed isolation and fears that he will spend the rest of his life alone.

A frustrated Sonic unleashing an electromagnetic pulse.

After coming home one night to find raccoons in his trash can, much to his annoyance, Tom receives from Maddie his long-awaited letter of acceptance into the San Francisco Police Department, and the two discuss the difficult decision to move away from Green Hills, yet Tom is certain that the move is his chance to do more than simple odd jobs as Sheriff of Green Hills and actually save lives. The next day, as Tom recites his departure speech to a donut, Sonic observes the local youth baseball playoffs and sees a young baseball batter high-five his teammates. That night, Sonic goes into the vacant baseball field and plays by himself, using his speed to assume the roles of all the players. He manages to make a perfect play and rejoices, holding his hand up for a high-five, but when he looks around and sees that no one is there to cheer him on, he realizes he is truly alone forever. In his despair, he tries to work off the pain by running desperately around the field, but his sadness only turns to anger and frustration at his situation, his emotions building and causing electricity to emit from his body. Eventually, it becomes too much and he lets loose an anguished scream, the energy within him exploding outward into a massive electromagnetic pulse that knocks out power across the entire Pacific Northwest. Immediately after, Sonic becomes worried that he may have just revealed himself with his outburst and dashes off, hoping no one noticed. Meanwhile, much to the contrary, Wade is left to deal with several phone calls to Green Hills' police station, as the town is completely in the dark. Concerned, he contacts Tom, who starts to give him instructions but ends the call prematurely when he sees the quill he discovered earlier glowing with an electric blue light.

News of the event soon reaches the Pentagon, and Commander Walters of Defense enlists the help of brilliant roboticist and scientific genius, Dr. Robotnik, to discover the cause; in spite of everyone disliking his egotistical nature and odd behavior, he is the best man for the job. After Robotnik and his partner, Agent Stone, take charge of the military detachment stationed at the baseball field, Robotnik's flying, high-tech, egg-shaped drones head into the forest, where one of them finds a footprint from Sonic and scans it; the doctor discovers that his computer cannot find a single match in Earth's animal kingdom to identify the creature responsible for the print, a fact that catches his interest. As the military troops and the drones search the forest for him, Sonic rushes back to his cave to collect his valuables and prepares to leave Earth forever. But just before he can use the Rings to save himself, the troops and drones draw close to his cave and Sonic flees to avoid them, sentimentally bidding goodbye to his cave.

Meanwhile, Tom is on the phone with Maddie, who has flown out to San Francisco to check out their future house, as well as to visit her sister Rachel (who dislikes Tom) and niece Jojo. As Tom tells Maddie about the blackout, he hears a disturbance and sees his trash can toppled over. Thinking the raccoons are back, Tom takes Maddie's tranquilizer gun, ends the call abruptly (which gives Rachel enough reason to suggest to Maddie that she should divorce him), and goes out to investigate the shed. The noise turns out to be Sonic, who broke into the shed so he would have a safe place to use one of his Rings. As he prepares to do so, Tom bursts into the shed and sees him. Both of them scream in terror at the sight of each other, and Tom fires a dart into Sonic's leg. The weakening Sonic sees a picture of San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid on Tom's T-shirt, and as he drops his Ring, it opens a portal above the actual building itself. Collapsing to the floor, Sonic accidentally drops the bag of Rings into the portal, and it lands on the building's roof. The portal thusly closes as Sonic passes out, leaving Tom severely confused at everything that just transpired.

Sonic arguing with Tom.

Shortly after, Tom brings Sonic inside, placing him in a dog cage; he compares him to the quill he found and realizes that Crazy Carl's "Blue Devil" may be real after all. Sonic awakens and climbs out of the cage, and the two finally meet for real and have their first proper conversation. Just then, Robotnik's truck arrives. Explaining that he is unable to simply run away because his legs are weak from the lingering tranquilizer (which is meant for bears), Sonic begs for Tom to protect him from the people coming after him, describing the situation as "life or death". This wording is what convinces Tom to help, as he was initially unwilling to get involved with the matter. He hides Sonic in the attic as he goes out to meet Robotnik, who inconspicuously dispatches his drones to search the house while the two talk outside. Sonic hides from the drones and curls up into a ball to hide among the various sports balls stored in the attic, but when the drones get too close, Sonic flees the attic and causes a noise. Robotnik barges into the house to find only a raccoon eating a cake that Maddie had baked for Tom to celebrate his acceptance letter. As he turns to leave, however, he discovers the quill. When Robotnik threatens Tom to reveal where Sonic is, Sonic shows himself and begs Robotnik to spare Tom, eliciting a terrified scream from Robotnik. Seizing the opportunity, Tom punches Robotnik and knocks him out cold, and after a skirmish with one of Robotnik's drones that was used in threatening Tom, he and Sonic escape the house, driving away in Tom's car. Agent Stone arrives to check on Robotnik, who berates him for not trying to stop the fugitives, states their objective of capturing Sonic for examination, and tells him to bring the quill.

With Tom and Sonic now on the run, Tom asks Sonic to explain himself; Sonic informs him of the purpose of his lost Rings-- "advanced cultures" use Rings to travel to different worlds—and adds that therefore, he needs to get to San Francisco so he can get them back and escape to the Mushroom Planet. The story proves too bizarre for Tom to believe, so he pulls over and tells Sonic to go there by himself, explaining that this is a bad time for him to end up in trouble and citing that he has accomplished what Sonic asked him to do: save his life. However, Sonic does not know where San Francisco is, and following Tom's directions to simply head west only causes him to crash straight into the Pacific Ocean and run back to Tom wet, cold, covered in seaweed, and wearing a fish on his head. Sonic blames Tom for his fate because of the sheriff's role in making him lose his Rings and insists he cannot accomplish his goal alone. Reluctantly, Tom agrees to take Sonic with him to San Francisco.

As the two begin their travels, Sonic treats the journey as a fun road trip; he admires the attractions along the way, such as The World's Largest Rubber Ball, barely paying any mind to Tom admonishing him for not taking the trouble they are both in seriously. That night, they stop in a certain section of town, and Tom tells Sonic to stay in the car as he uses a nearby payphone to call Wade, who reveals that Robotnik and his agents are searching for Tom and are with him in the station. Robotnik takes the phone and warns Tom that he is coming for him, stating how furious he is with the sheriff for punching him in the face due to it reminding him of a similar situation regarding a bully in his childhood that he had solved through technology. Afterwards, he leaves with the agents, with Wade warning him that he will inform people about this incident. Meanwhile, Sonic tries desperately to control his excitement over an extremely entertaining-looking biker bar, but eventually caves in.

Sonic and Tom in the Piston Pit.

Tom comes back to his car with a purchased meal, only to find Sonic missing. He finds Sonic in the Piston Pit across the street and orders him out, but Sonic, who has disguised himself to blend in, persuades him to stay and have fun with him. Sonic compiles a "bucket list" of the things he would like to do on Earth, but becomes sad when he realizes he might not be able to do them since he has to leave Earth soon. But Tom encourages Sonic to try to do as much as he can right where they are, and the two take a while to enjoy themselves with all the bar's activities, with Sonic steadily crossing off items on the list as they go. Unfortunately, a group of rough-looking punks come looking for trouble and Sonic aggravates their leader, starting a bar fight. The leader of the punks attacks Sonic, but Sonic speeds up his awareness and runs around the bar, saving Tom from attackers and setting up sassy pranks and traps to end the fight, all in the span of the single moment before the punk leader can reach him. The fight is ended abruptly by Sonic's devices and the punk leader crashes through the window wearing a wall-mounted bear head. Tom and Sonic flee the bar, outrunning the angry patrons.

The two then spend the night in a local motel, and after Sonic runs around the room enjoying himself with various activities, Tom asks him about this other planet to which he must go when he leaves Earth. Sonic reveals that it is a very unenviable place and wonders aloud about whether Longclaw might have been wrong, pondering the possibility of having a life on Earth; he falls asleep not long after. As Tom tucks him in, he sees that one of the remaining items on Sonic's bucket list is to "make a real friend." At that moment, he hears a news report that features a warning about him, as he has been declared a domestic terrorist because of his actions in protecting Sonic from Robotnik and the military.

The next morning, Robotnik and Stone have arrived at the Piston Pit, which is under repairs from the bar fight, to interrogate the bar patrons, including the injured punk leader (who gets thrown through the same window for being stubborn about giving up information); they learn that Tom and Sonic are heading to San Francisco. Robotnik triangulates their location and gives chase. On the road, Sonic asks Tom about what he would have on his own bucket list. Tom reveals his intentions to leave Green Hills to become a San Francisco street cop and prove himself as a hero, but Sonic is baffled and angered by the fact that Tom would want to leave behind such a perfect town and all the people he cares about; he argues that unlike himself, Tom has no villains chasing him, as well as pointing out that the citizens of Green Hills depend on him to help them with their problems when Tom responds by saying they could call anyone else for help. Simultaneously, Robotnik finds them and sends out a large six-wheeled Badnik to attack them.

Sonic taunting a destroyed Badnik.

A battle on the road ensues, and Tom and Sonic work together to destroy the machine, despite Sonic's disdain for Tom's ambitions occasionally showing—in particular, one moment at the beginning of the fight where Sonic's electrical powers kick in again as he continues to emotionally call Tom out for choosing to leave his "perfect" hometown in spite of the danger they are in, comparing it to his own experience of being forced off his homeworld; said powers are used to their advantage against the machine via a subsequent (and involuntary) supercharged spin attack from Sonic—but a pattern emerges where every time the two think they have defeated the machine, Robotnik activates another, smaller phase to continue the chase.

The second-to-last phase of the machine involves it becoming a small drone and shearing the hood off of Tom's car with a laser beam. After they deal with this phase, the machine is reduced to a sticky bomb that attaches itself to Sonic's hand, and they pull off the road to get rid of it. But just when Sonic manages to transfer it to a rock and starts to walk away to high-five Tom, it explodes with the hedgehog still close by. As the smoke clears, Tom finds Sonic lying unconscious on the ground and runs over to him, attempting to get him to wake up. Robotnik is enraged that they survived and berates Stone for noting their persistence. At that moment, however, Robotnik finds that the quill in Stone's pocket is glowing with blue, electric light and is intrigued.

Finally reaching San Francisco, Tom rushes to the house where Maddie is staying with Rachel and Jojo as he carries the still-unconscious Sonic, who he had wrapped in a towel to conceal him. He is greeted by an irate Rachel, who has seen the news reports on him and refuses to let him in until Maddie intervenes. Jojo and Tom's dog, Ozzie, come to greet him, and as Rachel and Maddie argue about Tom, Ozzie pulls away the towel, revealing Sonic. Rachel faints at the sight, and Maddie and Jojo just stare.

Meanwhile, Robotnik analyzes the quill and the energy it contains. As he waits, he amuses himself by dancing to a tune until he is startled half to death by the sudden appearance of Agent Stone, who has come to offer a latte. At that moment, the machine finishes analyzing the quill, revealing it to contain unlimited energy—energy that Robotnik believes can enable his prototype flying craft, the Eggpod, to reach its full potential.

Tom and Maddie tend to the injured Sonic, while an annoyed Rachel sits bound in a chair to prevent her from interfering. Tom's reason for bringing Sonic here was to have Maddie check on him and figure out what is wrong with him using her experience as a veterinarian, but Maddie insists she only knows how to work with Earth animals; Sonic's alien biology is beyond her understanding. Instead, she uses smelling salts from a human first aid kit to awaken Sonic, who zips around the room at breathtaking speed before frantically coming to grips with his surroundings and enthusiastically greeting Pretzel Lady. Pulling Tom into another room, a terrified Maddie asks him who and what Sonic is, and Tom reveals the truth of their adventures together and Sonic's intent to reach the Transamerica Pyramid. Maddie ultimately accepts her husband's situation without much issue, recalling his desire to help people in danger and reasoning that "blue alien hedgehogs still count as people." Simultaneously, Jojo returns from a short trip upstairs to bring Sonic a new pair of bright red shoes so that his feet will no longer hurt, having noticed while he was unconscious that his old shoes were well-worn and had holes down to the socks from all of his running; he takes an instant liking to the new shoes, especially since no one had ever given him a gift before (which is something else for him to check off the bucket list), and immediately puts them on. Sonic also meets Ozzie, of whom he is jealous (Tom had referred to the dog as his "best animal friend" in the conversation that took place just before their fight on the road with Robotnik's machine, much to Sonic's chagrin), but from whom he enjoys an affectionate face-licking.

Sonic's last conversation with Tom and Maddie.

Deciding that they can no longer use Tom's damaged car as it would draw attention to them, Tom and Maddie borrow the indignant Rachel's car and head with Sonic (who drives Rachel's car with disastrous results) to the Transamerica Pyramid, where Tom uses the false pretense of saving a jumper to gain the needed clearance to travel to the roof. Tom and Maddie carry Sonic inside a bag, eliciting grave concern from onlookers who believe that the pair are carrying an abducted child. The three finally reach the roof, where Sonic at last finds and retrieves his bag of Rings. The hedgehog briefly explains how the Rings work: the user has to think of the desired destination as they throw one. He takes the opportunity to apologize to Tom for harshly and hastily judging the sheriff's decision to leave Green Hills, having realized that it was a difficult choice, and states that while he does not want to leave Earth, he will only put others in danger by staying. Sonic and Tom each admit they will miss the other, and Sonic expresses his gratitude for the good times they had over the past two days; he also thanks Tom for saving his life. Sonic attempts to throw a Ring to open the portal to the Mushroom Planet, but it ends up uselessly bouncing off of one of Robotnik's drones. Many more drones surround the three as Robotnik himself appears in his Eggpod, now containing Sonic's quill, to meet them. After a brief exchange between Robotnik and Tom, Sonic taunts Robotnik by calling him "Eggman" after his egg-shaped drones. Robotnik readies his drones to blow the three away, but in an impromptu plan to protect Tom and Maddie since they do not possess super-speed and are thus vulnerable to Robotnik's coming onslaught, Sonic pushes them off the top of the building.

Briefly showing shock at the unexpected action (but refusing to fully acknowledge said shock), Robotnik has his drones fire missiles and bullets at Sonic, who speeds up his awareness just before they make contact and casually pushes the ones in front of him aside, then repeatedly grabs more missiles out of the air and either redirects them back into several of the drones or plays around with them, all in the span of milliseconds. But in the middle of this, Robotnik still has enough time to press a button that charges the Eggpod with energy from the quill, allowing it (and by extension, himself) to move and react just as fast. He fires a blast at Sonic that the unexpecting hedgehog only narrowly avoids, the shockwave knocking him out of bullet time and into momentary delirium; quickly recovering from this to find Tom and Maddie still falling, he grabs one of the Rings falling with him by using one of his quills as a reach extender and throws it, opening a portal beneath them that transports the two back to Green Hills. Tom and Maddie end up landing safely in a pile of hay within a farmer's barn, while back in San Francisco, Sonic lands in a tree before crashing to the ground, along with the rest of the Rings and Robotnik's destroyed drones. Meanwhile, the owner of the barn greets Tom and Maddie, asking for their help in aiding a cow's effort to give birth.

Dr. Robotnik chasing Sonic in Egypt.

Robotnik confronts Sonic and taunts him, but Sonic gathers up his spilled Rings and runs through the city as Robotnik gives chase in the Eggpod, as seen at the beginning of the film. Narrating again, Sonic notes how this has brought the story full circle and earnestly continues from where he left off, wanting to know what happens next just as much as the audience. As Robotnik continues his pursuit, Sonic is shocked by his ability to keep up with him, as no one has ever done that before. Sonic opens a portal to Paris, France, with him and Robotnik disrupting a mime act being performed for a young girl as they rush past. His next Ring portal brings him and the doctor to China, where the latter chases Sonic along the Great Wall of China. Next, Sonic opens a portal to Egypt, where Robotnik destroys many centuries-old monuments in his zeal to catch Sonic. Sonic uses his speed to create a sand whirlwind that temporarily disrupts Robotnik's visual contact, but Robotnik sees Sonic running up the side of one of the Great Pyramids and follows him to the top, firing a blast just as Sonic manages to open another portal Ring.

The portal brings Sonic back to Green Hills, now at night, but the blast sends him hurtling through the Ring and into the street, leaving him barely able to move from a combination of the chase and his injuries. Robotnik's Eggpod slowly emerges through the portal, and the terrified onlookers flee as Tom and Maddie arrive on the scene. As Sonic collapses to the ground entirely, Robotnik prepares to kill him, but Tom uses one of Sonic's Rings to get behind him and engage him in physical combat inside the open cockpit of his vehicle, landing multiple punches on him in order to throw off his focus and protect Sonic. Unfortunately, Tom is ultimately hurled out of the cockpit, leaving Robotnik to question why the winded sheriff would be willing to throw his life away for a "silly little alien." His attention now focused on Tom, he once again prepares to strike, but is thrown off a second time by a near-miss gunshot from Wade, joined by a chainsaw-wielding Crazy Carl (who is all too willing to point out to everyone that this is concrete proof of the "Blue Devil" being a real creature and not a figment of his imagination) and some of the local townspeople in defending Tom and Sonic. However, Maddie draws Tom's attention back to Sonic; he remains motionless and silent, appearing to everyone as if he had lost his life. Robotnik insensitively suggests putting the hedgehog's body on ice to keep it fresh and remarks that he was just an alien who did not belong here. With restrained anger, Tom responds by telling Robotnik that Sonic knew more about being human than he ever will, proclaiming him to have been his friend.

Sonic landing a final smash on the Eggpod.

Shortly after the statement, Sonic, who had only been dazed by Robotnik's attack, opens his eyes and gets to his feet, his body supercharged with electric energy—some of which he siphons from the quill of his Robotnik is using, returning his craft to its normal speed. Tom, Maddie, and the townspeople step back, allowing Sonic to handle things; fueled by passion, the hedgehog boldly proclaims to Robotnik that he will no longer use the power which is rightfully his to run away, but will use it to protect his friends. Robotnik pulls down his goggles and the two opponents become locked in a standoff, preparing to meet in full-on battle. The doctor makes the first move by firing his missiles, but Sonic avoids them and bounces off the buildings to strike Robotnik's Eggpod with an increasingly rapid barrage of body-slams. With the vehicle severely damaged, but still afloat, Sonic declares that he is not the one leaving Earth and calls for Tom, who throws a Ring behind Robotnik that creates a portal to the Mushroom Planet. Then, at last, Sonic dashes straight at Robotnik's vehicle and strikes it with a final spin attack that exerts enough force to send it flying backwards through the portal just as it closes, sealing the screaming doctor away in another world.

With the fight over, the electricity arcing from Sonic's body fades, and he returns to his normal state as the townspeople cheer for him. Tom and Sonic reunite and congratulate each other on getting rid of Robotnik together, and Tom returns Sonic's Rings (though not before telling him not to push people off buildings anymore, which Sonic cannot promise), as well as giving Sonic the high-five he had wanted since the baseball game, much to the latter's sheer delight. Maddie, however, is horrified to realize they left Rachel tied to the chair in San Francisco and states they can never go back. Tom is fine with that, telling Maddie that he has decided not to leave Green Hills anyway, since he has already saved a life. As Wade disperses the crowd of townspeople, Sonic follows Tom and Maddie.

The next day, as Tom and Maddie are repairing and repainting their house from the damage caused by Robotnik's drone, Commander Walters comes to thank Tom for not speaking about the events of the past few days, and to inform him that his guilt has been erased; he also denies that Robotnik ever existed when Tom brings him up, which the sheriff wishes aloud was true. As a bonus, the official presents Tom with an Olive Garden gift card, then asks if Sonic might be willing to talk to the President, but Tom falsely claims that Sonic has left so as to spare him that. After the official leaves, Sonic comes out of hiding and asks if they would like to watch a movie, but Maddie tells him that it is time to go back to his cave. Disappointed and annoyed, Sonic heads for the front door, assuming they meant his old cave, but they imply to him that they meant something else. Tom and Maddie open the attic door so that Sonic can look inside; he is astonished to find that the attic has been turned into a room for him that contains all of his belongings from the old cave. Overcome with joy, Sonic runs around and relishes in having his things back. Tom and Maddie sit with Sonic on his race car bed and welcome him home, and Sonic gives them his heartfelt thanks. As the view zooms out and away from the house, Ozzie comes to lick Sonic again, with Sonic still jealous but enjoying the licking.

An insane Robotnik exploring the Mushroom Planet.

Three months later, on the Mushroom Planet, Robotnik has completely lost his sanity, despite his belief that he has never done so. As he finishes shaving himself totally bald, he gazes at his reflection in a pool of water, now with an extremely long, grown-out moustache that looks completely zany. Talking to a rock that he has carved to resemble Agent Stone, he throws it and tells it to perform "rock-connaissance" for him. He reflects on his situation and remarks that a lesser man would die in such a place. But then, he holds up a small container with Sonic's quill inside it, proclaiming that he will be home by Christmas, then continues to explore and toss the Agent Stone rock around, laughing madly.

Tails tracking Sonic's presence on Earth.

A mid-credits scene shows forested hills in an area near Green Hills. There, the leaves stir as a Ring portal opens. From it emerges a two-tailed fox, who uses a small handheld device to determine from the present levels of energy whether Sonic might be near. Finding the readings to be sufficient, the fox hopes aloud that he is not too late in finding him and uses his twin tails like helicopter blades to take off flying into the vast forest towards Green Hills.

Cast

Voice cast

Live-action cast

Production

Early attempts

The first known development of a film adaptation based on the the video games from the Sonic the Hedgehog series arose in 1993, back when DiC Entertainment was producing the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog television series. Michealene Risley, who served as the newly appointed consumer products director who helped license the Sonic brand for Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, would negotiate with numerous producers from Hollywood. Meanwhile, Tom Kalinske, the CEO of Sega of America at the time, was wary of this idea, fearing it could damage the Sonic brand, and would cite the commercial and critical failures of the Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter films. Regardless of Kalinske's concerns though, the Japanese branch of Sega was enthusiastic about the idea. As such, Sega struck a development deal with MGM and Trilogy Entertainment Group, with Pen Densham as executive producer, in August 1994.[35]

For the project, MGM and Sega hired Richard Jefferies, who was an associate of Risley from her days at Marvel Comics. Jefferies' job was to write a film treatment. Around that time, Sega was working on the development of Sonic X-treme, which would end up being canceled in late 1996, for the Sega Saturn. This prompted, Sega to ask Jefferies on behalf of Sega of America to include the Sega Saturn in the screenplay. Eventually, Jefferies' treatment produced the draft for Sonic the Hedgehog: Wonders of the World, which was submitted in May of 1995. While those among MGM and the Sega executives gave a positive response to the draft, the CEO of Sega, Shinobu Toyoda, suggested that Jefferies replaced Robotnik's role in the film with a meaner villain. Ultimately, MGM would canceled Sonic the Hedgehog: Wonders of the World following a failed attempt to get DreamWorks to revive it. According to suggestions from Jeffries, the project was scrapped because both Sega and MGM wanted a higher share of the profits. Densham on the other hand said it followed creative differences between Sega and Trilogy:[35]

My feeling at the time - and I could be wrong about this - but the reason movies fall apart between Hollywood and the game world is because each party feels like they should have 75% of the deal. Just on financial terms. But it could be, at Sega, that the focus groups weren't responding to the evolution of the character, and the heyday of the character was behind them. Maybe they were hoping a movie could help reinvigorate that. But maybe it was a response to where Sonic was headed, and maybe MGM came to that conclusion themselves. I don't know.

Richard Jeffries, Kotaku[35]

In 2002, Ben Hurst, a screenwriter for the Sonic the Hedgehog television series, would approach and consult DIC Entertainment about the possibility of making an animated Sonic film which was to serve as a continuation of the Sonic the Hedgehog television series. This prompted DiC Entertainment to put Hurst in contact with a Sega executive interested in the idea. Eventually, Hurst came into contact with Ken Penders, the by-then head writer of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, after the latter had been alerted to Hurst's plans. Despite Hurst telling Penders of his strategy and offering him involvement in his effort, Penders would inform Sega's Japanese division that Hurst was trying to co-opt the Sonic franchise. This would result in Sega dismiss Hurst and his proposal.[36] Not long after, in September 2003, Penders would present his own concept for a Sonic the Hedgehog film, titled Sonic Armageddon. This film, according to Penders would have served as an origin story and a reset for the series that would have resolved the plot threads that originated from the Sonic the Hedgehog television series and had continued into the comic series produced by Archie Comics. However, the project got scrapped in 2007 due to a corporate upheaval and the death of Robert Leffler, a Sega licensing manager who had been supporting Penders.[37]

Development

Eventually, Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired the rights to distribute a film under the license of the Sonic the Hedgehog series in 2013.[38] On 3 December 2013, Sony Pictures Digital Domain Names, Inc., a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, filed a notice of registration for three inactive websites addressed as "SonicTheHedgehog-Movie.com", "SonicTheHedgehog-Movie.net" and "SonicTheHedgehogMovie.net". The registrations were reported by Sonic Stadium on 7 December, but neither Sony Pictures nor Sega confirmed the existence of a proposed film project at the time.[39]

On 20 March 2014, a film adaptation was first hinted when The Tracking Board released a rumor about the film, stating that it would receive a "Dark Knight treatment" and posted a writer shortlist of proposed writers involved.[40] On 10 June 2014, the official Sonic website was updated, with a locked section listing "TV and Movies."[41] Later that same day, at a private Sega/Sony Pictures press conference, The Hollywood Reporter reported the confirmation of a live-action animated film hybrid based on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, which would be a joint venture between Sony Pictures and Marza Animation Planet, a Japan-based subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings which had produced CGI cutscenes for several Sonic games, and that Sony had green-lit the project.[6] It would be produced by Neal H. Moritz by his Original Film banner alongside Takeshi Ito, Mie Onishi and Toru Nakahara, and written by Evan Susser and Van Robichaux.[6]

It was later revealed on 21 June 2014 that Sonic the Hedgehog and its eventual successor films will be a separate continuity from the Sonic Boom continuity.[42] On 19 November 2014, Van Robichaux later stated that the film production team was "aiming for [a] PG-13 [rating]".[43]

In February 2016, Hajime Satomi, the CEO of Sega, went on record and stated that Sonic the Hedgehog was scheduled for a 2018 release.[44] On 31 October 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Blur Studio's Tim Miller, who had left directing Deadpool 2 due to creative differences, and Jeff Fowler had been hired in 2016 to develop the film; Fowler would make his directorial debut, and Miller would serve as executive producer. Blur Studio previously produced cutscenes for the games Shadow the Hedgehog, for which Fowler directed cutscenes, and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Patrick Casey, Josh Miller and Oren Uziel were writing the new screenplay, while Casey and Miller wrote the story.[45][46][47]

It was later announced on 2 October 2017 that Paramount Pictures had acquired the film rights to Sonic the Hedgehog from Sony, replacing the latter as distributor. Sony had temporally shut down production before the switch after placing it into turnaround.[8] The announcement came after Neal Moritz's Original Film banner signed a first-look production deal with Paramount the prior month, ending their previous deal with Sony, and several months after Sony's film financing partner LStar Capital ended its deal with Sony due to a string of box office failures from the studio.[48][49] Despite the change of studios, the production staff working on the film remained employed and moved to Paramount as well.[8]

On 22 February 2018, an official press release was put out confirming the film's move to Paramount and a release date of November 2019, a date that was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter two days prior.[50][51][52] Sega had creative input into the project and co-financed it with Paramount, who would release the film worldwide.[50] During filming, the picture was shot under the working title "Casino Night", a reference to the level in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.[53] Early drafts featured Sonic's Super Sonic form and its associated Chaos Emeralds from the video games. However, these ideas were scrapped, which according to Fowler, was because he felt "it didn't make sense to obviously bring in the Super Sonic thing just yet." Instead, he wanted for the story to focus on the portraying how Sonic and Robotnik's rivalry came to be.[54]

Independent outlet Omega Underground reported on 4 March 2018 that the film's producers were circling Junkie XL to compose the film's musical score, reuniting him with Miller once again after doing the score for Deadpool. The site also reported that Paramount was aiming to begin filming at some point in July, backing up story co-writer Van Robichaux's speculation he tweeted a month prior.[55][56] On 29 May 2018, it was revealed that the film would have a budget of approximately $90 million.[57]

On 12 June 2018, it was later stated that shots of the film would be filmed along Vancouver Island's Highway 19 during mid-September 2018, and that the movie's current title was "SONIC".[58] At Too Many Games in 2018, Johnny Gioeli stated that "Sega Has Nothing To Do With The Sonic Movie."[59] Takashi Iizuka soon corrected this statement though, saying that he would be supervising the film.[60] In an exclusive IGN interview the first official poster for the film was released on 10 December 2018, revealing its official title as Sonic the Hedgehog.[4]

Casting

On 29 May 2018, it was reported that Paul Rudd was in talks for a lead role as Tom, "a cop who befriends Sonic and will likely team up to defeat Dr. Eggman." Paramount later clarified that this was not the case, but that Rudd had been considered for the role at one point.[57] The following day, it was announced that James Marsden had been cast in an undisclosed role,[61] later revealed to be the role of Tom Wachowski.[22] On 7 June 2018, it was announced that Tika Sumpter was cast to star opposite James Marsden in an undisclosed role,[62] later revealed to be Tom Wachowski's wife,[27] Dr. Maddie Wachowski.[28] Meanwhile, Jim Carrey was cast to play the film's main villain, Dr. Robotnik.[20]

Ben Schwartz later joined the film's cast in August 2018 as the English voice of Sonic the Hedgehog.[17] Schwartz, who is a fan of the original Sonic video games for the Sega Mega Drive console, was chosen to play Sonic after Fowler and Miller had cast him for a test reading as they had pitched the project to several studios before Paramount acquired production and distribution rights. .[63] Since they enjoyed Schwartz's performance, they would officially cast him as Sonic's voice actor.[63] A few days later, Adam Pally and Neal McDonough were cast.[64] Debs Howard and Elfina Luk would later joined the cast during November of the same year.[65] Riff Raff was cast in an undisclosed role as well, but he ended up being cut from the final film product.[66][67][68]

Filming

On 1 April 2018, it was announced that filming was going to start on 30 July in Vancouver and Ladysmith, British Columbia, instead of Atlanta as previously reported.[69]

Principal photography commenced in mid-September 2018 and ended in Vancouver, Ladysmith, and Vancouver Island on 16 October 2018.[18][18][70] Sites in Liwa Oasis, United Arab Emirates, also served as key production scenes filmed for Sonic the Hedgehog.[71] During filming, Ben Schwartz was unavailable, so a stand in had to perform together with James Marsden.[72]

A casting call was ordered to run on 18 Aug 2018, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm PT and 19 Aug 2018, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm PT for residents of Ladysmith, BC. The roles were for the "townsfolk" from the fictional town, Green Hills.[73] Filming ended on 16 October 2018.[74] Despite this, more filming took place in a pre-booked section of downtown San Fransisco in late October.[75] Post-production of Sonic the Hedgehog and additional photography began and ended in New York in October, where Jim Carrey shot his scenes.[18][76]

Visual effects and design

Following the criticism of Sonic's initial design, director Jeff Fowler stated that Sonic would be redesigned, resulting in the film's release being postponed three months.

The visual effects for Sonic the Hedgehog were provided by Industrial Light & Magic, Blur Studio, Digital Domain, Trixter, and the Moving Picture Company.[77]

Screenwriter Patrick Casey revealed that for the film, Sonic would have a design that was still him and yet a "little more realistic".[78] As promised, the production team produced a realistic visual of Sonic using computer animation, adding fur, new running sneakers, two separate eyes,[4] and a more human-like physique.[79] The living teddy bear, Ted, from the Ted film series, was used as a reference on how to plant a CGI-generated character in a real-life setting. In an interview with IGN's editorial, Tim Miller explained Sonic's design:

That was always Stage 1 of adapting it to what the real world is and what a real animal would be like, it would be weird and it would feel like he was running around nude if he was some sort of otter-like thing. It was always, for us, fur, and we never considered anything different. It’s part of what integrates him into the real world and makes him a real creature. [...] I don’t think SEGA was entirely happy with the eye decision, but these sorts of things you go, ‘It’s going to look weird if we don’t do this.’ But everything is a discussion, and that’s kind of the goal, which is to only change what’s necessary and stay true to the rest of it.

Tim Miller, IGN[4]

When the original trailer of the film was released on 30 April 2019, Sonic's design was met with an overwhelmingly negative reception from both internet viewers and long-time fans of the series. Four days later, Fowler announced on Twitter on 2 May 2019 that Sonic would be redesigned from the ground up.[80] As such, Sonic the Hedgehog was delayed to 14 February 2020, canceling its premiere on 8 November 2019.[81]

Miller later summed up his point of view on the design controversy during an interview Variety in the following words:

Look, I was with fans and so was Jeff. When the s–t hit the fan, I went over there and said, “The most important thing to do, man, is say, ‘I f–ked up,’ [...] He’d already sent a tweet out an hour before I got there. He’s a good man. It was exactly the right way to handle that. The fans have a voice in this too. There’s a right way to listen.

Tim Miller, Variety[82]

For the purpose of redesigning Sonic, Tyson Hesse, an artist who had worked on previous medias for the Sonic the Hedgehog series, especially the comics published by Archie Comics and the animated intro for Sonic Mania, was brought on to lead the redesign. During the redesign, Sonic was given larger and differently colored eyes, new sneakers, white gloves, and a less human-based body to better resemble his mainstream counterpart.[83] During the redesign process, Sonic's character model was redesigned by Marza Animation Planet.[84] An estimated $5 million was added to the production budget for the film due to Sonic's redesign.[85] The redesign took about five months, although it was achieved without additional overtime.[86]

Music

The film's soundtrack artwork.

On 13 February 2019, Junkie XL, who previously worked with executive producer Miller on Deadpool, confirmed that he would compose the score for Sonic the Hedgehog.[87][88] Riff Raff, who reportedly had a role in the film, makes an appearance on the soundtrack as well.[89]

An original song, "BOOM" by X Ambassadors, appears in the soundtrack, the single having been released on 24 January 2020 by Atlantic Records. On 23 January 2020, it was announced that a single titled "Speed Me Up" performed by Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty and Sueco the Child would be featured in the film as well.[90] "Speed Me Up" itself received 15 million streams, along with 1.8 billion views for the "Speed Me Up" TikTok challenge.[91] "Friends" by Hyper Potions, which serves opening theme for Sonic Mania, appears in the film as well. The soundtrack also includes arrangements of the tracks from Masato Nakamura's score for the original Sonic the Hedgehog.[92] For the soundtrack, Holkenborg sought to catch the feelings for Nakamura's soundtracks for the original Sonic the Hedgehog and [Sonic the Hedgehog 2|Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit)]]. For this purpose, Holkenborg made use of Yamaha digital FM synthesizers (such as the DX7) similar to the Yamaha YM2612 sound chip for the Sega Mega Drive.[93][94]

The soundtrack, Sonic the Hedgehog (Music from the Motion Picture), was released alongside the film on 14 February 2020 in both digital and physical formats.[95] A limited vinyl edition of the film's soundtrack was also released by Enjoy the Ride Records.[96] Riff Raff, who had a role in the film but was cut, appears on the soundtrack.[89]

Several songs were featured in promotion of the film including "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio, "Supersonic" by J.J. Fad and "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones. In the film itself, featured songs included "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen, "Flight of the Valkyries" by Richard Wagner (performed by Jim Carrey), "All Fired Up" by The Lazys, "White Lightning" by Tennessee River Crooks, "Bad News" by Ghost Hounds, "I'm Turnin' 'Em Up" by Wyley Randall, "BOOM" by X Ambassadors, "Love in the City" by John Christopher Stokes, "Where Evil Grows" by The Poppy Family, and "Catch Me I’m Falling" by Kelly Finnigan.).

Originally, Junkie XL wanted to use the theme of Green Hill Zone as a recurring leitmotif throughout the film; however, due to legal issues from the rights to the original game's soundtrack being owned by its composer, Masato Nakamura, this was cut from the film. Despite this, the theme was added during the Paramount Pictures logo at the start of the film and in the second trailer. Also, a piano version by Jon Batiste was featured in the film's final scene.[97]

Release

Marketing

The movie's design of Sonic was made into a playable character in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle and Sonic Dash.

At the Comic Con Experience in Brazil on 6 December 2018, test footage was screened for the public to see.[98] Later, on 10 December 2018, a teaser poster featuring the redesigned Sonic was released.[4] The design was unfavorably likened to those from the 2019 video game film adaptation, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, which added fur and skin textures to the Pokémon characters.[79] The reveal of Sonic's redesign received mostly negative responses from critics and fans alike.[79][99] Sonic's humanoid appearance in particular was described as evoking an uncanny valley-type of revulsive response by viewers.[100] Former members of Sonic Team, who created the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, likewise expressed surprise at the design.[101]

Shortly after the first poster for the film was revealed, a second one was leaked online, prompting fans to criticize Sonic's design for its positioning of Sonic's legs and its lack of resemblance to the Sonic games. This would lead to the creation of an internet meme where users recreated the position.[102][103] The official Twitter account for the film soon after posted an image of Sonic behind a sign reading: "Can't a guy work out?"[104] More criticism from fans later emerged when images of Sonic's design leaked in March 2019. "Shocked" by the design, former Sonic Team president and Sonic co-creator, Yuji Naka, felt the ratio of Sonic's head and abdomen was imbalanced.[105]

The first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog was shown on 4 April 2019 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.[106] It was subsequently released online on 30 April. What it got was near-unanimous criticism,[107][108][109] with Gita Jackson of Kotaku describing it as "horrific" and "a blight upon this weary earth."[107] Sonic's design was likewise criticized, his humanoid appearance in particular,[107][109] and some writers found the use of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" in the trailer inappropriate.[110][111] Conversely, CNET's Sean Keane praised the humor and references to past Sonic games.[112] Two days after its release, the trailer had been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube, having received hundreds of thousands of "dislike" ratings that serverely outnumbered the "likes" ratings.[113] Paramount deleted the original trailer from its official YouTube channel around the same time when the new trailer was released.

A second trailer, which revealed the newly redesigned Sonic, was released on 12 November 2019.[114] The trailer received far more positive responses, with many praising Sonic's new design. The tone and the humor also received positive reviews. The choice of song, J. J. Fad's "Supersonic," received similar praise.[115] Naka said he felt the new design was "much more Sonic-like."[116] The second trailer received thousands of likes and the highest like-to-dislike ratio of any trailer on Google in the previous three years.[117]

On 11 December 2019, Sega of America announced the line of merchandise that would be releasing for the film.[118] Toys were to be made by Jakks Pacific and Build-A-Bear Workshop, and Toy Factory and Sega Amusements would make novelty items for amusement parks and attractions. Children's books were to be published by Penguin Books. Apparel and home decor would be made by Bioworld, Bentex, TVM Fashion Lab, Cooneen and Franco Manufacturing. A statue would be made by Diamond Select Toys, and Sega Shop would release various items. In-theater promotions like drink toppers and popcorn buckets would be offered by Snapco and Ping Solutions.

More promotions included a tie-in with fast food restaurant Jack in the Box for Tiny Tacos, and an event in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle and Sonic Dash which added a new track based on a location from the film and unlockable playable teen and baby versions of Sonic.[119][120][121] Other partners were added to the film's website, which included Puma, Valpak, Books-A-Million and Bimbo.

Theatrical release and premiere

The accompanying artwork for the 2020 reschedule.

Originally, Sonic the Hedgehog was scheduled for a 2018 release by Sony Pictures Releasing.[44][51] However, shortly after taking over the rights, Paramount Pictures rescheduled it to 15 November 2019.[51] Eventually though, it was changed again for a release in the United States on 8 November 2019.[122] Later, in May 2019, director Jeff Fowler announced that the film would be delayed (again) to 14 February 2020, in order to "make Sonic just right" following the decision to make changes to Sonic's design in the film.[2][123] Playing with Fire took the original release date.[124][125]

The movie's world premiere took place at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles on 25 January 2020.[126] The film was originally going to be released in Japan on 27 March 2020, but it was delayed until 26 June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home media

On 20 March 2020, Paramount Pictures announced that Sonic the Hedgehog would be released to digital on demand in both the United States and Canada before the end of the usual 90-day theatrical run. The decision to release it that much earlier than most films would after being released in cinema was due to film studios alongside Paramount Pictures choosing to release films to home media much earlier due to movie theaters closures.[127] The digital version was released on 31 March 2020,[127] and was released on DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray by Paramount Home Entertainment on 19 May 2020.[128][129] The bonus features for the film include:

Reception

Box office

Following its release, Sonic the Hedgehog would gross about $149 million across both the United States and Canada, and over $170.7 million in other territories, adding up to a worldwide total of over $319.7 million.[13] It would also become the sixth-highest-grossing film in 2020, and the highest-grossing superhero film of the same year, notably putting an end to the ten-year long honor Marvel Studios had held from 2010 to 2019 about having the highest-grossing film in the superhero genre.[130][131] By comparison, the film's budget has been estimated to somwhere between $85 million[13] and $90 million.[132][133][134]

Sonic the Hedgehog was originally released alongside Fantasy Island, The Photograph, and Downhill across the United States and Canada, and it was initally estimated that it would gross about $40–50 million from 4,130 theaters in its four-day President's Day opening weekend.[135][136] However, the estimates were raised to $64 million after it made $21 million on its first day, which included $3 million from Thursday night previews.[137] Over the three-day weekend, it made it to the top of the box office with a $58 million debut, and $70 million over the four-day weekend, thus breaking the record set by Detective Pikachu for the biggest opening weekend by a video game-based film. It was also the fourth-best President's Day holiday weekend and marked Jim Carrey's second biggest opening weekend, beating Bruce Almighty.[12] The success of the film was partially attributed to Sonic's redesign and the publicity it created, along with the delayed release date, which meant that it opened with less competition from other family films.[138] The audience on the opening day consisted of 56% male and 44% female, with 70% of them being under 25 years and the remaining 30% being over 25 years.[12] Over the course of its second weekend, Sonic the Hedgehog earned $26.2 million, thus retaining its top spot at the box office, bringing its ten-day domestic gross to $106.6 million.[139][140] By its third weekend, Sonic the Hedgehog had grossed about $16.3 million and was subsequently dethroned byThe Invisible Man.[141] Still, on 14 March 2020, it became the highest-grossing film based on a video game in the history of the box office in the United States, officially dethroning Detective Pikachu.[14]

Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog was released across forty countries during its three-day opening weekend, eventually topping the international box office with $43 million. Its strongest impacts in international regions were Latin America and Europe, with its largest openings being $6.7 million in Mexico, $6.2 million in the United Kingdom, $4.3 million in France, 3.3 million in Germany, and $3 million in Brazil. Worldwide, it grossed a total of $101 million over its three-day weekend and $113 million over the four days.[142][143] It would later top the international box office again during its second weekend by grossing $38.3 million from 56 countries for a ten-day overseas gross of $96.5 million, and topped the global box office again with $64.6 million for a ten-day worldwide gross of $203.1 million. Its largest international markets in its first ten days were the United Kingdom with $19.1 million, Mexico with $12.3 million, and France with $9.1 million, where it would retain its top spot in these markets. The film later opened in sixteen new markets, led by a number-one debut in Russia $6.3 million.[144] The film was later released in Japan on 26 June 2020, having been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where it debuted at no. 6 that weekend.[145][146] In China, the release was postponed due to the pandemic as well,[147] eventually being released on 31 July 2020 only to underperform at the Chinese box office due to new pandemic-related theatre policies.[148][149]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, Sonic the Hedgehog has earned an approval rating of 63% based on 244 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Fittingly fleet and frequently fun, Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game inspired adventure the whole family can enjoy and a fine excuse for Jim Carrey to tap into the manic energy that launched his career."[150] On Metacritic, the film was given a score of 47 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[151] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave Sonic the Hedgehog an "A" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported a score of 4 out of 5 stars, with 70% of viewers they surveyed recommending it.[12]

IGN's Akeem Lawanson gave the film a score of 7 out of 10. He praised the performances and the nostalgia, stating, "While this family-friendly action-comedy suffers from a simplistic story and leans too heavily on tired visual clichés, Sonic the Hedgehog is nevertheless boosted by solid performances from Ben Schwartz as Sonic and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. Their ongoing cat-and-mouse game is entertaining, and passionate fans of the Sega franchise should appreciate all the nods to Sonic's history."[152] Dami Lee of The Verge also gave the film a positive review. She would praise the nostalgic elements in the film, noting that it "shines when it remembers it's based on a video game, and there's some genuinely fun stuff—like when Sonic uses his time-stopping powers or Robotnik's elaborate 'evil-plotting' montage that makes you wonder why more movies don't feature bad guys with choreographed dance sequences. Carrey plays up Robotnik as the cartoon villain he is, and it's a true delight to watch him in his element."[153] Meanwhile, Corey Plante of Inverse called the film a "road trip superhero movie," noting that it was "the best superhero movie of 2020" so far.[154] John DeFore from The Hollywood Reporter gave Sonic the Hedgehog a positive review as well, saying that "Flesh-and-blood actors help keep this game derived kids' flick afloat."[155]

Gene Park from The Washington Post gave Sonic the Hedgehog a positive review, saying it was "the furthest thing from Cats, despite the early comparisons. Wary fans expecting the usual easy target to mock will instead find something to fervently celebrate for years."[156] Amon Warrman from Empire, on the other hand, gave the film two out of five stars, writing, "An on-form Jim Carrey can't stop Sonic's live-action debut from feeling like a missed opportunity. If the teased sequels do materialize, here's hoping the storytelling levels up."[157] Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times similarly gave the film a negative review, noting that "Sonic now resembles a cartoon hedgehog instead of a spray-painted marmot. But if anything was done to de-genericize the script, it hasn't helped. Not that the Sega games—in which the fleet-footed hero zips around doing flips and collecting gold coins (which here encircle the Paramount mountain) gave the director, Jeff Fowler, much to work with."[158]

Owen Gleiberman from Variety criticized the tone of the film, stating "For all the borderline tedium [he] felt at Sonic the Hedgehog, [he does] realize that this is a picture made for 8-year-olds. And they'll probably like it just fine. Yet [he] would also call the overly kiddified tone of the movie a mistake."[159] Steve Rose of The Guardian gave the film a two out of five, saying elements were "clearly indebted" to other films, such as Quicksilver's powers in the X-Men movies, and finding the message of friendship "trite and familiar."[160] Simon Abrams from RogerEbert.com gave the film only a one out of four score, saying that "Sonic the Hedgehog is only as successful as the amount of time you want to spend watching its animated protagonist go on instantly forgettable adventures, and boy, is that unfortunate."[161]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipients Result References
2020 SXSW Film Festival Excellence in Title Design Sonic the Hedgehog Nominated [162][163]
People's Choice Awards The Family Movie of 2020 Nominated [164]
2021 Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Superhero Movie Nominated [165][166]
Best Villain in a Movie Jim Carrey Won
Best Actor in a Superhero Movie Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey Nominated
Hawaii Film Critics Society Best Visual Effects Sonic the Hedgehog Nominated
Hollywood Critics Association Awards Best Animated or VFX Performance Ben Schwartz Won [167]
Best Blockbuster Sonic the Hedgehog Nominated
Best Visual Effects Ged Wright Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Sonic the Hedgehog Nominated [168]
Favorite Movie Actor Jim Carrey Nominated
Ursa Major Awards Best Motion Picture Sonic the Hedgehog Nominated [169][170]
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Release Nominated [171]

Future

Before the film's release, Jim Carrey said in an interview, "I wouldn't mind going to do another Sonic the Hedgehog movie because it was so much fun, first of all, and a real challenge to try to convince people that I have a triple-digit IQ... There is so much room, you know, Robotnik has not reached his apotheosis."[172]

In February 2020, director Jeff Fowler said that he plans for a potential sequel to feature more elements from the video games.[173] In March 2020, Marsden confirmed that he had signed on for multiple sequels, stating "I believe, I don’t know if I’m supposed to say, as many as they want to make. Yeah, that’s my somewhat vague answer."[174]

In April 2020, Marsden expressed interest on a sequel featuring Tails and additional characters from the games,[175] while Fowler expressed interest in featuring Sonic and Tails' friendship from the games and further developing Dr. Robotnik in a potential sequel.[176] Ben Schwartz told Coming Soon later that month that a sequel had not been greenlit yet, but that it made sense because of the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.[177] On 23 April 2020, co-writer Pat Casey said that there had been talks about a potential sequel, although it has not been green-lit yet, and that Carrey is interested in portraying a more game-accurate version of Robotnik in the sequel. He also hinted that a potential sequel could feature Super Sonic from the games, and that it could further explore the echidna tribe featured in the film's opening scene. Casey also expressed interest in a potential shared universe featuring both Sega and Nintendo characters.[178]

As of May 2020, a sequel titled Sonic the Hedgehog 2 entered development with Jeff Fowler and his team from the first film. Patrick Casey and Josh Miller will write the screenplay while Neal H. Moritz, Toby Ascher, and Toru Nakahara produce the film. Tim Miller will return to executive produce the film alongside Hajime Satomi and Haruki Satomi.[179]

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been scheduled for a release on 8 April 2022. It was also revealed that Schwartz, Carrey, Marsden, Sumpter, and Majdoub are expected to reprise their roles from the first film.[16][148]

In an invite to Kellen's Petty Talk Show released on 5 April 2021, Pat Casey and Josh Miller expressed interest in making a third movie already, going as far as to mention that there was an Eggman scene cut from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the sake of flow that they would want to re-add to the third movie.[180] A third film, titled Sonic the Hedgehog 3, was later revealed to be in development on 15 February 2022. Alongside this announcement was also the reveal of a spin-off series titled Sonic the Series featuring Knuckles which would air on Paramount+ in 2023.[181]

Trivia

  • Yuji Naka was originally supposed to appear in the film as an extra but was forgotten during production.[182]
  • Van Robichaux originally wrote a scene for the film where Dr. Robotnik had a coffee maker named Mean Bean Machine after the game Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine but it was cut from the final film.[183] Instead, this reference was incorporated into the film's sequel as the Mean Bean coffee shop where Agent Stone works following Robotnik's defeat in the first film.
  • Chizzy Stephens originally wrote a song called "Gotta Go Fast" being a remix of Green Hill Zone and named after the theme song of the same name from Sonic X. The song was finished but never got used in the movie.[184][185]
  • According to Ben Schwartz, he recorded a harmonized version of the famous SEGA chant that did not make it into the film.[186]
  • In the end credit music listings for Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now," Freddie Mercury's first name is misspelled as "Freddy."
  • The version of "Blitzkrieg Bop" that appeared in the new official trailer was a cover by Steve Solomon.
  • In the first half of the prologue scene, the model used for baby Sonic is actually a modified version of the model used for his original design. It switches to the model for his updated design after Longclaw gets shot, and his quills on the new model are missing.
  • Speed, the movie that Sonic sees Tom and Maddie watching at the start of the film was also referenced through a poster to promote Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.
  • This film marks the first time since Sonic Adventure in which Sonic is not voiced by Jun'ichi Kanemaru in Japanese (excluding Sonic the Werehog).
  • In a deleted scene, Excalibur and Sonic's training sword from Sonic and the Black Knight make a brief cameo appearance in the alternate opening scene. When Sonic and Longclaw are getting attacked by the echidnas, they can briefly be seen on the wall.
  • In a deleted scene, after Sonic and Longclaw land on Earth, Sonic runs off from Longclaw and during this scene, he loops a log that he runs on in a similar fashion to him running on a corkscrew loop, which appears in games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog and its trailers contain the following Easter eggs and references:
    • In the first official trailer for the film, the line "Every Hero has a Genesis" is a nod to the Sega Genesis, the debut console for the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game.
    • During the freeze frame shot in the opening of the movie, its possible notice a road sign reading "Mega Dr." This is a reference to Sega's Mega Drive/Genesis console.
    • Near the beginning of the film, Sonic presents a sunflower to Longclaw that resembles the sunflowers in Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
      • Additionally, in a scene where Tom is talking on the phone with Wade, there is a window decal that looks similar to the sunflower Sonic gave to Longclaw.
    • An engraving on a stone on Mobius looks similar to the ones found in Labyrinth Zone in the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • Pachacamac wears a mask designed after his game counterpart.
    • Sonic can be seen wearing a headband with a title icon design that is identical to the original one that debuted on the splash screen for the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • Sonic can be seen playing Table Tennis with himself on a road sign that reads "Hill Top Rd." This was named after Hill Top Zone, a Zone that debuted in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
    • Sonic's map.

      Sonic's map of "safe worlds" contains several references:
    • When Tom lets a mother duck and her ducklings cross the street in Green Hills, he refers to them as Donald, Daisy, and Daffy. This is a reference to the famous cartoon duck characters; Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Daffy Duck.
    • Early on during the film, Crazy Carl shows Tom a drawing which resembles the infamous "Sanic" internet meme.
    • Crazy Carl referred to Sonic as the "Blue Devil", which is also the name of Metal Sonic's vehicle in Sonic Drift 2.
    • Sonic sees Tom and Maddie watching the 1988 comedy film: The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! which was also distributed by Paramount Pictures.
    • In the scene where Tom and Maddie look at her laptop with an apartment ad, it is possible to see that the name of the owner of that apartment is "Amy Rose," being a reference to the character of the same name.
    • In the baseball playoff scene the visiting team's name is "Spring Valley." This was named after the stage of the same name from NiGHTS into Dreams.
    • The truck that was used for Galvatron in Transformers: Age of Extinction was reused in this movie for Robotnik.
    • Dr. Robotnik's theme in the film bears a resemblance to the theme of Dr. Robotnik from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, and the theme of Dr. Eggman in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
    • Although Robotnik does not call his robots "Badniks" out loud in the film, they are labelled as such on the junction box in his truck.
    • During the hotel scene, Sonic can be seen balancing on a light in a similar sense to his balancing animation from the first Sonic the Hedgehog game. This was a reference added to the film by the request of Tyson Hesse.[187]
    • Neal H. Moritz produced this film, who is known for producing the Fast & Furious film franchise. In the film, Sonic references the franchise by saying to Tom "I feel just like Vin Diesel! It's all about family, Tom." when he is tasked with driving Tom's car.
    • When Robotnik is selecting music in his truck, Crush 40 is among the playlists in his collection. Other playlists include: "Robotnik Rhythms," "Obscure Canadian 1970's Jams," "Soulful Chamber Music of Oppression," "Nuclear Tempos of Rhapsody," "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "Tunes of Anarchy," "Dinner for One," "Heavy Metal Bombing Over Babylon," "World Domination Harmonies" and several others.
    • When Robotnik is dancing in his laboratory, there is a sequence where he pretends to be headless. That was written in by actor Jim Carrey as a tribute to comedian Dick Van Dyke.
    • When Sonic wakes up in Rachel's house, he exclaims "Gotta go fast!" This is a reference to the name of the theme song for the English dub of Sonic X, along with the phrase being common in general for the series.
    • Sonic's pose during the scene where dozens of missiles are shooting at him is a reference to one of his idle animations from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
    • When Sonic is dodging Robotnik's laser fire during the chase scene throughout San Francisco, he strikes the pose of his official artwork in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
    • Sonic is shown owning a race car bed. This is a reference to his counterpart from the Archie Comics, who owned a similar bed.[188]
    • The wheels on Sonic's race car bed are based on the modern Springs' design from the main video game series.
    • According to Patrick Casey, Robotnik shaving his head at the end of the movie is a reference to Marlon Brando's character in the film Apocalypse Now.[189]
    • When Robotnik starts to trek the Mushroom Planet, his gait resembles that of the Death Egg Robot from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
    • Sprite art resembling Zones from the Sonic games are used to represent scenes/locations from the film during the end credits animation.
      • The town of Green Hills is represented by the sprite art of Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. The trees are represented by the trees from Hill Top Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
      • The wheels on Robotnik's truck resemble the wheels of the Egg Drillster.
      • The Special Stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are shown in the credits but the half-pipe is redesigned to look like the highway that Sonic and Tom drive along in the film.
        • Additionally, the Rings are replaced with donuts.
      • San Francisco is represented with some of the sprites of Collision Chaos (specifically the Bad Future variant) with the mountains of Spring Yard Zone. The green towers of Collision chaos are altered to look like the buildings of San Francisco.
      • There is an animation of the Blue Sphere level which briefly changes to the giant rubber-band ball that Sonic visits in the movie.
      • The Piston Pit sequence resembles Mirage Saloon Zone from Sonic Mania.
      • The Great Wall of China sequence has a similar color palette to Marble Zone.
      • Paris is depicted using sprites from Spring Yard Zone which is altered to include the Eiffel Tower.
      • There are many appearances of the Egg Mobile-H's wrecking ball throughout the credits.
  • Sonic's original design would later be featured in the 2022 Disney film Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers under the name "Ugly Sonic" (though he is voiced by Tim Robinson rather than Ben Schwartz).

Videos

Trailers

Sonic_The_Hedgehog_(2020)_-_New_Official_Trailer_-_Paramount_Pictures

Sonic The Hedgehog (2020) - New Official Trailer - Paramount Pictures


TV spots


Clips


Miscellaneous


References

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