‘Sonic 2’ may signal the return of the family to the cinema hall on the opening weekend

Hollywood is keeping an eye on a fast blue hedgehog this weekend.

Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is expected to be the first major family-friendly film to be released in theaters this year, and this high population demand is expected to indicate whether it is ready to make a massive return to the multiplex.

The early box office returns of the movie are encouraging for the industry. On Thursday, the film grossed $ 6.25 million in preview ticket sales, more than double the $ 3 million generated from preview sales of the first “Sonic” two years ago. The studio is projecting that the sequel will secure about $ 50 million in its opening weekend, a shame for the 2020 58 million video game movie record that its predecessor scored in February 2020. By that time, the Covid-19 had begun to spread, but it had not yet officially begun. Designated an epidemic.

“Sonic 2,” starring Jim Carrey and Idris Elbar, will be a key comparison for 2022 family films. During the epidemic, parents were even more anxious to return to theaters with their young children, many of whom were not eligible for the vaccine until the fall of 2021. Children under the age of five are still ineligible.

“Family films have had a difficult time consistently gaining traction during the epidemic, and parents have chosen which films to watch in their children’s multiplexes and, of course, much more to choose from the endless availability of family-friendly content at home ৷ on the small screen,” Dargerbedian says.

Since March 2020, no film has grossed more than $ 200 million at the domestic box office, especially targeting families.

The family film genre is one that usually focuses on parents with children under 13. These films target the younger generation and usually have a “G” of “PG” rating. Occasionally, PG-13 rated films are grouped into this category because the rating is slightly cached before reaching the “R” rating.

For example, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “The Batman” and “Jungle Cruise” are all rated PG-13. Arguably, “Spider-Man” and “Jungle Cruise” are a little more suitable for young children than the dark and vibrant new Batman movies.

Marketing is a good indicator of whether a film is considered within the family genre, says Dergerbedian. “Spider-Man”, although technically accessible to families, was marketed to an older population in the 18 to 35 years range.

“Jungle Cruise”, on the other hand, was marketed as a family-friendly adventure film based on one of Disney’s most iconic theme park rides. It was the second-highest-grossing family film released during the epidemic, snatching $ 116.9 million during its release last summer. The film was released in the Kovid variant.

According to ComScore, the highest-grossing family film released during the epidemic was Universal’s “Sing 2”, which grossed $ 161.9 million since its debut in December 2021. The film was released at a time when more children were receiving two doses of the vaccine.

By comparison, Disney’s “Encanto”, which usually came during the powerful Thanksgiving holiday, grossed only $ 96 million in theaters before coming to the Disney + streaming service at Christmas Eve Studios.

Due to absenteeism during the epidemic, studios pushed more family-friendly titles to the calendar. If “Sonic 2” confirms a solid opening, it could be a sign that future films like Pixar’s “Light Year” will be released in June, and Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is coming in July, on its way to becoming more normal. Box office hall.

Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, said, “Studios have long waited for parents’ feelings to be high enough before they regularly publish high-profile family content in the days of the epidemic.” “‘Sonic 2’ is capitalizing on the huge audience demand for those family movies that have opened sporadically in theaters over the past year and are often at the mercy of the new Covid variants that dominate the news headlines.”

“Not now, though. Many have returned to something like a pre-epidemic lifestyle, like going to the movies,” he said.

BoxOffice.com predicts “Sonic 2” will open with $ 60 million to $ 75 million ticket sales.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. Universal is the distributor of “Sing 2” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru”.

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