Whatever Paramount paid to completely redesign the lead character of Sonic the Hedgehog after the film’s first trailer — and the character’s strange look — were met with wildly negative publicity paid off. The film had a huge opening weekend; the biggest, in fact, in the history of video game movies.

Sonic’s estimated $57 million opening weekend puts it slightly ahead of the previous record holder, 2019’s Detective Pikachu, which grossed $54.3 million in its first three days of domestic theaters last year.

Here’s the full top five from the weekend’s box office chart:

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog - $57 million
  2. Birds of Prey - $17.1 million
  3. Fantasy Island - $12.4 million
  4. The Photograph - $12.2 million
  5. Bad Boys For Life - $11.3 million

With this opening, Sonic also has a solid shot at becoming the biggest video game movie ever, at least in the U.S. Detective Pikachu currently holds that title as well, with $144.1 million in domestic box office receipts. Sonic’s impressive A CinemaScore should give it a good shot at the word-of-mouth needed to hang around in theaters long enough to hit that goal. (That’s another indication that Paramount’s visual effects team did a very good job of correcting the earlier Sonic design with something that pleased hardcore fans of the game series.) Speaking of CinemaScores: Downhill, the new American remake of Force Majeure starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss earned a terrible D from opening weekend audiences. Maybe they were expecting more of a traditional Will Ferrell comedy, and not a bleak satire of marital life. The film grossed just $4.6 million on over 2300 screens nationwide. Even the movie version of Fantasy Island did better with audiences; it got a C-. (It also grossed a solid $12.4 million.)

Sonic should enjoy several more solid weekends in theaters, at least until its next big competition arrives at the beginning of March, when Pixar’s Onward debuts in multiplexes.

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