It wasn’t long ago that the first screens of the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie hit Twitter, and to say that the pictures were greeted with disagreement would be an understatement. The problem fell primarily with the way the movie’s namesake was designed.
To describe the first design, I’d have to use words like “creepy” and “trainwreck. Sonic looked more like a side-show at a carnival than the blue hedgehog we all know and love. The redesign embraced his actual design from the video games, ditching the creep factor and allowing people to embrace the character that they’re used to.
You can see the before and after here.
The coolest part of the redesign wasn’t Sonic’s look, but the fact that Jeff Fowler listened to the audience and decided to act on their wishes. So many people in Hollywood would have told the fans they’re the ones who are wrong and stuck with the original design. Fowler’s ability to correct what was clearly an artistic mistake lead me personally to vow to see the movie and reward all involved in their decision to listen.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sonic is running out in front of all the other movies and has even taken the title as top-grossing video game movie ever released, beating out Detective Pikachu:
Heading into Presidents Day weekend, Sonic was tracking to gross roughly $45 million to $50 million for the four-day holiday. Its three-day gross of $58 million beat those projections alone, while the estimated four-day gross of $70 million represents the fourth-best domestic showing for the holiday behind Black Panther ($242.5 million), Deadpool ($152.3 million) and Fifty Shades of Grey ($93 million), not adjusted for inflation.
Based on Sonic the Hedgehog’s opening numbers, analysts believe the movie has a shot at grossing $200 million domestically.
To be fair, Sonic had a lot of things going for it. Detective Pikachu likely made it clear that movies based on video games can be good and entertaining. Up until lately, video game movies weren’t just bad, they were horrific. This likely made many movie-goers feel safer about spending money and time to see another video game based movie.
The other thing it had going for it was the fact that Sonic is a nostalgia brand that many people look back fondly on, including me. Many of us played Sonic games as a kid, watched the cartoon, and maybe even bought a pair of black Sonic and Knuckles sneakers that took forever to tie up while my friends were all running off and playing. Rest assured, Sonic is a children’s brand and the movie is aimed at the same age group, but you can bet a lot of people my age are going for the brand familiarity alone.
Not everyone is having such a good time, however. DC’s “Birds of Prey,” the Harley Quinn spinoff from “Suicide Squad” was supposed to be an all-female girl power movie. To say the least, it’s not doing so hot according to IndieWire:
“Birds of Prey,” D.C. Comics’ “Suicide Squad” offshoot, approached the holiday weekend after a disappointing opening and confusion over its awkward title. Warner Bros. pushed “Harley Quinn” as the new moniker for marketing purposes, but the film dropped 48% — hardly disastrous, but it doesn’t suggest a long life. Margot Robbie’s R-rated adventure is nearing $60 million, with $100 million domestic less than certain. Worldwide, which dropped slightly less, is up to $143 million, with Japan the only top country yet to open. This will struggle to reach $250 million, an unimpressive number for a film that cost $90 million before marketing.
What happened? IndieWire touched on the problem that the title is confusing, but that’s the least of it. Audiences have been taught that unless the title of a DC movie says “Wonder Woman,” it’s not likely going to be any good. What’s more, Harley Quinn is a fun character but perhaps not fun enough to lead an entire movie by herself. Also, the writers tried very hard to make her like Deadpool, making it seem like Quinn’s personality and quirks aren’t come by honestly.
Then there’s the problem that all all-female movies have. It’s the philosophy behind them that infects everything from the screenwriting to the promotion of the films.
Ewan McGregor, who plays the villain “Black Mask” in the film noted that the “Birds of Prey” was a look at “misogyny” and that it’s mean to raise awareness and added that men needed to be taught to change.
“What interested me with Birds of Prey is that it’s a feminist film. It is very finely written, there is in the script a real look on misogyny,” he said. “And I think we need that, we need to be more aware of how we behave with the opposite sex. We need to be taught to change.”
And with that, you’ve insulted many a man who may have paid to come to see the movie. Not only did you insult them, but you also bored them.
Men are inundated with messages about how horrible they are and movies that attempt to sell this message oftentimes end up being cringy and sad to watch. It features boring female characters who don’t really grow because they don’t really have any flaws, and in all-female movies, that’s a lot of boring characters.
Sure enough, the female characters are all edgy, misandrist, and boring. Margot Robbie’s Quinn can be entertaining, but not enough to save the film from its own feminist pretentions.
Feminism claims another film, yet they keep making feminist films. Odd.
If you had to pick between being preached at from a group of people who think you’re trash and sitting down to watch a character you loved as a kid go on a fun, non-political adventure thanks to a director and a team that actually sat down and listened to what you had to say. Which would you pick?
It’s as simple as that.