By Rebecca Rubin
LOS ANGELES, (Variety.com) – After a close box office battle, Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” pulled ahead of Disney and 20th Century’s “The Call of the Wild” on North American charts.
The two movies had been in a tug-of-war for first place. Heading into the weekend, “Sonic” was expected to easily dominate again but Harrison Ford’s “Call of the Wild” surprised by taking the top spot on Friday. Ultimately, “Sonic” finished the weekend with $26.3 million, enough to defeat “Call of the Wild” and its $25 million debut.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” became a surprise box office hit after launching with a stellar $70 million over the Presidents’ Day holiday. After its second week of release, the movie crossed the $100 million mark in North America.
Though “Call of the Wild” beat expectations, it carries a massive $125 million price tag so the PG film will need support from ticket buyers across the globe to break even. “The Call of the Wild,” an adaptation of Jack London’s 1900s novel, got a mixed reviews from critics. Moviegoers were more impressed, giving the film an “A-” CinemaScore.
STX’s supernatural thriller “Brahms: The Boy II,” this weekend’s other new release, generated $6 million from 2,151 venues, on par with expectations. Overseas, the horror film pulled in another $2.22 million for a global start of $8.22 million. Opening weekend crowds for “Brahms: The Boy II” skewed female (53%), while 56% were under the age of 25. The standalone sequel to 2016’s “The Boy” — starring Katie Holmes — cost $10 million. STX reports that its exposure on the film is under $3 million after foreign pre-sales, meaning it should be financially successful for the studio.
Warner Bros.’ comic-book flick “Birds of Prey” landed in third place with $7 million from 1,965 theaters. After three weeks of release, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn spinoff has earned $72 million in North America.
Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” nabbed the No. 5 slot, bringing in $6 million in its sixth weekend in theaters. The action-comedy sequel has amassed a huge $191 million to date.
Neon’s “Parasite” continues to draw crowds after its historic Oscar best picture win. Bong Joon Ho’s twisty South Korean thriller pulled in another $3.1 million this weekend for a domestic tally of $48.9 million, a huge result for a subtitled film.
At the specialty box office, Focus Features adaptation “Emma” pocketed $230,000 from five venues, averaging $46,000 from each location. The studio is bringing the film to 100 screens next weekend.
“‘Emma’ made its perfect match with audiences this weekend,” said Focus distribution president Lisa Bunnell. “Audiences have not only been charmed by Jane Austen’s classic story, but are entertained by its new humor told through the incredible cast of Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Nighy, Johnny Flynn, and the film’s brilliant director Autumn de Wilde.”
Amazon’s “Seberg” also opened in limited release and collected $60,487 from three theaters, averaging $20,162 per location. Kristen Stewart stars in the political thriller about actress Jean Seberg (Stewart), who finds herself the target of an FBI surveillance program due to her associations with activist Hakim Jamal. The movie got mostly negative reviews, but Stewart received praise for her performance. Amazon is expanding the film — directed by Benedict Andrews and also starring Margaret Qualley, Zazie Beetz — to 300 venues next weekend.
Overall, box office ticket sales are up 5.9% from last year according to Comscore.