“Sonic the Hedgehog” will have to worry about more than just a waxy mustached villain this weekend. Paramount’s family film will face box office competition from another kid-friendly adventure, Disney and 20th Century’s “The Call of the Wild.”
Harrison Ford and a dog named Buck star in “The Call of the Wild,” the latest big-screen adaptation of Jack London’s early 1900s novel. The PG film is expected to bring in $10 million to $18 million when it opens in 3,700 venues in North America over the weekend, likely not enough to supplant reigning champ “Sonic.”
After “Sonic’s” stellar $70 million launch over the Presidents’ Day holiday — cementing a new opening weekend record for video game adaptations — the movie should easily top box office charts again. “Sonic” could add another $25 million to $30 million to its domestic haul if it holds similarly to other video game adaptations like “Detective Pikachu” or Dwayne Johnson’s “Rampage.”
“The Call of the Wild,” written by Michael Green (“Logan,” “Blade Runner 2049”) and directed by Chris Sanders, follows a man named John Thornton (Ford) who crosses paths with Buck, a dog who was captured from his California home and sold to freight haulers. It’s gotten a mixed critical response, with Rotten Tomato scores averaging 68%.
Ford’s first major on-screen film role in years could help attract older moviegoers, but with a $125 million price tag, “The Call of the Wild” will have to expand beyond its core demographic to turn a profit. Unless it beats expectations, the film is shaping up to be the latest dud for Disney since acquiring Fox. With the exception of “Ford v Ferrari,” Disney’s inheritance from the Murdoch’s film empire has by and large been comprised of box office flops, including “Dark Phoenix” and “Underwater” with Kristen Stewart.
“The Call of the Wild” is launching alongside STX and Lakeshore’s supernatural horror sequel “Brahms: The Boy II.” The PG-13 thriller, based on the character from 2016’s “The Boy,” should collect $6 million to $8 million from 2,100 venues in its inaugural outing. Katie Holmes stars in “Brahms: The Boy II,” which follows a young family which moves into the guest house of a terrifying mansion. It cost $10 million to make. After foreign pre-sales, STX says its exposure on the film is under $3 million.
At the specialty box office, Focus Features’ “Emma” is opening in theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The retelling of Jane Austen’s classic book stars Anya Taylor-Joy as a matchmaker who meddles in the affairs of her friends and family. Reviews have been mostly positive, with Variety’s Andrew Barker calling it a “handsome, clever, faithfully unambitious take.”
Amazon’s “Seberg” is also debuting in three venues — Angelika in New York and Arclight and Landmark in Los Angeles — ahead of a wider expansion the following weekend. 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 itself wasn’t well embraced after premiering at Venice last year, but Stewart’s performance was widely praised. Benedict Andrews directed the film, which also stars Margaret Qualley, Zazie Beetz, Anthony Mackie and Vince Vaughn.