Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” opened to a sterling $6.3 million in Thursday previews, as the video game adaptation looks to outrace “Morbius” and “The Batman” at the box office. It won’t have much trouble lapping Universal’s “Ambulance,” the weekend’s other new release, which is expected to debut to $10 million, a disappointing result for a Michael Bay production. “Sonic Part Deux” should bow to $55 million or more. “Ambulance” struggled in previews, netting a paltry $700,000.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” a big screen version of the Sega game series about a supersonic critter, brings back Ben Schwartz as the voice of the titular spiny mammal, as well as James Marsden and Jim Carrey. It may also serve as a sendoff to Carrey, one of the biggest box office draws of the nineties and early aughts, who has said he’s stepping away from acting.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” carries a $90 million price tag, far more than the $40 million that Bay spent on “Ambulance.” The action-thriller stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza González and centers on a pair of adoptive siblings who hijack an ambulance while trying to pull of a bank heist. Critics were mixed on what Bay, the purveyor of magic hour pyrotechnics in films like “Bad Boys” and “The Rock,” has put on screen. Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman declared that “‘Ambulance’ is simply too much of a not-so-good thing. It never stops huffing and puffing to entertain you, but it’s joyless: a tale of escape that’s far from a great escape, because for all its motion it’s going through the motions.”
Not that every reviewer was busy busting out the superlatives for Sonic either. Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote that the film was overly long, griping that “an hour and a half would’ve been a perfectly fine run time, whereas at two hours and change, ‘Sonic 2’ wears out its welcome well before it turns into yet another phone-it-in franchise entry.”