As we have breathlessly reported yesterday, Paramount Pictures has unveiled the first teaser for its Live-Action Sonic the Hedgehog movie and people were not pleased.

The offense seems to stem from the adjustments the filmmakers made to Sonic's core design, with many choices made to ground the character as a more organic and natural figure that would supposedly fit more realistically in a live-action setting. It's a simple disagreement over aesthetics and design philosophy. Fans simply believe that since people already have grown to love the Sonic character design for decades, any movie that involves "A Cartoon Character in the Real World" can keep the simple animated style without much suspension of disbelief.



After all, if audiences can accept this:

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Or this:

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Then why try to reinvent the wheel to make your uncanny valley 4K CGI textured homunculus that only KIND OF looks like the form that your audience is ostensibly paying to see on the big screen? Well, the answer is basic and cruel. It's because THAT'S WHAT EARNS MONEY AT THE BOX OFFICE.

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Despite the protestations of the fandom and tidal waves of snarky social media posts, there's something about the overly-textured CGI aesthetic that makes families come out in droves to the theaters. Here's a short list of 'hated' live-action adaptations that totally destroyed at the domestic box office...

  • Transformers (2007) = 319 million dollars
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) = 217 million dollars
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) = 191 million dollars
  • The Smurfs (2011) = 142 million dollars
  • Yogi Bear (2010) = 100 million dollars
  • Garfield: The Movie (2004) = 75 million dollars



Meanwhile, let's go back to the movies that fans say did it "right" by having designs more accurate to the source material.

  • The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000) = 26 million dollars
  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) = 20 million dollars

 

This all bodes well for the Sonic movie despite its tumultuous production history (having been passed between distributors like a sack of wet garbage for over a year before landing in Paramount's lap). With its current release date of November 8, 2019 it has 0 competition for the frazzled family audience, and it can rule three whole weekends before it graciously nopes out in time for the release of Frozen 2.



 

We spent so much time wondering what the hell these filmmakers were thinking, when in reality this was the sanest move for a movie studio that wants to make reliable money. Considering the history of these kinds of designs for these kinds of movies, I'm not saying this movie will be a smash hit. But it's pretty obvious that Sonic the Hedgehog is going to casually stroll across the finish line with at least 100 million dollars to show for it.