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Sonic the Hedgehog (film)

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Sonic the Hedgehog
The film poster features Sonic running over a skyscraper chased by Dr. Robotnik's droids.
Teaser poster with the original release date and character design
Directed byJeff Fowler
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Van Robichaux
  • Evan Susser
Based on
Starring
Music byJunkie XL
CinematographyStephen F. Windon
Edited byStacey Schroeder
Production
companies
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • February 14, 2020 (2020-02-14)
Country
  • Japan
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$90 million[2]

Sonic the Hedgehog is an upcoming adventure film based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise by Sega. The film is directed by Jeff Fowler (in his feature directorial debut) and written by Patrick Casey, Josh Miller, and Oren Uziel, from a story by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser. It stars Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic and Jim Carrey as Sonic's nemesis Doctor Robotnik, alongside James Marsden and Tika Sumpter. In the film, a small-town sheriff assists Sonic as he attempts to escape the government.

In 2013, Sony Pictures acquired the film rights to the Sonic franchise, and by 2014 had an adaptation in development. Fowler was hired to direct in 2016. After Sony put the project in turnaround, Paramount Pictures acquired it in 2017, and the majority of the cast had signed on by August 2018. Filming took place between July and October 2018 in Vancouver, Ladysmith and elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Sonic the Hedgehog was scheduled for release on November 8, 2019. After negative fan reaction to the first trailer, released on April 30, 2019, Paramount delayed the film to February 14, 2020, pledging to redesign Sonic.[3][4]

Premise

Tom Wachowski, a San Francisco Police Department officer-turned-newly appointed Sheriff of Green Hills, Montana, journeys from Green Hills to San Francisco to assist Sonic, an anthropomorphic extraterrestrial blue hedgehog who can run at incredible speeds, in evading capture by the government, collecting his rings, and defeating the insane scientist Doctor Robotnik.[5][6]

Cast

Additionally, Lee Majdoub appears as Stone, an agent who works closely with Dr. Robotnik.[13] Frank C. Turner also appears as Crazy Carl.[14] Natasha Rothwell,[15] Debs Howard, Elfina Luk[16] Riff Raff and Garry Chalk are cast in undisclosed roles.[17][18][19]

Production

Development

Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired the rights to produce and distribute a film based on Sonic the Hedgehog in 2013.[20] On June 10, 2014, a live-action animated film based on Sonic the Hedgehog was announced as a joint venture between Sony Pictures and Marza Animation Planet.[21] It would be produced by Neal H. Moritz by his Original Film banner alongside Takeshi Ito, Mie Onishi, and Toru Nakahara, and written by Evan Susser and Van Robichaux.[21] In February 2016, Sega CEO Hajime Satomi stated the film was scheduled for 2018.[22] Blur Studio's Tim Miller and Jeff Fowler were hired in 2016 to develop the film; Fowler would make his feature directorial debut, and both Miller and Fowler would executive produce.[23] Patrick Casey, Josh Miller, and Oren Uziel were writing the screenplay.[23]

On October 2, 2017, Paramount Pictures announced that they had acquired the rights after Sony Pictures' Columbia Pictures put the film into turnaround. However, most of the production team remained unchanged.[24] In February 2018, it was announced that the movie would be released in November 2019.[25][26]

Casting

On May 29, 2018, it was reported that Paul Rudd was in talks for a lead role as Tom, "a cop who befriends Sonic and will likely team up to defeat Dr. Eggman," but was later denied.[2] A day later, it was announced that James Marsden was cast in an undisclosed role, but later revealed to be Tom Wachowski.[10] In June 2018, Tika Sumpter was cast. Jim Carrey was cast to play the villain, Dr. Robotnik.[9] In August 2018, Ben Schwartz joined the cast of the film voicing the title character.[27] A few days later, Adam Pally and Neal McDonough were cast.[28] Debs Howard and Elfina Luk joined the cast.[16]

Filming

Principal photography took place from July 24, 2018 and ended in Vancouver, Ladysmith, and Vancouver Island on October 16, 2018. Post-production and additional photography began and ended in October in New York, where Jim Carrey shot his scenes.[29]

Visual effects and design

After Sonic's initial design drew criticism, director Jeff Fowler announced that he would be redesigned, causing the film's release to be postponed three months.[30]

The visual effects are provided by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Blur Studio, Digital Domain and the Moving Picture Company (MPC).[31] The production team created a realistic version of Sonic, adding fur, new running shoes (which turn out to be the Puma Speed 500's in Red), two separate eyes,[32] and a more humanlike physique.[33] They used Ted, the living teddy bear from the Ted films, as a reference to insert a CG character into a real-world setting. Executive producer Tim Miller said: "It would be weird and it would feel like he was running around nude if he was some sort of otter-like thing. It was always, for us, fur, and we never considered anything different. It's part of what integrates him into the real world and makes him a real creature." According to Miller, Sega was not "entirely happy" with the design of Sonic's eyes.[32] His humanoid appearance has been described as evoking an uncanny valley-type of revulsive response by viewers.[34]

On May 2, 2019, Fowler announced on Twitter that Sonic would be redesigned in response to the audience backlash.[30] The film's November release date originally remained unchanged, prompting concerns that a design overhaul of the main character would cause the visual effects teams to be overworked,[35][36] but on May 24, 2019, Fowler announced on Twitter that the film was pushed back to February 14, 2020.[37]

Music

In February 2019, Junkie XL, who previously worked with executive producer Tim Miller on Deadpool, signed on to compose the score.[38] Riff Raff, who has a role in the film, will also appear on the soundtrack.[39]

Marketing

Test footage was screened at the Comic Con Experience in Brazil on December 6, 2018.[40] A teaser poster was released on December 10, 2018, revealing the redesigned Sonic.[32] The design received a mostly negative response from critics and fans,[41] and was compared unfavorably to another 2019 video game film adaptation, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, which added fur and skin textures to the Pokémon characters.[33] Former members of Sonic Team, who created the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, expressed surprise at the design.[42]

A second poster for the film was leaked online shortly after the release of the first. Fans complained of a lack of resemblance to the games and criticized the positioning of Sonic's legs, spawning an internet meme in which users recreated the position.[43][44] The official Twitter account for the film posted an image of Sonic behind a sign reading: "Can't a guy work out?"[45] Images of the Sonic design were leaked in March 2019 to more fan criticism. Former Sonic Team president and Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka was "shocked" by the design and felt the ratio of Sonic's head and abdomen was imbalanced.[46]

The first trailer premiered on April 4, 2019 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas,[47] and was released online on April 30. It experienced a highly negative reception,[48][49][50] with Gita Jackson of Kotaku calling it "horrific" and "a blight upon this weary earth".[48] Sonic's design was criticized, particularly for his overly humanoid appearance,[48][50] while some writers found the use of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" out-of-place.[51][52] Conversely, CNET's Sean Keane praised the humor and references to the games.[53] Within two days of its release, the trailer had been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube, and has received hundreds of thousands of "dislike" ratings.[54]

Release

Sonic the Hedgehog was initially scheduled for 2018 by Columbia Pictures; however in February 2018, Paramount Pictures rescheduled it to November 15, 2019.[22][55] The film was later moved up a week earlier to November 8, 2019.[56] Following the announcement of the character's redesign in May 2019, director Jeff Fowler announced that the film would again be delayed, this time to February 14, 2020, in order to "make Sonic just right."[57]

References

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External links