Sonic the Hedgehog is an upcoming American science-fiction adventure film based on the video game franchise published by Sega. The film is directed by Jeff Fowler (in his feature directorial debut) and written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller.
It stars Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog, Jim Carrey, James Marsden, and Tika Sumpter. In the film, Sonic teams up with a small-town sheriff as he attempts to escape Dr. Robotnik and the government.
- Film rights to the franchise
- Visual effects and design
- Box office
- Fun and entertainment
- Web style guide
- Writing style
Film rights to the franchise
In 2013, Sony Pictures acquired the film rights to the franchise, and by 2014, had a movie 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 Ladysmith and Parksville both on Vancouver Island, and in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is currently the first entry in a planned film series.
Sonic the Hedgehog was initially scheduled to be released in the United States on November 8, 2019, but was delayed to February 14, 2020 after an overwhelmingly negative reaction to the first trailer, which was released on April 30, 2019. Paramount delayed the film in order to redesign Sonic, whose original design drew the most criticism. The redesign was shown in a new trailer that was released worldwide on November 12, 2019. The trailer was well-received for its tone and humor with Sonic’s redesign receiving particular praise with many noting how similar it is to Sonic’s main design in the games.
Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic: an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog from another dimension who can run at supersonic speeds and is not only on the run from Robotnik, but also the government.
Jim Carrey as Dr. Ivo Robotnik: a scientist and inventor who is after Sonic and his super-speed powers for world domination.
James Marsden as Tom Wachowski: a former SFPD officer-turned-newly appointed sheriff of Green Hills who befriends Sonic and aids him in his quest to stop Robotnik.
Tika Sumpter as Maddie Wachowski: Tom’s wife who helps him and Sonic evade Robotnik.
Lee Majdoub as Stone: a corrupt government agent who works closely with Robotnik.
Adam Pally as Billy Robb: a fellow police officer of Green Hills and Tom’s friend.
Neal McDonough as Major Bennington
Frank C. Turner as Crazy Carl
Natasha Rothwell, Debs Howard, Elfina Luk,Riff Raff, Shannon Chan-Kent and Garry Chalk have been additionally cast in undisclosed roles.
Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired the rights to produce and distribute a film based on Sonic the Hedgehog in 2013. On June 10, 2014, a live-action animated film was announced as a joint venture between Sony Pictures and Marza Animation Planet. 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.
In February 2016, Sega CEO Hajime Satomi said the film was scheduled for 2018. Blur Studio’s Tim Miller and Jeff Fowler were hired in 2016 to develop it; Fowler would make his feature directorial debut, and Miller and Fowler would executive produce. Patrick Casey, Josh Miller, and Oren Uziel were writing the screenplay, while Casey and Miller wrote the story.On October 2, 2017, Paramount Pictures announced that they had acquired the rights after Sony’s Columbia Pictures put the film into turnaround. Most of the production team remained unchanged. In February 2018, it was announced that the movie would be released in November 2019.
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. Robotnik,” but was later denied. A day later, it was announced that James Marsden was cast in an undisclosed role, but later revealed to be Tom Wachowski.
In June 2018, Tika Sumpter was cast. Jim Carrey was cast to play the villain, Doctor Eggman, here renamed to his original Western name of Dr. Robotnik. In August 2018, Ben Schwartz joined as the voice of Sonic.A few days later, Adam Pally and Neal McDonough were cast. Debs Howard and Elfina Luk joined the cast the following November.
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 took place in October in New York, where Carrey shot his scenes.
Visual effects and design
Comparison of Sonic in both trailers; from top to bottom: original design from first trailer released in April and edited design from second trailer released in November.
The visual effects are provided by Moving Picture Company (MPC), Marza Animation Planet, Blur Studio, Trixter and Digital Domain.The production team created a realistic version of Sonic using computer animation, adding fur, new running sneakers (which turn out to be the Puma Speed 500’s in Red), two separate eyes, and a more humanlike physique. 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.
On May 2, 2019, in response to criticism of the design, Fowler announced on Twitter that Sonic would be redesigned. The November release date was delayed to February 14, 2020 as a result. Artist Tyson Hesse, who worked on previous Sonic the Hedgehog media, was brought on to lead the redesign. For the redesign, Sonic was given larger and differently colored eyes, new running sneakers (based on Women’s Dare Mesh Sneakers made from Puma, which also resemble the original Sonic sneakers from the games), white gloves, and a less humanlike body in order to resemble the character’s design in the video games. It is estimated that the delay of the film and the redesign of Sonic put the film $5 million or less over its original budget of $90 million for a total of $95 million.
In February 2019, Tom Holkenborg, who previously worked with executive producer Tim Miller on Deadpool, signed on to compose the score. It will be released alongside the movie on February 14, 2020. Riff Raff, who has a role in the film, will also appear on the soundtrack. An original song titled “Speed Me Up” by Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty, and Sueco The Child will appear in the film’s soundtrack; the single was publicly released on January 24 on Atlantic Records.
Sonic’s initial design received heavy criticism from Sonic fans for his overly humanoid appearance and lack of similarities to his game appearance. Fowler confirmed on May 2, 2019 that his design would be changed, with the film also being delayed.
Test footage was screened at the Comic Con Experience in Brazil on December 6, 2018. A teaser poster was released on December 10, 2018, revealing the silhouette design of Sonic. It received a mostly negative response from critics and fans, and was compared unfavorably to another 2019 video game film adaptation, Detective Pikachu, which had added fur and skin textures to the Pokémon characters in a much more successful manner. His humanoid appearance was described as evoking an uncanny valley-type of repulsive response by viewers.Former members of Sonic Team, who created the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, also expressed surprise at the design.
A second poster 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.The film’s official Twitter account posted an image of Sonic behind a sign reading: “Can’t a guy work out?” 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. According to animator Max Schneider, Paramount expected that Sonic fans would object to the redesign but that general audiences would not care, as had been the case with their 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. He said Paramount felt the design gelled with the real-world setting and characters.
The first trailer premiered on April 4, 2019 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, and was released online on April 30. It experienced a highly negative reception, with Gita Jackson of Kotaku calling it “horrific” and “a blight upon this weary earth”. Sonic’s design was criticized, particularly for his overly humanoid appearance, while some writers found the use of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” out-of-place. Conversely, CNET’s Sean Keane praised the humor and references to the games. Within two days of its release, the trailer had been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube, and had received hundreds of thousands of “dislike” ratings which drastically outnumbered the “like” ratings. Paramount deleted the original trailer from its YouTube channel around the same time when the new trailer was released.
A second trailer revealing the redesigned Sonic was released on November 12, 2019. The trailer received far more positive responses, with many praising Sonic’s new design. The tone and the humor also received positive reviews. Naka said he felt the new design was “much more Sonic-like”. Schneider said the redesign took around 5 months and was achieved without stressful overtime.
Sonic the Hedgehog was originally scheduled to be released sometime in 2018 by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label, but in February 2018, shortly after taking over the rights, Paramount Pictures rescheduled it to November 15, 2019. The film was later delayed again a week earlier to November 8, 2019. Following the announcement of the character’s redesign in May 2019, director Jeff Fowler announced that the film would again be delayed for just one last time to February 14, 2020, to get “a little more time to make Sonic just right.” The redesign was later shown in a new trailer released worldwide on November 12, 2019.
In the United States and Canada, Sonic the Hedgehog will be released alongside Fantasy Island and The Photograph, and is projected to gross $41–47 million over in its four-day opening weekend.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG is a live-action adventure comedy based on the global blockbuster video game franchise from Sega that centers on the infamously brash bright blue hedgehog. The film follows the (mis)adventures of Sonic as he navigates the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound — human — best friend Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). Sonic and Tom join forces to try and stop the villainous Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) from capturing Sonic and using his immense powers for world domination. The film also stars Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic.
PG (for action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language)
Action & Adventure, Animation, Comedy
Patrick Casey, Josh Miller
Feb 14, 2020 Wide
Based on the global blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG tells the story of the world’s speediest hedgehog as he embraces his new home on Earth.