Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Image Credit: AP

In a weekend book ended by two holidays — Valentine’s Day on Friday and Monday’s Presidents Day — the US box office enjoyed an increasingly rare slate of three (out of four) new releases landing among the top five.

Paramount’s ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ premiered in first place with $57 million (Dh209.3 million) and a projected $68 million through the holiday, above analyst forecasts of $40 million to $45 million for the three-day weekend and $50 million to $60 million through the Presidents Day holiday.

Based on the Sega video-game character, the live-action and CGI hybrid follows Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and a small-town sheriff, Tom (James Marsden), as they defend a planet under attack by the villain Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey).

It surpassed Warner Bros’ ‘Detective Pikachu,’ which earned $54.3 million in its 2019 debut, as the highest domestic opening ever for a video-game adaptation.

The $87 million film, directed by Jeff Fowler, was forced to undergo a major redesign last year after fans reacted negatively to Sonic’s CGI look in a trailer. The effort seems to have paid off — the movie was well-received with an A CinemaScore and a 63 per cent “fresh” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

In second place, Warner Bros’ ‘Birds of Prey’ added $17.1 million in its second weekend (a 48 per cent drop) and is projected to earn $19.6 million through Monday, for a cumulative $59.3 million.

At No 3, Sony’s Blumhouse-produced ‘Fantasy Island’ opened with $12.4 million over the weekend and is projected to earn $14 million through Monday, within range of analyst predictions for the weekend of $12 million to $14 million.

A reimagining of the 70s TV series, ‘Fantasy Island’ was directed by Jeff Wadlow and stars Michael Pena as the enigmatic Mr Roarke, who is tasked with bringing his guests’ fantasies to life at a remote tropical resort.

The $7 million film also features Lucy Hale, Michael Rooker, Maggie Q, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O Yang and Ryan Hansen. It was poorly received, with a C-minus CinemaScore and a mere 9 per cent “rotten” score on Rotten Tomatoes.