Adapting a video game into a motion picture is not an easy task. There is transferring a two-dimensional character into a fleshed-out entity, creating an environment into a realistic realm — to say nothing about trying to come up with a story that fills an hour and a half of screen time.
Paramount Pictures, Sega Video Games, and director Jeff Fowler understand these challenges. The effort to bring the video game character Sonic The Hedgehog to theaters has not gone well so far. It turns out that the rather old character has some devoted, dare we say militant fans.
Problems began when the teaser movie posters were released last December. First was this silhouette version that led to fan distemper.
The guys that brought you Deadpool & The Fast and the Furious are bringing SONIC THE HEDGEHOG to the big screen! #SonicMovie speeds into theatres Nov 2019.
— Paramount Pictures (@ParamountPics) December 10, 2018
Next came this bright version, and the outrage only continued.
Being a Sonic the Hedgehog fan is tough. It’s a masterclass in masochism. No matter what Sega does to us, and they do a lot, we keep coming back for more. pic.twitter.com/CXsYP2F4Os
— Calvin (@calvinstowell) December 10, 2018
I found the poster at a Century Theaters in Walnut Creek, California for all you hip cool Sonic fans wonderin'. Gotta go Fast (as possible away from this film)!#SonicMovie
— MocciMu (@moccimu) December 12, 2018
look at what happens when you brighten sonic's face on the Sonic the Hedgehog poster pic.twitter.com/UV78cLMWj9
— Steve Zaragoza of The Valleyfolk (@stevezaragoza) December 10, 2018
Adding to the dysphoria was other fan complaints about the arms looking too human, the gloves being replaced by white fur, and the trademark shoes reduced to a generic pair of red lace-ups. The studio continued on however, convinced that they would tap into the proper vein of fandom.
Then the trailer came out last month.
Bad enough you have Jim Carey in a literal mustache-twirling villain role, but the animated appearance of the gyroscopic gymnure had fans in a state of outrage. There was any number of issues, but the most arresting aspect for fans was the appearance of human teeth.
Yea, seriously – what the hell?!
It is more than fair to say this became more than your typical tempest-in-a-mole-hill social media firestorm. The pushback by fans was enough that the studio listened to the outrage, and director Fowler came out with a notice that their words were being heeded.
Thank you for the support. And the criticism. The message is loud and clear… you aren't happy with the design & you want changes. It's going to happen. Everyone at Paramount & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be… #sonicmovie #gottafixfast 🔧✌️
— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 2, 2019
Then weeks later the seriousness of the matter was realized, as he had another announcement, this one regarding the future prospects of the film.
— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 24, 2019
This is a significant change in schedule. The film is being moved out of the fertile holiday frame of the calendar to the Valentine’s Day release date, which is a very soft segment of the Hollywood release calendar. This is not a decision the studio would make on an impulse.
To potentially lose out on a more lucrative release date means they have regarded the complaints to be sufficient that they would have seriously curtailed the box office. To go with that there is the expense of going through the finished film and digitally creating new renderings of the character.
Given the delayed gratification here is the trailer to tide over any desire — or if you simply want to chortle at the appearance of an anthropomorphic cartoon gaming icon.