Can Sony and Sega Score With a 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Movie?

A movie based on the Sega classic is attempting to go where few videogames gave successfully gone.

Jul 2, 2014 at 12:50PM

This history of movies based on video games has been especially bleak, but that has not stopped film companies from thinking that the next effort will be different. Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Sega will be the next to try, as the two companies adapt Sonic the Hedgehog for the big screen. 

Though the companies have not specified whether the film will be animated or a combination of animation/CGI and real-life action, the failure of the vast majority of video game adaptations suggests it has little chance to be successful. On Box Office Mojo's list of the 10 top-grossing movies based on video games, only Lara Croft: Tomb Raider broke $100 million in domestic box office sales. The next film on the list, the Jake Gyllenhaal-starring Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, stalled out at $90 million in the U.S., despite huge expectations and an estimated $200 million budget. 

Looking down the Box Office Mojo list, the numbers go from not that good to really bad very quickly. Here's a look at the 10 highest-grossing video game adaptations in the U.S. since 1995.

Title Domestic Gross
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider $131,168,070 (2001)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time $90,759,676 (2010)
Pokemon: The First Movie $85,744,098 (1999)
Mortal Kombat $70,454,098 (1995)
Laura Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life $65,660,196 (2003)
Resident Evil: Afterlife $60,128,566 (2010)
Resident Evil: Apocalypse $51,201,453 (2004)
Resident Evil: Extinction $50,648,679 (2007)
Silent Hill $46,982,632 (2006)
Pokemon: The Movie 2000 $43,758,684 (2000)

If you were to follow this down to No. 20, you would find the truly sad $20 million take of the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie. That was a poorly executed film, but it was based on characters that were much larger than Sonic ever was, and certainly many times larger than the erstwhile hedgehog is now.

A few of these movies -- specifically the Resident Evil series -- have been mildly profitable due to having relatively low budgets, but there are no clear major success stories.

Jason Hellmann, Daniel Kline, and Jake Mann debated whether there is demand for a movie based on the Sega character -- and whether the project has any chance to succeed -- on Business Take, the show that gives you the Foolish perspective on the most important business stories of the week.

Why Sonic, why now?
Blame the announcement of the Sonic movie on the success of The Lego Movie. Since that film brought in $256 domestically and another $210 million overseas, anyone owning an even vaguely successful character has seemingly made a movie deal. These include not just the Sonic film, but a movie on the Barbie line and one based on marshmallow Peeps, the Easter candy perhaps most famous for being only seasonally available.  

Even with that, the timing of a Sonic movie seems odd, since the most recent Sonic video game title, Sonic Lost World, was only a middling success, selling about 600,000 copies.

"If it fails repeatedly and there is very limited upside, why are they continuing to try?" Kline asked.

One of the reasons is certainly the allure of how well some game titles have sold. With the games themselves being $1 billion franchises, it's tempting for movie companies to try again, even if nearly all past results suggest failure is likely.

Will you be buying tickets to a Sonic the Hedgehog movie? Watch the video below and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple. 


Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. Jake Mann has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers