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Sonic the Hedgehog narrowly beats Harrison Ford's Call of the Wild

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Harrison Ford's Call of the Wild surprisingly took the top spot last Friday, but was ultimately defeated by Sonic.

Los Angeles

AFTER a close box office battle, Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog pulled ahead of Disney and 20th Century's The Call of the Wild on North American box office charts. The two movies had been in a tug-of-war for first place.

Heading into the weekend, Sonic was expected to easily dominate again but Harrison Ford's Call of the Wild surprised by taking the top spot last Friday. However, ultimately, Sonic finished the weekend with US$26.3 million, enough to defeat Call of the Wild and its US$25 million debut.

Sonic the Hedgehog became a surprise box office hit after launching with a stellar US$70 million over the recent Presidents' Day holiday. After its second week of release, the movie crossed the US$100 million mark in North America.

Although Call of the Wild beat expectations, it carries a massive US$125 million price tag so the PG-rated film will need support from ticket buyers across the globe in order to break even.

The Call of the Wild, an adaptation of Jack London's 1900s novel, got mixed reviews from critics. Moviegoers were more impressed, giving the film an "A-minus" CinemaScore.

STX's supernatural thriller Brahms: The Boy II, the weekend's other new release, generated US$6 million from 2,151 venues, on par with expectations. Overseas, the horror film pulled in another US$2.22 million for a global start of US$8.22 million.

The standalone sequel to 2016's The Boy - starring Katie Holmes - cost US$10 million to produce. STX reports that its exposure on the film is under US$3 million after foreign pre-sales, meaning it should be financially successful for the studio.

Warner Bros' comic-book flick Birds of Prey landed in third place with US$7 million from 1,965 theatres. After three weeks of release, Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn spinoff has earned US$72 million in North America.

Sony's Bad Boys for Life nabbed the No 5 slot, bringing in US$6 million in its sixth weekend in theatres. The action-comedy sequel has amassed a huge US$191 million to date.

Neon's Parasite continues to draw crowds after its historic Oscar best picture win. Director Bong Joon Ho's twisty South Korean thriller pulled in another US$3.1 million last weekend for a domestic tally of US$48.9 million, a huge result for a subtitled film.

At the specialty box office, Focus Features adaptation Emma pocketed US$230,000 from five venues, averaging US$46,000 from each location. The studio is bringing the film to 100 screens this weekend.

"Emma made its perfect match with audiences," said Focus distribution president Lisa Bunnell. "Audiences have not only been charmed by Jane Austen's classic story, but are entertained by its new humour told through the incredible cast of Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Nighy, Johnny Flynn, and the film's brilliant director. Autumn de Wilde."

Amazon's Seberg also opened in limited release and collected US$60,487 from three theatres, averaging US$20,162 per location.

Kristen Stewart stars in the political thriller about actress Jean Seberg (Stewart), who finds herself the target of an FBI surveillance programme due to her associations with activist Hakim Jamal.

The movie received mostly negative reviews, but Stewart earned praise for her performance. Amazon is expanding the film - directed by Benedict Andrews and also starring Margaret Qualley, Zazie Beetz - to 300 venues this weekend.

Overall, box office ticket sales are up 5.9 per cent from last year, according to Comscore. REUTERS