LOS ANGELES                 -             After a string of pricey duds with Gemini Man, Terminator: Dark Fate, and Rhythm Section, Paramount gets back on track with its net $87M production of Sonic the Hedgehog.

The film could potentially score the best video game feature adaptation debut of all-time, with a 3-day of $53.99M and 4-day of $64.3M, according to industry estimates this morning.

Anything over $54.3M in 3-days beats the previous record set by Legendary/Warner Bros.’ Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. On a 4-day basis, Sonic does beat Detective Pikachu as the best start for a video game feature, the former pic earning $58M over a non-holiday period last May. Paramount is seeing on their end a $50M 3-day and $60M 4-day for Sonic which is still great. Pixar’s ‘Onward’ Arrives With $44M; ‘Invisible Man’ $20M+; ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ Could Clear $50M - Box Office Forecasts

Video game fare has always been ambitious to adapt to the big screen, the exhibit A example of risk and failure being Cinergi’s 1993 Super Mario Brothers (distributed via Disney at the time!) which cost a then-exorbitant $48M and only grossed a near $21M domestic. Then you have more recent examples, like Legendary/Universal’s $160M Warcraft movie which failed in the US with $47.3M, and was carried by China with a global gross of $439M.

It stands to reason that Hollywood would be attracted to video game fare, given the immediate opportunity to exploit a brand and draw mobs of fans. In the case of Sega’s 1991 born Sonic the Hedgehog (and these industry stats haven’t been updated in a while), he’s a character that has grossed far north of $5 billion in game sales, spawned various animated TV shows, with free mobile game downloads near 1 billion as of last year. Why wouldn’t a studio want to make a movie about this guy?

The trick with video game fare is walking the tightrope of appeasing the game’s fans while providing solid entertainment to the non-faithful, and that’s what Paramount has pulled off here with Sonic.

While a feature version of Sonic had been brewing as far back as the 1990s at MGM (and then Dreamworks for a bit), this iteration with Original Film producer Neal H. Moritz has been simmering since 2013 at Sony. By 2016, Oscar-nominated animated short director Jeff Fowler (Gopher Broke) boarded with EP Tim Miller, the project repping Fowler’s feature directorial debut.

The following year, Original Film landed a first look at Paramount, with Sony putting Sonic in turnaround, and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2nd place, with a $20M 4-day, is Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey, an expected $62.1M by Monday. Pic’s 3-day of $17.6M is -47%. Updated PostTrak exits are now at a middling 3 1/2 stars.