Sonic the Hedgehog‘s release date of February 28 in China is officially delayed by Paramount, due to the mounting concerns over the coronavirus. The 2020 film is based on the extremely popular video game franchise produced by Sega. Sony Pictures tried to develop a film adaptation back in 2014 but was unsuccessful, and Paramount acquired the rights in 2017. The film stars Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as the voice of Sonic, along with James Marsden (Westworld) and Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty) as the villainous Dr. Ivo Robotnik/Dr. Eggman, Sonic’s arch nemesis.
The film got off to a rocky start after the first trailer received supremely negative reactions to Sonic’s design, and the film was delayed three months in order to fully redesign the character. It was supposed to be released in November 2019, but they moved it back to February 2020 to allow plenty of time for the alterations. The original co-creator of the character, Yuji Naka, took to Twitter to thank fans for rebelling against the studio’s design. The new version of Sonic the Hedgehog was well-received and one of the reasons the film exceeded expectations at the box office.
Paramount’s decision to delay releasing the film in China was reported by Variety. China has closed their cinemas indefinitely because of the growing epidemic. They have reported 77,150 cases of the virus in their country as of Monday. Paramount released a statement about the delay, saying “Due to the current coronavirus situation, the China release date of the film Sonic the Hedgehog will be postponed, and we will re-announce the new release date at a later time.” Many other films have delayed release dates, stopped productions, and canceled premieres because of the coronavirus, such as the upcoming James Bond film No Time To Die.
Paramount’s statement continued on, taking a moment to thank everyone involved with efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus and care for those affected by it:
As the whole country and world unite together to fight the outbreak of coronavirus, we would like to express our gratitude and respect to all the medical staff, the rescue personnel, and people in service who provide us with much-needed assistance and support during this time.
Their sincere comments display the rising severity surrounding the epidemic. The coronavirus has had more than 79,000 cases worldwide according to the World Health Organization, having spread to over 30 countries already. Many other markets are also being affected by its spread, such as the smartphone and gaming industries. Themes parks, like Shanghai Disneyland, have also closed.
Though Sonic the Hedgehog is delayed indefinitely in China, Paramount clearly plans to release the film there sometime in the future. Hopefully, the studio can announce a new release date soon, though with the ending of the coronavirus unclear, it might be awhile. The film has been quite successful so far, as it had the biggest opening box office weekend for a video game adaptation, beating the recent Detective Pikachu film. Fans can rest assured that once China reopens their cinemas, Paramount will release Sonic the Hedgehog just as expected.
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