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WIRE Buzz: Sonic's box office projections speed up; Pokemon GO, Harry Potter events; more

By Jacob Oller
Sonic the Hedgehog

Even with a new set of teeth (along with a full body makeover), Sonic the Hedgehog may still recoup his extensive cosmetic overhaul in his first cinematic outing. Projections for the film’s box-office debut are out, and they’re only speeding up in the wake of the classic Sega character’s VFX facelift.

Deadline reports that Sonic the Hedgehog is predicted to make anywhere from $41 million to $47 million on its opening four-day weekend. The weekend bookended by Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day is already prime moviegoing real estate: Black Panther and Deadpool both had massive openings in that same time span. But Sonic isn’t set to match these Marvel heroes’ heights. Instead, the blue speedster will be looking at a more reasonable debut alongside the likes of the Friday the 13th remake or Kingsman: The Secret Service.

That still sets Sonic up for a top 10 all-time finish for the four-day stretch, possibly in the top five if things really go through the roof (after zipping around a loop-de-loop, of course). Pretty impressive for a movie whose first poster and trailer were so poorly received by the internet at large that the studio decided to go back to the drawing board and redo the design of its central animated character, pushing the release date back months.

Sonic the Hedgehog hits theaters on Feb. 14.

Next, mobile AR gamers will be pleased that Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, is learning and growing from its early forays into live events. This year looks to be a big one for the company’s move into festivals and gatherings, which have only gotten better after an early Chicago endeavor for its Pokémon Go crashed and burned.

According to Niantic’s new events page, the Windy City isn’t going to be getting all the fun this year. Pokémon Go is coming to Taichung from Feb. 6-9, for the Taiwan Lantern Festival; St. Louis from March 27-29, for a region-specific Safari Zone; Liverpool from April 17-19, for a Safari Zone of its own; and Philadelphia from May 8-10, for another Safari event. Ticketing for these events starts in late January.

The Wizarding World of augmented reality is getting a follow-up to last year’s Fan Festival — though the date is so far unannounced.

Finally, a new NBC pilot melds Quantum Leap and Criminal Minds — and it’s as crazy as that sounds. 

According to Deadline, Echo, from writer J.J. Bailey, sets up a series where a team of criminal investigators solve headline-hitting crimes from the inside out ... literally. They send people back in time into the bodies of the victims (also known as the Quantum Leap mechanic), so they can both escape the murders and figure out who killed them in the original timeline. Quantum Leap was also being talked about with regard to a reboot at Peacock, so perhaps fans will be blessed with two body-hopping time-travel shows in the near future.

Echo's synopsis, however, fails to explain how its timelines will be affected by this meddling — though with modern genre audiences already familiar with the concepts explained in Avengers: Endgame, maybe Echo will take a real stab at an alternate reality solution.

Echo’s pilot will come from Universal TV.