Movies based on video game properties are hard sells for hopeful producers looking for funding from studios. They tend to perform poorly with critics, or at the box office, or both. Fast & Furious franchise producer Neal H Moritz won Paramount over with his pitch for a live action / animated Sonic the Hedgehog movie, however, and he did it by portraying Sonic as a "juvenile delinquent."
Moritz, who's producing the Sonic movie, recently discussed Sonic's approval process with Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos at the 10th annual PGA Produced By Conference in Los Angeles. Gianopulos is already painfully aware of how badly game-based movies can perform with movie-goers (though Paramount's Tomb Raider series is a rare, if mild, success story). He wasn't sold until Moritz made a short clip to demonstrate the tone of the prospective Sonic movie.
"He [Sonic] is a juvenile delinquent on the adventures in a pretty straight rural environment with a local policeman," Gianopulos said. "It was instantly engaging, and it was good enough where you could see where it’s going."
It's not clear if Moritz made the "delinquent" clip just to show off Sonic's range as a character, or if we're literally getting a movie where Sonic goes on a ride-along with a cop because he's a bad boy who's been caught smoking cigarettes in the school stairwell once too often. I feel like the latter concept might work if it doesn't take itself too seriously. Well, if the story goes awry, Moritz can win audiences over by making Sonic kiss a human girl. No, wait, that'll make everything much worse.
We'll have more news about Sonic's exciting and confusing film debut as it comes in.