‘Sonic’ Redesign Cost Paramount Nowhere Near the $35 Million That’s Been Rumored

Nearly four months after announcing it was pushing the release of “Sonic the Hedgehog” to 2020 in order to give director Jeff Fowler enough time to redesign the title character, Paramount dropped a new trailer that showed off a Sonic more faithful to his video game origins. The character redesign has led many in the industry to question just how costly it was to go back into the film and reanimate Sonic. One tweet alleging the redesign cost $35 million and brought the film’s total budget up to $125 million has gone viral with over 10,000 re-tweets. It turns out that number is outrageously high compared to what Paramount actually spent on the change.

A source close to the “Sonic the Hedgehog” production estimates the character redesign cost Paramount less than $5 million. The source says VFX work on the film was far from completed by the time the decision was made to delay the film and redesign Sonic. The only Sonic VFX that were fully completed were reportedly the ones seen in the first trailer, which dropped online April 30. Most of the VFX were not finished, so redesigning Sonic proved not to be as outrageously expensive as it would have been had all of the film’s VFX been done. The source tells IndieWire that any rumor alleging the redesign made the “Sonic” VFX team suffer is far from true.

Shortly after the first trailer debuted to largely negative reactions to Sonic’s physical appearance, Fowler took to social media to announce the redesign. “Thank you for the support. And the criticism,” Fowler wrote. “The message is loud and clear. You aren’t happy with the design and you want changes. It’s going to happen. Everyone at Paramount and Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be.”

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The November 12 trailer showed off the new Sonic, complete with larger eyes, less muscular legs, and less sharply defined teeth. Ben Schwartz is voicing Sonic in the 2020 animation-live action hybrid. James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, and Jim Carrey co-star. Paramount is opening “Sonic” in theaters nationwide February 14.