Working in partnership with Sega to revive the iconic video game hedgehog, Sony Pictures is currently entering development on a Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Targeting an unnamed release date during 2018, the movie will be a combination of live-action and animation. It's likely that characters like Sonic, Tails and Knuckles will be animated, similar to the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise. Alternatively, it would be relatively simple to cast a live-action actor for the villainous role of Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik.
Speaking about the upcoming film, SEGA CEO Hajime Satomi said "Sega Sammy Group is currently planning with Sony Pictures to create a live-action and animation hybrid “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie scheduled for release in 2018. Like with this CG animation production, we would like to expand our business into other entertainment areas beyond what we are currently involved."
Of course, this isn't the first time that Sonic has been featured on television. During the early nineties, an animated Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon aired on ABC for two full seasons. There was also an animated film called Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie that was released in Japan during 1996. Since then, Sonic's appearances have mostly been limited to releases on gaming consoles and handhelds as well as the revival of older, classic titles on mobile platforms such as iOS and Android. However, there is an ongoing CGI show on the Cartoon Network called Sonic Boom.
Interestingly, Sony Pictures Animation has been relatively successful with the live action, animation hybrid genre over the last decade. While completely reviled by critics, The Smurfs franchise has generated just over $900 million for Sony Pictures Animation globally with a combined budget of roughly $215 million. That's likely why Get Smurfy, the next film in the series, is scheduled for release during early 2017. Sony is clearly looking to repeat the box office success generated by the first two films.