21 Jump Street won the box office easily with $35 million. Great reviews propelled this one forward after initial estimates had the Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum-lead comedy at only $30 million. This upgrade is good enough to give the movie the title of Jonah Hill’s best opening ever in the genre which previously belonged to 2007′s Superbad in which the actor co-starred alongside Michael Cera. The feature edged out Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax which came in at $22.8 million–a figure not bad at all for a film now in its third week.
The gap between two and three was sizable as well. John Carter only mustered up $13.5 million for the three-day period meaning word of mouth did not help Disney’s sci-fi epic to recoup its production and marketing costs. With The Hunger Games taking over the box office in five days, it would be reasonable to assume another steep drop for the Taylor Kitsch-lead effort next weekend even though the Lionsgate juggernaut skews slightly female.
Perhaps the most newsworthy part of the box office report today is the performance from Will Ferrell’s Spanish language effort, Casa De Mi Padre. The film grossed $2.2 million from only 382 theaters. A much wider release will likely come of this because demand is obviously there. Expect the $6 million film to make a little bit of noise in the coming weeks thanks to this performance as Casa De Mi Padre’s theater count will most likely rise.
Deadlinehas the story tonight that Illumination Entertainment has been tapped to adapt Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat into a full blown computer animated feature. This is the animation studio behind Despicable Me and The Lorax which were both box office hits. More surprising was the performance from The Lorax as the movie opened to a shocking $70 million two weeks ago putting it on pace to possibly outperform the former at the domestic level. Ordinarily, this would mean an automatic sequel seeing how this is Hollywood; however, the source material prohibits such a thing from occurring.
The alternative of course is to go after another Dr. Seuss property, and it is extremely surprising that they picked The Cat In The Hat. This is somewhat surprising because the movie has already been done. In 2003, a live-action adaptation of The Cat In The Hat hit theaters starring Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning, and Alec Baldwin. The Brian Grazer-produced effort raked in a mere $101 million at the domestic box office on a budget of $109 million which was bad enough to call the movie a failure given its foreign haul was negligible.
Given the news of the project’s existence was only made public today, it would be wise to assume a 2014 release date at the earliest for Illumination’s next Dr. Seuss-driven project. Fans of the studio need not worry though as the animation house’s next effort will arrive next year in the form of the sequel to 2010′s Despicable Me.
The box office is in full resurgence mode after a dismal 2011 with week after week of relative year-to-year gains. Coming off of the surprise success of several movies since January in addition to the juggernaut performance from Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax, Hollywood is looking up these days. The cherry on top of the sundae is undoubtedly The Hunger Games as it is expected the franchise launcher will open to more than $100 million at the domestic level later this month which is a rarity for a non-sequel film.
The success of The Hunger Games is exactly what studios want–brand new franchises capable of grossing close to 10-figures worldwide with each progressive installment. The general strategy in Hollywood since 2008-09 was to take less risks and milk reliable properties to death, but the advent of this new wave of successful cinematic sagas illustrates that demand is waning for blockbuster rehashes. Moviegoers are ready to return in lieu of $8 popcorn; however, there is a catch. Studios have to try again. They just cannot throw out cheap knockoff efforts based on the assumed popular genres. They have to make something that will remind people why the movie theater is better than the couch in front of a flat screen.
That is why even after Disney’s John Carter was projected to cost the company north of $100 million after the film had ran its course, the studio came out this past weekend with plans for a brand new sci-fi epic feature called Paladin to be written by Max Borenstein (The Seventh Son). Another indication of this shifting strategic mindset in Hollywood is the story out yesterday saying that Stephen King’s The Dark Tower could finally get its day thanks to Warner Bros. and Ron Howard’s continued efforts to make a feature happen. The bottom line is that if 2012 continues to demonstrate strength, the top 10 movies of the year may no longer be littered with established properties on their fifth cycle.
As expected all week long, The Lorax ($39.1 million) has beaten John Carter ($30.6 million) for the top spot at the domestic box office. The Andrew Stanton-directed sci-fi film was expected to perform weakly compared to its $250 million budget because of its soft tracking, but there is some news out Sunday morning that will certainly come as music to Disney’s ears. The movie is picking up steam based on word of mouth. Saturday grosses rose a quarter from what was expected–a huge difference that makes people wonder if the film was marketed properly.
Nowadays, marketing is so aggressive that studios produce a hype push of sorts for ‘fan boy’ flicks with mixed reviews. What this means is that the opening weekend will tend to see 50% of the film’s total domestic gross while week two will show off a 60-70% drop off. A big Saturday performance demonstrated that there was little or no hype push at all, and that the marketing apparently made the film seem worse than it actually was to prospective moviegoers who are now interested because they are now hearing that John Carter is a good time after all.
Add in the solid international numbers to the prospects of continued strength beyond opening weekend domestically, and there is a recipe for a respectable box office performance–something that would be absurd to say in regards to John Carter a few weeks ago.
Update @ 3:33 PM, ET: Foreign numbers have just been revealed, and they are great. $70.6 million was raked in elsewhere which puts John Carter’s worldwide opening north of $100 million.
Zac Efron was on Conan last night to promote his new animated feature, The Lorax. Here is the interview in which the High School Musical actor talked about preparing for an upcoming role as a marine, his nerdy roots, and more. He also sang some Beach Boys during the appearance.
Just to put a capper on The Lorax’s big opening weekend, the estimates came out this morning, and they are even bigger than expected. The animated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book grossed a whopping $70.7 million. Other than that, nothing else changed too much from the Friday box office report. Project X snagged up $20.8 million for the three-day for those of you who are curious. Not a bad haul for a $12 million movie.
Looking ahead, next week’s big opener is John Carter, and Disney is right to be nervous about this one. The Taylor Kitsch-lead film cost $250 million to produce, and marketing cost a pretty penny as well. With The Lorax seemingly sucking up all those family dollars one-week prior to the prospective blockbuster’s debut, one could imagine there will not be a great deal of people going ‘just because.’
This weekend hopes to further the notion that the box office is in full recovery mode after 2011′s drought as two new films are set to exceed $20 million for the three-day period with Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax leading the way with a projected $60 million opening. More specifically, these estimates are based on the tremendous Friday numbers which had The Lorax at $17.4 million–strong for a family movie on a school day–and Todd Phillip’s Project X at $8.2 million. The former of the two actually broke an opening day record for Dr. Seuss book-to-film conversions as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas‘ $15.6 million in 2000 was not enough to survive the might a Danny DeVito voice-over.
The Lorax is not exactly top dog in the Dr. Seuss community, but the driver in the animated feature’s strong performance was possibly the lack of genre competition for a long while excluding Beauty and the Beast 3D. Pundits are being quick to write that off, and instead are lavishing Illumination Entertainment with praise as they were also the animation studio behind previous box office successes Despicable Me and Hop. That is not to say that the studio behind this effort fails to be a factor, but it certainly is not the only one at play here. For comparative purposes, Rango debuted in theaters last year at roughly the same time with the exact same animation monopoly and racked up $40 million in its first weekend.
Unfortunately for Hollywood, not every studio capitalized on what appears to be a strong movie going weekend, as those were the only two nationwide releases for the week. There is nothing out of the blue to report with the returning field other than the typical 50% week-to-week drop offs. Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds dropped 65%, but that is what Tyler Perry movies typically do in week two. On the flip side, The Artist did not get much of a boost after winning the Academy Award for best picture. The silent film only grew 25% which was not even enough to crack the top ten.
Today had Zac Efron in-studio this morning to promote his new animated feature, The Lorax. In the interview, he talks about doing the film and finding his inner twelve-year-old boy. The actor also discussed his red carpet snafu.
Perhaps it was the involvement of Todd Phillips of Hangover and Old School in Project X that set the bar a little too high, but the epic party movie is looking soft in terms of critical praise. The opposite can be said about the animated feature The Lorax which sports a vocal cast headlined by Danny DeVito and Zac Efron. Let’s first take a look at why Project X is struggling to impress critics before analyzing the Dr. Seuss-based effort.
While some are considering Project X as ‘an experience,’ the bulk of reviewers are not digging the documentary concept behind it. They also say the chaotic nature of the movie is off putting and flat out exhausting. Perhaps the most telling description of this particular film is one from Box Office Magazine’s Sara Maria Vizcarrondo who likens the movie to the “weaker cousin of Superbad.” With that being said, the movie could certainly be worse with at 36% on Rotten Tomatoes as of post time.
The Lorax on the other hand is rocking a 69% at the moment, as reviewers are calling it beautifully animated and enjoyable for kids. Here is where there is a split though. Negative reviews say adults will not like the movie, but positive reviews are adamant that is not the case, so unfortunately for this animated feature there is no guarantee that the whole family will enjoy the trip to the theater. For comparative purposes, one critic is saying the film is a ‘less original Wall-E.’
Today had Danny DeVito on this morning to promote The Lorax, and he brought mustaches! Here is the colorful interview that the actor had with Matt Lauer in-studio where he talked about voicing the Dr. Seuss character in several languages and more.
Ed Helms was in-studio this morning on the set of Today where he sat down with Matt Lauer to promote his new film, The Lorax. Topics of conversation include the actor’s draw to the movie, Lou Dobbs’ comments on the classic Dr. Seuss book getting a big screen adaptation, and The Office.
The Lorax stars Taylor Swift and Zac Efron were both on Ellen this week to promote their new animated feature where the host brings up High School Musical, Efron’s body, and a potential relationship between the two stars. Here are three clips from the interview, the second of which features the duo singing together.