Last week I titled this post Act of Valor Kills It. I said that mostly because it was a war movie, and they kill people in wars - kind of a double-meaning thing... Anyway, after seeing this weekend's projections, I think I was one week off. "The Lorax" really did kill it! Just like I talked about on Thursday, the beginning of March brings new life to the movie season, and boy were people ready. I figured this movie would make some money; it's an family friendly animated movie with big stars, and Dr. Seuss movies usually have a pretty good following anyway. I've abandoned trying to do my projections in the Thursday posts though because I'm never that close. And just as I assumed, if I would have tried predicting this weekend, while I would have gotten the top film right, I wouldn't have been anywhere close on its total take. Check out its impressive totals after the break.
This weekend, "The Lorax" made a projected $70MM! That's its full budget back in the first weekend. If its projections hold, it will end up having the third highest opening weekend gross for a film premiering in March of all time (and it's only a hundred thousand or so away from being the number two film). Families have been craving something new and fun to see this winter. This was really their first legitimate option (Journey 2 notwithstanding), and it showed.
Otherwise, "Project X", the other new release this weekend, also had a respectable first showing. It put together a nice $20MM bounty, easily cruising into the number two spot. And while I'm sure this film will continue to bring in some money for the next few weeks purely from the teen and college crowd, the general reviews for this film were not good ("The Hangover" had very strong reviews, so extreme party movies can succeed), and I imagine this one will fade away and not end up being the party movie to end all party movies.
"Act of Valor" was the only other film to make $10+ this weekend, grossing a projected $13.7MM. It had a respectable decline of only 44% in its second weekend, and really only "Tyler Perry's Good Deeds" had a drop-off of more than 50%, subsequently falling to the number five slot.
As our own Derek Clem mentioned in the comments of last week's post, there was one film that has been around for a while now that actually had a box office increase from last weekend's totals. That movie is, of course, "The Artist". Coming off its strong showing at the Academy Awards last weekend (five total awards, including Best Picture), it expanded its theater count and upped its weekend take 34% from last week. I'd expect this for the next few weeks or so as the general public gets familiar with this film.
Here are the full weekend projections, thanks for Box Office Mojo: