Dr. Seuss Reaches New Heights at the Box Office with $70.7M Opening of "The Lorax"

Posted 11:34 PM March 2nd, 2012 by Senh Duong
The Lorax

The animation marketplace continues to broaden as Universal scores another huge animated hit with Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax.” Universal previously had another animated hit in 2010 with “Despicable Me” (Steve Carell), which opened with $56M and went on to total $251M at the box office. Looks like “The Lorax” will do just as well. It took in an estimated $16M on Friday and could end the weekend with over $55M, possibly making it the top debut for a Dr. Seuss adaptation.

Ron Howard’s 2000 live-action adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” starring Jim Carrey is tops amongst Dr. Seuss adaptations for opening weekend and total domestic gross with $55M and $260M, respectively.

For animated adaptations, "The Lorax" will definitely beat the $45M opening of 2008's "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" That film, which is voiced by an ensemble that includes Jim Carrey (again) and Steve Carell, went on to gross $155M by the end of its theatrical run.

The lowest grossing Dr. Seuss adaptation in recent years was 2003's "The Cat in the Hat," a live-action adaptation starring Mike Myers. That film pulled out $38M from the opening weekend and $101M total.

At 11% on the Tomatometer, "The Cat in the Hat" is also, by far, the worst reviewed of the bunch. Next is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" at 53%, then "The Lorax" at 57%, and lastly, the best reviewed, "Horton Hears a Who!" at 79%.

There you have it, a quick rundown of the box office and Tomatometer for recent Dr. Seuss adaptations without even asking for one.

"The Lorax" stars the voice talent of Betty White, Danny Devito, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Taylor Swift, and Zac Efron. Universal teamed up with animation and effects house Illumination Entertainment to create the film.

SATURDAY UPDATE:
"The Lorax" did $17.4M on Friday, about $2M better than last night's estimate. That's more than the $15.6M that "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" did on its first day. Now, it's very likely that "The Lorax" will surpass that film's opening weekend figure, which would make it the best opening for a Dr. Seuss movie. And it did it with a significantly lower budget - $70M compared to $123M.

I've been noticing that Friday estimates by Variety, Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline tend to be lower than the actual figures posted on Saturday.

SUNDAY UPDATE:
The weekend estimate for "The Lorax" is a record-breaking $70.7M. According to the Hollywood Reporter, it's "best opening ever for a non-sequel animated title." This officially makes Illumination Entertainment a player in the animation industry.

SUNDAY UPDATE #2:
The Hollywood Reporter is wrong - "The Simpsons Movie" has the best opening for a non-sequel animated feature. In 2007, the feature film debut of the long-running TV series opened with $74M. Although no records were broken, "The Lorax" is still a huge hit, especially for a film in March.

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