'The Lorax' Breaks Multiple Records as It Opens on Top of Box Office

Grossing a massive $70.2 million on its debut weekend, the Dr. Seuss animated film marks the biggest opening ever for a non-sequel animation and the greatest opening in 2012 so far.
Universal Pictures' environmental animated movie "The Lorax" secures the champion title on North American box office with a massive gross on its opening weekend. The family film based on Dr. Seuss' children book grabs a massive $70.2 million, which is far above the studio's expectation.

The satisfying result marks the biggest opening ever for a non-sequel animated pic, breaking the record previously held by Pixar's "The Incredibles" which opened to $70.5 million in 2004. "Lorax" also marks the greatest box office performance by any animated film since 2010's "Toy Story 3", which debuted to $110.3 million, and "Shrek Forever After", which opened to $70.8 million.

"Lorax" scores the fourth top opening ever for any Universal's movie. Additionally, the Zac Efron and Taylor Swift-starring movie breaks the record of greatest opening in 2012, besting the $41.2 million scored by "The Vow" last February.

"The result is phenomenal," says Universal president of domectic distribution, Nikki Rocco, of the animation which production cost below $70 million. "Word of mouth was great, and that's why Saturday was up 80% from Friday. It's just spectacular."

Receiving an "A" CinemaScore, "Lorax" attracts to mostly parents and kids under the age of 12, which make up 70% of its ticket buyers. "I think there was a huge desire to see a Dr. Seuss 3D film from the creators of 'Despicable Me'," Rocco says.

Opening on the runner up spot is rave party film "Project X". The Warner Bros. Pictures' found-footage movie bags $21 million despite the fact the the film cost a modest $12 million. Receiving a "B" CinemaScore, it appeals to 67% moviegoers under the age of 25 with 58% of them are males. "[Producer] Todd Phillips is just incredibly talented," Warner Bros. executive vice president of distribution Jeff Goldstein said of the R-rated film.

Former chart-topper "Act of Valor" falls to the third place with $13.5 million, dropping 44% from last week. Denzel Washington's action pic "Safe House", meanwhile, stays on the fourth position this week with $7.3 million, dropping only 34% from last week. Rounding up the top five is "Good Deeds", which adds $7 million to its domestic cume.

*On the other hand, Oscar's big winner "The Artist" finishes on the tenth place with $3.6 million, increasing 34% from the prior weekend. The acclaimed silent drama, which cost a mere $15 million to produce, collects a total domestic cume of $37.1 million after fifteen weeks of playing in theaters.

Top Ten Movies at Box Office for March 2-4, 2012:
  1. "The Lorax" - $70.2 million
  2. "Project X" - $21 million
  3. "Act of Valor" - $13.5 million
  4. "Safe House" - $7.3 million
  5. "Good Deeds" - $7 million
  6. "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" - $6.5 million
  7. "The Vow" - $6 million
  8. "This Means War" - $5.5 million
  9. "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" - $4.5 million
  10. *"Wanderlust" - $3.8 million
*UPDATE (March 6, 2011 01:5 GMT): When the final figures came out on Monday, March 5, "The Artist" dropped another slot to the eleventh. Thus, it swapped place with "Wanderlust", which now secured the tenth position on the chart.

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