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Proving that you can make millions of dollars by throwing a bunch of bright colors and the name "Dr. Seuss" at families, Universal will be on top of the box office this weekend with Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, the new animated spin on the classic environmentalist book. Despite some questionable tie-ins with corporate sponsors like SUV manufacturers and some negative reviews (including our own), the movie made $17.4 million on Friday, and is on track for a $60 million weekend. If those numbers don't sound like they add up, bear in mind that family-friendly movies do crazy business during matinees on Saturday and Sunday-- and if you've been to the movies this weekend, you've likely noticed plenty of small children running toward the orange creature with a giant mustache who's been relentlessly marketed toward them for months.
According to THR, The Lorax will boast the best opening weekend for an animated film this side of Cars 2-- even the previous effort from Universal and Illumination Entertainment, Despicable Me, pulled just $56 million on its way to becoming a giant hit. The Lorax will easily outpace the weekend's #2 film, Project X, which is still looking good after an $8.2 million gross on Friday. THR predicts it will make $20 million this weekend, which is still plenty profitable for the movie made for $12 million with no stars.
And in fewer theaters, The Artist is making good on the publicity from its Best Picture win and expanding into 100 more theaters. The movie is on track to make $4 million this weekend and bring it to $36 million total-- still a tiny amount for a Best Picture winner, but it's also guaranteed to play far longer than your average film.
We'll have a full box office roundup for you tomorrow night. In the meantime let us know what you're seeing!