Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

March 5, 2012

That's $1,000 for you and $2,000 for you and....

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He speaks for the trees. And the SUVs. And whatever's convenient.

Kim Hollis: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, the fourth adaptation of a children's classic from the legendary writer, opened to $70.2 million. How did Universal pull off such an impressive result? How surprised are you that this happened?

Tom Houseman: I'm maybe three percent surprised? Horton opened to $45 million four Marches ago, but that film didn't have as much love for it as Lorax, didn't have the insane marketing saturation of The Lorax, and didn't have 3-D screens to boost ticket sales. Yes, this opening is higher than expected, but this is the first new big family film in months. Nobody should have been surprised by its 4+ weekend multiplier. And unless John Carter is unexpectedly big, The Lorax will dominate until Hunger Games takes over. Let's just pray this doesn't mean that in two years we'll be seeing Lorax 2: Lorax in the City.

Reagen Sulewski: On the contrary, this is highly aberrant behaviour. Films don't get these kind of internal weekend multipliers anymore, even children's films. Horton was barely over 3, and the addition of 3-D doesn't explain this difference. Lorax beat Horton's Friday by 20%, and beat its Saturday by almost 100%. That's not an easy thing to dismiss, and is well outside of usual filmgoing patterns. I'm not sure there's an easy explanation for that. There were the tornadoes I guess, but there wasn't the same kind of effect with other films.


In general, The Lorax was well sold, and there hasn't been a more attractive looking animated film in some time, but that Saturday jump remains unexplained to me, at least to a satisfactory degree.

Edwin Davies: I'm not surprised that it opened to big numbers, but I am surprised by how big those numbers are (particularly the Saturday, which is insane). I expected this film to do well because it's based on a Dr Seuss book, and considering that even the rightly reviled Mike Myers' version of The Cat In The Hat made it to $100 million, it was fair to assume that another film based on Seuss' work would do fairly well. We've reached the point where there three or four generations have grown up either reading Dr Seuss or having Dr Seuss read to them, so his works have the kind of cross-generational appeal that is almost impossible to create without decades of goodwill. As such, a film based on The Lorax, even if it's not that great, was always going to do pretty well.

So why did it do this well? I honestly don't know. The best I can guess is that it's the first big animated film of the year - sorry, Arrietty - so there is a hint of novelty around it. Kids were probably just excited to see a cartoon, and the appeal of The Lorax probably made parents think that it wouldn't be the worst way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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