The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Tuesday for the final figures based on actual box office.
March indeed came in like a lion as the hits kept coming for Universal Pictures with the animated family movie Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, their third collaboration with Illumination Entertainment, which opened with $70.7 million in 3,729 theaters. $5.4 million of that amount (roughly 8%) was made in the 269 IMAX theaters nationwide, averaging $20.1 thousand per site.
Opening on Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2, The Lorax grossed an astounding $17.4 million on Friday and then had a huge Saturday bump with $31.3 million, allowing it to claim a number of records and firsts. As of now, it's not only the biggest opening movie of 2012 but also the biggest opening for a Universal animated movie and their 4th biggest opening overall. It also claims the position as the highest opening non-sequel animated film (formerly held by The Incredibles) and the highest opening Dr. Seuss film over Jim Carrey's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Based on estimates, it's also the third-biggest March opener.
The Todd Phillips-produced R-rated party comedy Project X (Warner Bros.) took second place with $20.7 million in 3,055 theaters, becoming the fourth movie of 2012 to open with more than $20 million despite not having a name cast, following The Devil Inside, Chronicle and last week's Act of Valor, and if this trend continues, one might wonder whether Hollywood might change its approach to filmmaking in terms of paying lots of money for big name actors.
The Bandito Brothers' action flick Act of Valor (Relativity Media) took third place with $13.7 million, dropping 44% from its opening weekend and bringing its total gross to $45.2 million.
The Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds action-thriller Safe House (Universal) retained fourth place with $7.2 million in 2,553 theaters, bringing its four-week gross to $108.2 million.
Tyler Perry's Good Deeds (Lionsgate) dropped down to fifth place with $7 million, down 55% from its opening, with a ten-day total of $25.7 million.
With a stronger family movie entering theaters, the family adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (New Line/WB) dropped to sixth place with $6.9 million and $85.6 million in four weeks.
Seventh place went to Screen Gems' romantic drama The Vow, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, which brought in $6.1 million to take its gross to $111.7 million.
The Reese Witherspoon action-comedyThis Means War (20th Century Fox) took eighth place with $5.6 million and $41.6 million total, followed by Sony's Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance, starring Nicolas Cage, with $4.7 million and $44.8 million total.
After winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, the silent movie The Artist (The Weinstein Co.) expanded into 1,756 theaters and got a 34% bump to break back into the Top 10 with $3.9 million and $37.1 million grossed to date.
The Top 10 grossed roughly $147 million, up 29% up from the first weekend in March last year when Gore Verbinski's Rango topped the box office with $38 million and Matt Damon's The Adjustment Bureau came in second place with $21 million.
Paul Weitz's Being Flynn, starring Robert De Niro and Paul Dano, opened in four theaters in New York and L.A. on Friday, bringing in $45.6 thousand or $11.4 million per site.
Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.