Last week's hyper-marketed Act of Valor ended up being the #1 movie last weekend, and its efforts to strive for realism (real bullets, real SEALs) paid off for a movie that normally might get overlooked. The videos for Act of Valor didn't get a tremendous amount of views, but they hit the right people and they turned it into a hit. This weekend is sparse on releases, but both should be pretty big. We have Todd Phillips' over-the-top found footage party movie Project X and an adaptation of a not-well-known Dr. Seuss book, The Lorax.
Project X Is Animal House Meets House Party Meets Found Footage
Found footage has been an extremely popular method of storytelling this year, and for the most part it's been successful, with some mixed results. For instance, The Devil Inside, which kicked off the year, carried its awesome marketing to a huge opening weekend and it didn't even matter that the movie was terrible...it made 30 times the money it took to make it in that opening weekend. Chronicle followed, and it also did pretty well, but it's also been plagued by some bad/middling word of mouth (I liked it).
Project X began its campaign with some very strange trailers that made it seem like it might be a drama or scary movie, and while it distinguished itself from the 80s Matthew Broderick movie, it didn't make me want to go see it:
You might get an idea it's a comedy from the end of the trailer, but the somber beginning puts you in the mindset of a "things gone horribly wrong...not in a funny way" type of movie. And I believe that producer Todd Phillips and the gang probably realized that, so then we saw this:
That's way, way better. Now I believe I'm going to have fun watching this.
Combined views for both versions are in the millions, so there is definitely some interest being generated. And Warner Bros. has put out some clips of the movie that have done pretty well for clips.
I'm giving a super huge warning on this one. This is like a red-band trailer, and it has all sorts of bad language and other things people might find objectionable:
What happens when you're throwing a ridiculous, epic rager, and the cops show up? This clip shows the probably impossible way you can get away with it:
There are plenty more, but Warner Bros. is definitely showing how fun and over-the-top this movie can be, which will appeal to their demographic and (very likely) kids who aren't supposed to be able to get in this thing. Project X should be pretty big. Everything about it screams, "hit."
The Lorax Is The Latest Dr. Seuss Adaptation, But How Many People Know It?
I know all those old Dr. Seuss classics. We name-check Green Eggs & Ham, The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears A Who, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, etc. But I had never heard of The Lorax. But that hasn't stopped Universal Pictures from trying to get you to know for the last few months. That movie has been everywhere. It will definitely be a family event.
It's an environmentally-conscious story about missing trees and the little Seussian character that guards the last ones on the planet, but it doesn't look too preachy. It looks fun.
This was the first trailer I saw for it:
Here's the official trailer, and it looks pretty great:
They pulled out a TV spot for the Super Bowl:
Universal has a bunch of featurettes involving the chief actors. Here's one with Danny DeVito, who plays the title character:
And here's Taylor Swift talking about her character:
Overall, The Lorax has a pretty high view count for a family movie. Even the surprisingly successful Journey 2 didn't have too many, so I'm looking for The Lorax to be even bigger.
The Take For The Weekend
One thing is for sure, Act of Valor will not be repeating it's #1 showing from last weekend. This appears to be a neck-and-neck weekend between the two new movies, and I'm going to give the edge to Project X. But I think this is going to be a really close race, with Project X's nighttime adult ticket prices going head-to-head with The Lorax's 3D premiums. Both movies should do high $20 million-low $30 million type business this weekend. Even more is possible.