Lorax has it all over John Carter at box office

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Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

Universal Pictures’ “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” did much better at the North American box office in its second weekend than did Disney’s John Carter in its first.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the animated Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax — based on the good doctor’s 1971 children’s book — was No. 1 for the weekend in a row, collecting $39.1 million. The film’s 10-day domestic total is now $122 million, making it the top-grossing movie released so far in 2012.

Domestic revenues dropped 44% from a week earlier, but another $1.4 million was raised internationally by The Lorax over the weekend, bringing total cumulated worldwide sales to $123.7 million.

On the other hand, John Carter, combining CGI animation with live action, opened in second place domestically with $30.6 million. Reportedly, Disney spent a humongous $250 million to make the science-fiction film, based on a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan).

However, the movie opened abroad in 55 countries with $70.6 million for a worldwide total of $101.2 million this weekend.

Wall Street analysts predicted that Disney would end up losing tens of millions of dollars. On Friday, Evercore Partners analyst Alan Gould estimated a $165 million loss.

“If you just take the domestic number, it’s not a very pretty picture,” said Paul Dergarabedian, analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “But if you look at the worldwide opening weekend of a hundred million dollars, that’s pretty solid.”

“We would have hoped for more, considering the larger economics of the film, but are still encouraged with how it’s been received by audiences that have seen it and hope to see that generate positive word of mouth for the balance of the run,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution.

Disney executives also pointed out that domestic revenues for John Carter jumped 25% from opening day Friday until Saturday. This was an indication, they sayd, that moviegoers are recommending the film to friends.

John Carter received 49% favorable notices of the 170 reviews gathered on the Rottentomatoes.com film critic site. Audiences gave the movie a “B+” in polling by survey firm CinemaScore.

In general, domestic business at the movies increased again over the same period last year. Total North American revenues reached $140.5 million, up 8.7% from the same weekend in 2011, Hollywood.com said. Domestic revenues have just exceeded $2 billion so far this year, which is 18% more than the same period a year ago.

Ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at United States and Canadian theaters were released by Hollywood.com. Final domestic figures are scheduled for release Monday.

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