‘The Lorax’ Smacks Down Newcomers
By Jason Guerrasio
The strong numbers at the box office continue this weekend (up 6% over 2011) thanks to Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” retaining the reins at #1, but it was a massive DUD in regards to new releases.
Every Sunday this column will decode which actors won the weekend, breaking down the attention the big-screen celebs got in the last five days. So let’s get it started!
Zac Efron / Taylor Swift / Danny DeVito – “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”
Thanks to a weak selection of new releases “The Lorax” had no trouble returning as the box office champ. Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and DeVito did their part two weeks ago to get the word out, including a hilarious appearance on the Today show by DeVito, but this week the attention turned to the film’s balance between its corporate marketing and the eco-safe message of the film. Obviously, it’s not affecting the film at the turnstiles, having now taken in $122 million in North America alone.
Taylor Kitsch — “John Carter”
This $250 million 3D sci-fi turned out to be a doozy of a dud with about $29 million this weekend, but what about its face Taylor Kitsch? The “Friday Night Lights” star is looking to launch into movies and though Carter does raise his celebrity regardless of what this film makes, it’s the next blockbuster he’s starring in, “Battleship” and his role as one of the leads in the next Oliver Stone film, “Savages,” that will show if Kitsch has got staying power in Hollywood.
Eddie Murphy — “A Thousand Words”
Eddie Murphy teaming again with the director that gave us “Norbit” and “Meet Dave” is never a good sign (Seriously, how is this combination of talent even allowed to keep making movies???). That the film has been sitting on the shelf since 2008 isn’t a great sign either. With the little press Murphy does do, the only thing that has generated buzz for the actor are a weeks-old rumor on the blogsphere that he’s dating Toni Braxton and that he’s starring in the first 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes of 2012. In short, not the “comeback” Murphy was imagining.
Elizabeth Olsen — “Silent House”
Elizabeth Olsen – the breakout girl of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, predominantly for her role in the cult thriller “Martha Marcy May Marlene” – now has the film she made before “Martha” out in theaters. The indie horror based on the 2010 Uruguayan original, “Silent House,” which was filmed in one continual shot throughout the whole film, once more shows the talents of the 23-year-old. And having lived her childhood observing the attention brought on her sisters, she continues to stay humble and relish the “other Olsen sister” label. Her indie darling status will only grow with Sundance 2012 titles on the horizon.
Jessica Westfeldt / Jon Hamm/ Megan Fox / Kristen Wiig / Adam Scott++ – “Friends With Kids”
This indie doesn’t have one big name star but 8! Starting with the writer-director-star Jessica Westfeldt, there’s also her husband Jon Hamm, Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox and Edward Burns. The film was the go-to for the over 30 crowd this weekend and was promoted as such with an EW profile for Scott and Westfeld profiled in The New York Times Magazine.
The Winners Are…
Efron, Swift and DeVito trounced everyone but we’ll also give some props to Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Olsen. “Silent House” only took in $7 million this weekend but it’s likely the film would have done much less if Olsen’s star power wasn’t behind it. And with the news this week that Ashley Olsen will retire from acting, Lizzie distancing herself from her famous twin sisters will come even sooner.
You heard it here first.
Jason Guerrasio is the editor of the Tribeca Film Institute, former managing editor of Filmmaker Magazine and has contributed to LA Weekly and other premiere destinations. Follow him at twitter.com/jasonguerrasio