Box Office Preview: Seuss gets green with 'Lorax'

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By PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," the beloved author's nod to the environment, should grow a leading $45 million-plus at the domestic box office this weekend as the animated Universal release sprouts on 3,728 screens, including 269 IMAX locations.

Featuring the voices of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, the PG-rated family film will follow in the footsteps of 2000's "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," which opened with $55.1 million, 2003's "Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat," which had a $38.3 million debut, and 2008's "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!," with a $45 million opening weekend. "The Lorax" opens on the birthday of Dr. Seuss, who would have turned 108 this year.

Warner Bros.' debuts its R-rated teen comedy "Project X" from producer Todd Phillips, director of the two "Hangover" films. A mid- to high-teens gross is likely for this mid- to high-teens gross-out comedy about a bunch of high-school kids who throw a massive birthday party in order to enhance their social status.

Relativity Media's "Act of Valor," starring active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs, raided last weekend's box office with a better-than-expected $24.7 million. The R-rated action film has been winning the midweek box office battle and should have a solid second-weekend gross in the $15 million range, with total domestic revenue near $50 million by Sunday night.

"Tyler Perry's Good Deeds" from Lionsgate will continue to benefit from Perry's loyal fan base and should earn around $10 million in its second weekend of release and approach $30 million by the end of the weekend.

Warner Bros.' "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, has been the family film of choice for the past three weeks and enters its fourth weekend with nearly $80 million in 3-D-powered bucks. But it may run into some resistance for a top-five slot in sub $10 million territory from Denzel Washington in Universal's R-rated "Safe House," which should cross the $100 million mark by Sunday night.

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Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of Hollywood.com and provides box office analysis for The Associated Press.

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