In another round of bad news for John Carter, The Lorax opened to $70 Million this weekend,meaning that Andrew Stanton‘s sci-fi opus is going to have to perform big if it hopes to open to number one next weekend. Project X, done on the relative cheap, also had a great opening if the film was as cheap as the filmmakers said it was. Check out the numbers below.

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
$70,700,000 $18,960 $70,700,000
2 Project X $20,775,000 $6,800 $20,775,000
3  Act of Valor $13,700,000 (-44.0%) $4,487 $45,239,000
4 Safe House $7,200,000 (-34.1%) $2,820 $108,200,000
5 Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds $7,000,000 (-55.1%) $3,283 $25,745,000
6 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island $6,925,000 (-48.3%) $2,263 $85,611,000
7  The Vow $6,100,000 (-38.5%) $2,159 $111,712,000
8 This Means War $5,625,000 (-33.2%) $2,402 $41,464,000
9 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance $4,700,000 (-47.8%) $1,890 $44,881,000
10 The Artist $3,900,000 (+34.2%) $2,221 $37,088,000

Before getting into everything else, it’s worth noting that The Artist added about 1,000 screens this weekend, and the result – after winning the best picture Oscar is a modest increase. In what amounts to winning the battle, but not the war, this big win did not translate to box office at any stage of the process. Whereas last year’s The King Speech went on to gross nearly $140 Million. I talked about this with Devin Faraci recently, and it seems that this is the sort of win that becomes instantly forgettable.

The Lorax exceeded expectations in all ways, and that has a lot to do with a lack of competition, the time period since there was a kids movie, adn the Imax and 3-D effect. Such a total should mean the film gets to $200 domestic at least, which is good news all around for the film, which had some shots taken at it early on. Though most parents I’ve talked to found the film boring, it’s got the Dr. Seuss stamp of approval, and isn’t The Cat in the Hat.

The question with Project X is: how front loaded is it? The Friday to Saturday drop wasn’t that bad – though Sunday was a loss – which means that it could still do some business next weekend. More likely is that it tops out around $40-$50 all in, which – if the film cost the $12 Million they said makes it a minor win. But it’s the sort of win that’s not great for anyone involved. I think Warners was hoping for a phenomenon, but with some of the kickback about the film’s morality perhaps they’re happy it has become a talking point about morality.

Act of Valor opened big, but there’s been nothing else that memorable about it. Expect a $70 Million all-in total, if not a little before. Safe House held strong, Tyler Perry did not. Journey 2 should limp to $100, though star Josh Hutcherson now has the Hunger Games franchise to keep him busy, so maybe he’ll opt out of the third.

Reality Check: My predictions were low on Lorax and a little high on Project X. Children’s films are often hard to gauge enthusiasms on in tracking simply because the market can’t ask 6-12-year-olds what they think. I knew if was going to be big, but this exceeded everyone’s predictions by a lot. On that note, many were saying high teens for Project X, and it went above that, so there’s that. I went a little high on Journey 2, because I didn’t factor in the loss of many 3-D Imax screens to Lorax. It took the hit, while Safe House held stronger than I thought because it didn’t have any competition.

What did you watch this weekend (me: Game of Thrones)?