A Forgotten Zac Efron/Taylor Swift Toon Hit Currently Stands Between Netflix And


Save for Illumination’s The Lorax, every movie (The Old Guard, Fatal Affair, etc.) or TV show (Cursed, Warrior Nun, etc.) currently in Netflix

‘s top-ten is a Netflix original.

Since I don’t have any Tenet box office numbers to dissect, I guess I’ll note a certain oddity in today’s “most-watched” movies list on Netflix. Folks seem to enjoy these and it gives me a chance to reminisce about some older, often forgotten blockbusters and bombs from a prior generation. Illumination’s The Lorax is currently ranked number seven this morning, as the Illumination toon came to the service earlier this month and has been hanging around the top ten ever since. But this morning, it is the only title in the top ten that isn’t a Netflix original.

Beyond its “stress-free babysitter” appeal, the 2012 Universal

blockbuster by default the biggest “Hollywood” movie to enter the service in the last two weeks. As a (very general) rule, the biggest “this was a big deal or wanted to be a big deal in theaters” third-party titles tend to rise to the top, which partially explains the recent popularity of the likes of How Do You Know, Patriots Day and The Help. The Lorax, an animated adaptation of the Dr. Suess classic starring Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny De Vito, opened with a then-stunning $70 million Fri-Sun frame from a $17.5 million Friday (a whopping 4x multiplier) in March of 2012.

That was (at the time) the biggest toon debut for anything that wasn’t a Pixar flick or a Shrek sequel. While it wasn’t terribly leggy, it did earn $212 million domestic and $345 million worldwide on a $70 million budget right before Illumination was a brand unto itself. Six years later, after four Despicable Me/Minions flicks and two blockbuster originals (Secret Life of Pets and Sing), The Grinch would parlay both Suess fandom and the Illumination brand for a $267 million domestic (from a $67 million Fri-Sun debut) and $527 million global gross. The Grinch was pretty popular on Netflix for a run as well.

The Lorax isn’t a milestone of the form, but it is a surprisingly cynical adaptation of the author’s famous environmentalist screed, one which delves into the whole “ethical consumption under capitalism” debate. Granted, it’s one of any number of socially-progressive blockbusters which, judging by the company that made it and the populace that made it a hit, played to deaf or oblivious ears. Regardless, it’s one of the better feature-length adaptations of a Suess book as all three recent toons (including Blue Sky’s Horton Hears a Who which earned $298 million global in 2008) are better than Jim Carrey’s…

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