(Photo by Diyah Pera/©Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Zac Efron Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Zac Efron was the prince of the late-2000s musical with the Certified Fresh Hairspray and, of course, the High School Musical franchise, which by its third and final entry had graduated from the TV space and into a full-fledged theatrical experience. Senior Year and Hairspray were big money makers, and so was Efron’s first post-High School movie, 17 Again. Critics were just on the edge of giving it a Fresh rating, but the transformation comedy certainly appealed to his fan base, and set Efron up for a future as lead man in films.

After getting the requisite Nicholas Sparks adaptation out of the way (The Lucky One), Efron spent several years building up a dramatic resume, though only Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles connected with critics. After the surprise box office success of the Certified Fresh Neighbors, Efron found a new career tack in raunch comedies, letting loose in the likes of Dirty Grandpa, Baywatch, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and The Beach Bum.

Efron starred in 2019’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a Ted Bundy biopic that coincided with the 30th anniversary of his execution. And Efron returned in 2020 on a much lighter note, voicing the ascot-less Fred in Scoob!, the latest in the venerable Scooby-Doo franchise. Jinkies! Now it’s time to look back on all Zac Efron movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#23

New Year's Eve (2011)
7%

#23
Adjusted Score: 12117%
Critics Consensus: Shallow, sappy, and dull, New Year's Eve assembles a star-studded cast for no discernible purpose.
Synopsis: Intertwining stories promise love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and more for a number of New Yorkers on the celebrated night.... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#22

Dirty Grandpa (2016)
11%

#22
Adjusted Score: 18178%
Critics Consensus: Like a Werther's Original dropped down a sewer drain, Dirty Grandpa represents the careless fumbling of a classic talent that once brought pleasure to millions.
Synopsis: Uptight lawyer Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is one week away from marrying his boss's controlling daughter, putting him on the... [More]
Directed By: Dan Mazer

#21

Baywatch (2017)
17%

#21
Adjusted Score: 35315%
Critics Consensus: Baywatch takes its source material's jiggle factor to R-rated levels, but lacks the original's campy charm -- and leaves its charming stars flailing in the shallows.
Synopsis: When a dangerous crime wave hits the beach, the legendary Mitch Buchannon leads his elite squad of lifeguards on a... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#20

The Lucky One (2012)
20%

#20
Adjusted Score: 25971%
Critics Consensus: While it provides the requisite amount of escapist melodrama, The Lucky One ultimately relies on too many schmaltzy clichés to appeal to anyone not already familiar with the Nicholas Sparks formula.
Synopsis: U.S. Marine Sgt. Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) returns home from his third tour of duty in Iraq with the one... [More]
Directed By: Scott Hicks

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 26673%
Critics Consensus: Formulaic and unfunny, That Awkward Moment wastes a charming cast on a contrived comedy that falls short of the date movies it seems to be trying to subvert.
Synopsis: Best pals Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) indulge in casual flings and revel in their carefree, unattached lives.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Gormican

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 32306%
Critics Consensus: Zac Efron gives it his all, but Charlie St. Cloud is too shallow and cloying to offer much more than eye candy for his fans.
Synopsis: Adored by his single mother and his little brother Sam, Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron) is an accomplished sailor and... [More]
Directed By: Burr Steers

#17
Adjusted Score: 47438%
Critics Consensus: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates benefits from the screwball premise and the efforts of a game cast, even if the sporadically hilarious results don't quite live up to either.
Synopsis: Mike and Dave Stangle are young, adventurous, fun-loving brothers who tend to get out of control at family gatherings. When... [More]
Directed By: Jake Szymanski

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 43096%
Critics Consensus: We Are Your Friends boasts magnetic stars and glimmers of insight, but they're lost in a clichéd coming-of-age story as programmed as the soundtrack's beats.
Synopsis: Young Cole Carter (Zac Efron) dreams of hitting the big time as a Hollywood disc jockey, spending his days and... [More]
Directed By: Max Joseph

#15

The Paperboy (2012)
45%

#15
Adjusted Score: 49537%
Critics Consensus: Trashy and melodramatic, The Paperboy is enlivened by a strong cast and a steamy, sordid plot, but it's uneven and often veers into camp.
Synopsis: In 1969 Florida, reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) returns to his hometown to write a story about death-row inmate Hillary... [More]
Directed By: Lee Daniels

#14

Parkland (2013)
50%

#14
Adjusted Score: 54597%
Critics Consensus: Although its decision to look at John F. Kennedy's assassination through uncommon perspectives is refreshing, Parkland never achieves the narrative cohesion its subject deserves.
Synopsis: Chaotic events take place at Parkland Hospital in Dallas after the attack that assassinated President John F. Kennedy.... [More]
Directed By: Peter Landesman

#13

At Any Price (2012)
51%

#13
Adjusted Score: 53657%
Critics Consensus: At Any Price features a terrific performance from Dennis Quaid, and it offers further evidence of Ramin Bahrani's unique eye for detail, but film is weighted down by an overly melodramatic story.
Synopsis: An ambitious Iowa seed farmer (Dennis Quaid) tries to get his resentful son (Zac Efron) interested in the family business,... [More]
Directed By: Ramin Bahrani

#12

SCOOB! (2020)
48%

#12
Adjusted Score: 56981%
Critics Consensus: Scoob! is fun enough for youthful viewers and some hardcore fans, but never quite solves the mystery of why audiences shouldn't watch old episodes instead.
Synopsis: With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever --... [More]
Directed By: Tony Cervone

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 59393%
Critics Consensus: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is cute and funny enough but the moral simplicity of the book gets lost with the zany Hollywood production values.
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Ted (Zac Efron) lives in a place virtually devoid of nature; no flowers or trees grow in the town... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

#10
Adjusted Score: 64949%
Critics Consensus: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile often transcends its narrative limitations through sheer force of Zac Efron's compulsively watchable performance.
Synopsis: A chronicle of the crimes of Ted Bundy from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, who refused to believe the... [More]
Directed By: Joe Berlinger

#9

The Beach Bum (2019)
57%

#9
Adjusted Score: 63206%
Critics Consensus: The role of a lifetime for Matthew McConaughey, The Beach Bum is set apart by Harmony Korine's distinctive style, but that isn't always enough to offset the unfocused story.
Synopsis: Moondog is a fun-loving, pot-smoking, beer-drinking writer who lives life on his own terms in Florida. If he can put... [More]
Directed By: Harmony Korine

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 75728%
Critics Consensus: The Greatest Showman tries hard to dazzle the audience with a Barnum-style sense of wonder -- but at the expense of its complex subject's far more intriguing real-life story.
Synopsis: Growing up in the early 1800s, P.T. Barnum displays a natural talent for publicity and promotion, selling lottery tickets by... [More]
Directed By: Michael Gracey

#7

17 Again (2009)
56%

#7
Adjusted Score: 61781%
Critics Consensus: Though it uses a well-worn formula, 17 Again has just enough Zac Efron charm to result in a harmless, pleasurable teen comedy.
Synopsis: Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) was a high-school basketball star with a bright future, but he threw it all away to... [More]
Directed By: Burr Steers

#6
Adjusted Score: 75833%
Critics Consensus: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising may not be strictly necessary, but it still wrings a surprising amount of humor from a recycled premise with a distaff twist.
Synopsis: Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 61948%
Critics Consensus: High School Musical is brazenly saccharine, but it makes up for it with its memorable show tunes, eye-popping choreography, and appealing cast.
Synopsis: Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), the star athlete at a small-town high school, falls for nerdy beauty Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#4
Adjusted Score: 67873%
Critics Consensus: It won't win many converts, but High School Musical 3 is bright, energetic, and well-crafted.
Synopsis: Amid preparations for a basketball championship, prom, and graduation, sweethearts Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) vow... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#3

Neighbors (2014)
73%

#3
Adjusted Score: 81521%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of bawdy humor evenly spread between its well-matched stars, Neighbors earns its R rating -- and filmgoers' laughs.
Synopsis: New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) move to the suburbs when they welcome an infant daughter into... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 82100%
Critics Consensus: Surprisingly better than its predecessor, High School Musical 2 returns to enchant tweens with its snappy songs, wicked dance moves, and peppy spirit.
Synopsis: During summer vacation, Troy (Zac Efron) gets a job at Sharpay's (Ashley Tisdale) resort but doesn't realize she has an... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#1

Hairspray (2007)
91%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100574%
Critics Consensus: Hairspray is an energetic, wholly entertaining musical romp; a fun Summer movie with plenty of heart. Its contagious songs will make you want to get up and start dancing.
Synopsis: In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) auditions for a spot on "The Corny Collins Show" and wins.... [More]
Directed By: Adam Shankman

This week in streaming, we’ve got enough James Bond movies to have yourself a little 007 marathon, a couple of Certified Fresh indies, and one summer blockbuster that tore up the box office last year, plus more. See below for the full list.

James Bond movies free on Amazon Prime

Classic James Bond is all the rage this week on Amazon Prime, where several of 007’s most iconic adventures are available to stream for free. Eight of the franchise’s most famous films, including Dr. No, Goldfinger, Licence to Kill, and Octopussy, have been released, so you can have yourself a little marathon.


Dr. No

95%

Goldfinger

99%

Thunderball

87%

License to Kill

78%

For Your Eyes Only

72%

You Only Live Twice

73%

The World Is Not Enough

52%

Octopussy

43%


The Hunger Games
84%

In a dystopian North America, a tyrannical government stages an annual televised gladiatorial competition, in which young people are selected to fight to the death. When Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her old friend Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) enter the fray, they team up to survive, and their alliance poses a threat to the established order.

Available now on: Netflix


Bully
85%

A documentary that chronicles the adverse effects of harassment on five students and their families, the Certified Fresh Bully is a topical examination of an important issue.

Available now on: Netflix



This Must Be the Place
67%

This Must Be The Place stars Sean Penn as a washed-up rock star who goes on a road trip to find a man who humiliated his late father.

Available now on: Netflix


Dr Seuss’ The Lorax
54%

Ted (Zac Efron) is a youngster who ventures beyond the seemingly idyllic confines of Thneedville and discovers that greed has led to deforestation, despite the warnings of the diminutive orange tree defender the Lorax (Danny DeVito).

Available now on: Netflix

We’ve got another sparse week on home video, but it’s at least bolstered by one outstanding documentary of a cultural icon. Beyond that, we’ve got a whopping three book adaptations and a historical epic actioner, so see below for the full list!



The Lorax

54%

The Lorax made some headlines upon its release, due to what some considered a heavy-handed environmentalist message and what others considered a marketing strategy that directly contradicted the film’s central theme. For what it’s worth, the film hewed fairly close to the original Dr. Seuss book, expanding on the story of the mass logging of Truffula Trees to depict what the young boy, named Ted (Zac Efron) for the movie, would do with the last remaining Truffula seed entrusted to him by the Once-ler. At 55%, The Lorax is enjoyable enough, but the additions made in the big screen adaptation obscure its underlying message a bit more than desired.



Marley

95%

Bob Marley’s renown extends far beyond his genre, as anyone who’s ever lived in a college dorm or traveled anywhere south of the equator will tell you. He’s one of the world’s most famous pop stars, period, and earlier this year, director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play) released what may be the definitive biographical documentary on the man. Made with the blessing of the Marley family and comprised of concert footage, eye-opening interviews, and rare home videos, Marley is both informative and fascinating, and it’s earned a Certified Fresh 95% on the Tomatometer. If you’re looking for an exhaustive and evenhanded portrait of the larger-than-life reggae superstar, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than Marley.



Bel Ami

27%

Robert Pattinson has already made strides to be known as more than simply “the Twilight guy,” but little of what he’s done outside the popular franchise has garnered him much acclaim, and Bel Ami didn’t do much to change that. Based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant and helmed by British stage directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, Bel Ami depicts the rapid social climbing of Georges Duroy (Pattinson), a former soldier who becomes one of Paris’s most successful men by virtue of his relationships with several powerful mistresses. Critics weren’t too keen on the film, noting that the story felt rushed and that Pattinson wasn’t entirely convincing in the role. At 28% on the Tomatometer, Bel Ami might provide a soapy fix, but not much more.



Blue Like Jazz

39%

Blue Like Jazz is possibly most notable for the fact that it raised a significant portion of its production budget from a Kickstarter fundraiser, but for all of its plucky grassroots origins, it managed only mixed reviews from critics. Based on Donald Miller’s semi-autobiographical bestseller of the same name, the film chronicles the self-discovery of a Christian Texas native who moves to attend a liberal college in the Pacific Northwest and begins to critically examine his own spirituality. At 43%, Blue Like Jazz is earnest and well-intentioned in its portrayal of existential struggles, but most critics had problems with the film’s technical merits and found it overall too tame to hit home with its major themes.



Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

69%

If Seediq Bale at first appears to be yet another Asian historical epic about resistance to Japanese occupation, there is one major difference here: rarely have such films covered the era from a Taiwanese perspective. Set in 1930 during what is known as the Wushe Incident, Seediq Bale depicts the major uprising of the indigenous Taiwanese people known as the Seediq as a direct result of Japanese oppression in the region; the brutal response of the Japanese military drew criticism and led to reforms in their dealings with aboriginal peoples. Though few reviews are available for Seediq Bale, it currently sports a 73% Tomatometer, with most critics calling it an ambitious, visceral depiction, even if it might be a bit too unrelentingly brutal for some.



This weekend, Hollywood studios suffered failures of every kind with their new releases. The pricey actioner John Carter debuted in second place putting it far from where it needed to be to recover its enormous costs, the horror entry Silent House scored the lowest audience grade of the year, and Eddie Murphy’s latest comedy A Thousand Words earned the worst reviews of 2012 from film critics. Instead, moviegoers once again made the animated comedy The Lorax the most popular film in North America and the overall box office continued to beat out last year’s levels, although by a narrow margin.

Easily leading all movies in the marketplace, Universal held onto the number one spot with the Dr. Seuss toon The Lorax which slipped an acceptable 44% to an estimated $39.1M. The PG-rated hit averaged a sensational $10,430 in its second weekend from 3,746 theaters and continues to play to families and beyond. 3D and IMAX ticket prices have helped along the way and on Sunday, Lorax became the highest-grossing film of 2012 after just ten days of release with a cume of $122M. Breaking the $200M barrier should be no problem for the $70M production.

Landing in second place in its opening weekend was the mega-budgeted 3D sci-fi epic John Carter with an estimated $30.6M from 3,749 theaters for a $8,163 average. The gross itself was not all that bad for a sci-fi actioner releasing at this time of year. But it was far from what was needed to make a project with such a mammoth cost become a financial winner. Conservative estimates put the production cost alone at $250M while some industry insiders put it higher. Add in a lavish global marketing and distribution push and the total cost to make and release this PG-13 adventure came to nearly $400M. That eye-popping level is often reached by Hollywood tentpoles but with known brands like Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, and Harry Potter which result in billion-dollar global grossers. Last summer saw all three of those franchises come out with their first-ever 3D installments and each reached ten digits at the worldwide box office.

Disney’s risky investment featured Pixar guru Andrew Stanton directing his first live-action film after his wildly successful toons Finding Nemo and WALL-E. The source material was a century-old novel which is cherished only in the hardcore sci-fi world and virtually unknown elsewhere. Reviews were mixed at best and the trailers and TV spots failed to generate much excitement with a broader action audience. Females had incredibly low interest and there was no starpower to pull in mainstream crowds. Overall, John Carter from the start had little in its arsenal to become a giant hit making the insanely large budget hard to justify.

Of course, international markets drive global box office and 3D action films are tops among those that work well overseas so the studio is counting on moviegoers around the world to show up. Carter‘s international debut was indeed impressive with an estimated $70.6M this weekend from 51 markets. All major territories bowed day and date except for China and Japan which are sure to contribute solid numbers in the months ahead.

In North America, John Carter played mostly to adult men. Studio research showed that 63% was male and 59% was over 25. IMAX 3D represented 16% of the gross ($4.9M) and overall, 64% ($19.6M) came from 3D screens which was an encouraging ratio by today’s standards. The CinemaScore grade was a decent B+. Friday kicked off slowly with $9.8M while Saturday enjoyed a healthy 25% boost. Sunday is estimated to drop by only 31% to $8.5M.

Other effects-driven action films released in the spring have opened in the $30M range like 10,000 BC ($35.9M), Constantine ($29.8M), The Scorpion King ($36.1M), and Jumper ($27.4M). However, none carried the towering budget of John Carter and none had 3D surcharges. Disney even released its red planet pic Mission to Mars this very weekend in 2000 to the tune of $22.9M which at today’s 2D ticket prices would put it ahead of Carter. Last year this weekend, the studio had a costly bomb with Mars Needs Moms which bowed to a pitiful $6.9M weekend and $2,218 average. Chances are the company will stay away from opening Mars movies in March for the time being.

Those young men that didn’t show up for the Mars flick were busy partying it up with the raunchy comedy Project X which held up surprisingly well in its second weekend with an estimated $11.6M representing a 45% decline. With a Friday-to-Saturday drop on opening weekend and lackluster exit polls, the Warner Bros. title was expected to fall harder the way these types of films do. Instead, the target audience was uninterested in the three new offerings and showed up for this one which has now banked $40.1M in just ten days. Project X cost only $12M to produce and should finish with a promising $65M or so, joining Chronicle and The Devil Inside as low-cost found-footage pics that scored big bucks this year from young adult audiences.

Audiences hated the ending and gave a dismal F CinemaScore grade to the new horror pic Silent House which debuted in a tie for fourth place with an estimated $7M. The Open Road release averaged a weak $3,300 from 2,124 locations and saw no growth in sales on Saturday from opening day. The R-rated chiller starring Elizabeth Olsen as a young woman terrorized in her family cabin earned mixed reviews but featured a twist ending that ticket buyers were not at all entertained by. CinemaScore grades are often affected by the mood that polled moviegoers are in immediately after walking out of a theater so many vote on how satisfied they were with the final parts of the film. Devil Inside from January also met with an F before collapsing 76% in the second weekend.

Also collecting an estimated $7M this weekend was former number one Act of Valor which fell by 48% which was the largest decline in the top ten. Relativity has taken in a stellar $56.1M for the low-budget action film.

Eddie Murphy’s latest career embarrassment came in the form of his new comedy A Thousand Words which tanked in its debut grossing only $6.4M, according to estimates. The Paramount release about a fast-talking agent that must refrain from speaking or else he will die (yes, that’s the plot) failed to excite moviegoers and averaged a weak $3,360 from 1,890 theaters. The PG-13 film was eviscerated by critics and had the rare distinction of earning a Rotten Tomatoes score of 0%. Postponed for years, the DreamWorks production cost $40M to produce.

If there was any good news for Murphy it was that Words beat the openings of his recent box office disasters Meet Dave and Imagine That — both PG-rated summer pics — which bowed to $5.2M and $5.5M, respectively. This would be the only thing that could count as good news. The audience breakdown was 55% female and 61% 25 and older while the CinemaScore was a B-.

Universal’s action hit Safe House followed with an estimated $5M, off 33%, for a $115.8M cume with solid legs going into its fifth frame. The Sony smash The Vow also held up well dropping only 34% to an estimated $4M raising the total to $117.6M. Channing Tatum aims for his second number one hit in as many months with Friday’s release of 21 Jump Street.

Reese Witherspoon’s action-romance This Means War is another film that audiences continue to flock to. The Fox title wasn’t super strong out of the gate but has been posting good holds each week. This weekend saw a 33% dip to an estimated $3.8M lifting the sum to $46.9M. Yet another action title followed as Journey 2: The Mysterious Island collected an estimated $3.7M, off 44%, giving the Warner Bros. sequel $90.7M to date.

A pair of indie films enjoyed solid results in their limited debuts. The relationship comedy Friends With Kids opened in 374 theaters and landed in the number 13 spot nationwide with an estimated $2.2M and a good $5,799 average which was third best in the entire Top 20. Starring Maya Rudolph, Kristin Wiig, and Jon Hamm, the R-rated film from Roadside Attractions earned mostly positive reviews.

The Ewan McGregor-Emily Blunt pic Salmon Fishing in the Yemen opened in just 18 locations but took in an estimated $240,000 for a solid $13,333 average. Reviews were generally good for the CBS Films release which played to older women as exit polls showed that the audience was 61% female and 71% over 50. Yemen widens in existing markets Friday and then expands to new markets on the following weekend.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $118M which was up 5% from last year when Battle: Los Angeles opened in the top spot with $35.6M; but down 9% from 2010 when Alice in Wonderland remained at number one with $62.7M.

Universal had cash registers ringing from coast to coast as its 3D animated smash The Lorax blasted past expectations to score the biggest opening of the year by far. The low-budget party film Project X, 2012’s umpteenth overperformer, opened in second place with an impressive haul of its own. The one-two punch sent the North American box office soaring 26% ahead of the same weekend from last year continuing a boom year which has seen long lines at multiplexes.

Surging to an incredible $70.7M this weekend, according to estimates, The Lorax dominated the marketplace with the year’s top opening. It was also the biggest bow for a Dr. Seuss film beating the $55.1M of 2000’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas and overall, the second largest non-sequel animated debut ever trailing just the $74M of 2007’s The Simpsons Movie. That puts Lorax ahead of such recent 3D toons from power players Pixar and DreamWorks as Cars 2 ($66.1M), Kung Fu Panda 2 ($47.7M), Up ($68.1M), and Monsters vs. Aliens ($59.3M) as well as Fox’s Rio ($39.2M) and Universal’s own Despicable Me ($56.4M). It was also the third largest opening in the month of March after Johnny Depp’s colossal 3D hit Alice in Wonderland ($116.1M) which debuted this weekend two years ago during the post-Avatar boom and the 2007 smash 300 ($70.9M).

Lorax indeed played like a sequel bringing in parents familiar with the children’s book and kids interested in a fun and colorful ride. The studio partnered with dozens of corporate brands that provided extra marketing muscle hitting the target audience from every possible direction thereby boosting awareness and excitement by Friday, which was also the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The opening day saw a solid $17.4M in ticket sales but Saturday witnessed a spending surge climbing 80% to an incredible $31.3M. Most films this time of year never come close to that for the entire weekend. Sunday is estimated to drop 30% to $22M. Produced for $70M, Lorax averaged a sensational $18,965 from 3,729 theaters.

The road ahead looks bright for the Danny DeVito-voiced pic which should find its way across the $200M domestic barrier plus solid overseas sales. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the toon a glowing A grade plus there are no major new releases aimed at younger kids until the Snow White film Mirror Mirror at the very end of this new month. The Easter holiday in early April could also provide a boost if the film is still holding on then. Positive word-of-mouth from families should more than offset mixed reviews from critics. It’s been a strong first quarter so far for Universal which already scored number one action hits with Contraband and Safe House.

Another of this year’s low-budget, no-star vehicles had audiences opening their wallets as the party comedy Project X debuted with strength in second place with an estimated $20.8M from 3,055 locations for a solid $6,800 average. The R-rated film about three high schoolers that throw a wildly out of control party played mostly to older teens and young adults and an effective marketing campaign excited the target audience. The MPAA’s rating description was essentially an invitation to high school and college students everywhere as the raunchfest was cited for “crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem – all involving teens.”

Project X cost a mere $12M to produce and Warner Bros. used Hangover producer Todd Philips’ name in the marketing push to ensure that young adults knew they were in for some debauchery, only this time with characters too young to be concerned with getting married. Studio research showed that 67% of the crowd was under 25 while 58% were male. The CinemaScore grade was only a B, reviews were mostly negative, and Saturday sales dipped 6% from opening day so good legs are not expected. However, the modestly priced film will be a moneymaker and has continued the recent trend that has seen young adults come back to the multiplexes for their weekend entertainment.

Falling from its number one ranking last weekend but still holding up moderately well was the military training-video-turned-movie Act of Valor which declined by 44% to an estimated $13.7M. The Relativity release has banked an impressive $45.2M in just ten days and could be headed for a domestic finish of about $75M. Valor cost just $12M to produce and joins other low-cost 2012 hits like Project X, Chronicle, and The Devil Inside. Combined, the four films cost $27M to produce and will end up grossing north of $240M from North America alone. Of course, marketing costs were extra.

Denzel Washington’s CIA thriller Safe House followed with an estimated $7.2M, down only 34%, for a solid $108.2M cume for Universal. The film now ranks as the Oscar winning actor’s third biggest grosser after the $130.2M for his bad guy role in American Gangster and the $115.7M for his good guy role in Remember the Titans. Tyler Perry’s latest pic Good Deeds tumbled 55% to an estimated $7M for a ten-day tally of $25.7M. Look for Lionsgate to end its run with about $38M ranking among his lowest performers.

With lots of kids fleeing to see The Lorax, the adventure hit Journey 2: The Mysterious Island fell harder than before dropping 48% to an estimated $6.9M in its fourth round. Warner Bros. has taken in $85.6M to date and should be able to break $100M domestically. Sony’s romance blockbuster The Vow held up well dropping 39% to an estimated $6.1M boosting the total to $111.7M. The Channing Tatum-Rachel McAdams hit is the top-grossing film of 2012, for now.

Fox’s action-romance This Means War held up well again with an estimated $5.6M, off only 33% giving the Reese Witherspoon vehicle $41.5M to date. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance fell 48% to an estimated $4.7M for $44.9M after 17 days. The Sony sequel is running 53% behind the pace of its 2007 predecessor though admissions are lagging even more since Spirit‘s take includes higher ticket prices and 3D surcharges.

The Weinstein Co. nearly doubled the screen count of its Oscar champ The Artist which found itself in the top ten for the first time in its 15th week of play. But that didn’t mean the silent film connected with a more mainstream crowd. The Best Picture winner added 790 runs and grossed an estimated $3.9M from 1,756 locations for a dull $2,221 average. The estimate included a very optimistic 25% Saturday-to-Sunday decline so final numbers to be reported on Monday may come in lower. Despite the 82% increase in screens, the weekend gross rose just 34% putting the total at $37.1M. Though a low-budget production, The Artist was backed by an extensive and expensive marketing campaign over the past few months that simultaneously targeted consumers as well as industry voters. Adding hundreds of new prints and backing them with national advertising doesn’t come cheap either. A final domestic gross in the $45-50M range may result.

Other Oscar winners tried to parlay statues into extra box office receipts. Original Screenplay champ The Descendants dropped 36% to an estimated $1.4M pushing the total to a hearty $80.5M for Fox Searchlight. It is now 2011’s top-grossing Best Picture nominee released during the most competitive fourth quarter. Hugo, the most expensive of the top contenders and a winner of 5 Oscars, dipped only 14% to an estimated $1.3M for a $71.4M cume to date. Both films lost screens this weekend.

Also shedding a few playdates, but enjoying a healthy 30% surge from last weekend, was Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady with an estimated $900,000. The double winner for Best Actress and Makeup generated more interest from adult audiences and added a bit to The Weinstein Company’s total which is now $27.1M.

The Academy Award winners in the foreign language and documentary categories both expanded to capitalize on the added publicity. Iran’s A Separation added 160 screens and saw its weekend take jump 174% to an estimated $1M for a $3.7M sum and $4,123 average for Sony Classics. The football doc Undefeated expanded from five to 13 theaters and collected an estimated $84,000 giving The Weinstein Co. a $6,485 average and cume of $166,000 early in its run.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $146.7M which was up 28% from last year when Rango opened in the top spot with $38.1M; but down 20% from 2010 when Alice in Wonderland debuted at number one with $116.1M.

This week at the movies, we’ve got an animated eco-parable (The Lorax, with voice work from Zac Efron and Taylor Swift) and a wild party (Project X, starring Thomas Mann and Oliver Cooper). What do the critics have to say?



The Lorax

54%

Delightful as Dr. Seuss’ books are, they aren’t all that long, so it can’t be easy to adapt them to the big screen. The critics say The Lorax sometimes feels padded with action and musical numbers, but on the whole, it’s bright and colorful, and it delivers a solid message about protecting the planet. Ted (Zac Efron) is a youngster who ventures beyond the seemingly idyllic confines of Thneedville and discovers that greed has led to deforestation, despite the warnings of the diminutive orange tree defender the Lorax (Danny DeVito). The pundits say The Lorax does a nice job of capturing the visual style of Seuss’ book, and it contains some solid gags, but it’s also so busy and action-packed that it mostly forgoes the whimsy (and the message) of its source. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down DeVito’s best-reviewed movies).



Project X

28%

Just when you think every idea for a teen party comedy has been exhausted, along comes the mockumetary Project X, which purports to capture the wild goings-on of a particularly raging kegger. Unfortunately, critics say the film is mostly a mean-spirited wallow into areas better explored in Animal House and Superbad. A trio of nerds decides to throw a birthday party in order to increase their social standing; bedlam (and would-be hilarity) ensues. The pundits say Project X might have merited some laughs if it bothered developing its characters, but as it stands, it’s essentially just a string of “outrageous” incidents that test the bounds of good taste.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Finally, props to Zach K for guessing Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds‘ 31 percent Tomatometer, and to Ben C for guessing Gone‘s 11 percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

Awards spain Anna Paquin Countdown Warner Bros. Pixar 79th Golden Globes Awards Britbox Tumblr Mary poppins live action comic books pirates of the caribbean gangster Video Games book adaptation sopranos Comic Book news VOD Sundance TV Paramount Network TV saw new zealand a nightmare on elm street aliens Set visit Year in Review Thanksgiving stop motion 2020 natural history nature Tokyo Olympics Superheroe slashers Podcast video National Geographic period drama Schedule hist leaderboard Holiday See It Skip It adaptation zombies cooking franchise 24 frames LGBTQ Apple TV+ festival USA Network E! Teen archives 21st Century Fox marvel cinematic universe 007 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Avengers San Diego Comic-Con Fall TV American Society of Cinematographers Netflix 2019 dramedy quibi A&E The Walt Disney Company Esquire boxoffice MTV vs. crime dc Tarantino Winners live event television Star Wars movies Disney+ Disney Plus Premiere Dates universal monsters Comic-Con@Home 2021 indie criterion all-time ABC Signature CBS All Access Legendary Rock comic book movie teaser psychological thriller Starz WarnerMedia Comics on TV TCA 2017 japanese Best and Worst rt labs TCA Winter 2020 Rom-Com streaming crossover Box Office cars children's TV fresh X-Men Disney Epix Cannes scary Trophy Talk posters BET cops mob richard e. Grant hispanic heritage month Acorn TV crime drama what to watch cancelled TV shows GLAAD blockbuster 90s Sci-Fi Summer Walt Disney Pictures psycho WGN joker Travel Channel dceu Arrowverse The Walking Dead 73rd Emmy Awards tv talk Nat Geo Marvel Studios SXSW action-comedy social media transformers twilight adventure 71st Emmy Awards royal family true crime TV movies El Rey ESPN marvel comics Lionsgate Binge Guide BBC unscripted Film singing competition Hallmark Christmas movies scene in color dark Pop TV zero dark thirty worst movies AMC Plus Disney Plus black comedy TBS Showtime fast and furious cults king arthur golden globe awards Hear Us Out Grammys Discovery Channel halloween tv festivals Pet Sematary Superheroes RT History Comedy Central Television Academy dragons Apple reviews New York Comic Con medical drama Lifetime 1990s suspense know your critic venice 99% Columbia Pictures debate Tubi movie films godzilla Comedy Captain marvel E3 versus screen actors guild Amazon Prime Video child's play heist movie young adult DC Universe Star Trek Sundance feel good Disney Channel Rocky CNN doctor who breaking bad Crackle Lucasfilm Broadway Peacock Heroines remakes binge revenge documentaries rom-coms Toys rt labs critics edition Ellie Kemper finale stoner SDCC Shudder Academy Awards Election Action HBO Go jurassic park based on movie canceled TV shows diversity comiccon VICE Spectrum Originals romantic comedy Christmas Lifetime Christmas movies scary movies critic resources Super Bowl Classic Film Hallmark Opinion concert Creative Arts Emmys Spring TV cancelled halloween Watching Series Mary Poppins Returns The CW 20th Century Fox Instagram Live rotten Shondaland sequel reboot FX on Hulu Turner aapi cartoon toronto Syfy serial killer First Look 45 best thriller christmas movies Nickelodeon elevated horror renewed TV shows 2015 sag awards classics Mindy Kaling mockumentary king kong Sony Pictures Universal Pictures FX OWN wonder woman Food Network 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Photos strong female leads Wes Anderson book science fiction die hard biopic TV Land NBA comic legend parents Mystery Mudbound blaxploitation french sequels stand-up comedy FOX Emmy Nominations disaster superman Horror witnail Cosplay mutant HFPA Ghostbusters Mary Tyler Moore TV renewals Freeform art house Quiz Writers Guild of America Film Festival toy story new star wars movies mission: impossible MSNBC sports Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Tomatazos miniseries Biopics Masterpiece deadpool australia Vudu PlayStation BBC America spider-man VH1 political drama game of thrones video on demand Fantasy Turner Classic Movies monster movies vampires new york dreamworks Paramount Plus genre Neflix Musicals PaleyFest Trivia DirecTV History cats zombie 2021 Sundance Now supernatural satire documentary Trailer Emmys south america Apple TV Plus Nominations Pride Month kong FXX CMT cinemax cancelled TV series docudrama blockbusters Calendar popular Reality Competition Marvel Television ABC technology werewolf Kids & Family italian prank Television Critics Association 2017 Family Logo Pacific Islander justice league Black History Month police drama 72 Emmy Awards trailers ghosts golden globes Baby Yoda Musical 93rd Oscars international Polls and Games ratings GoT Amazon foreign spy thriller A24 anthology historical drama comics TCM facebook slasher independent MCU YouTube Premium Certified Fresh football olympics harry potter Rocketman worst Funimation PBS President crime thriller IFC Holidays screenings TCA Awards YouTube Red mcc YouTube Valentine's Day CBS 2016 DC streaming service hollywood Spike OneApp Infographic composers scorecard Martial Arts HBO Brie Larson AMC Character Guide Chernobyl LGBT Pop IMDb TV laika IFC Films batman comic book movies james bond Marathons Amazon Prime Dark Horse Comics hidden camera japan romance SundanceTV Music ABC Family kaiju DC Comics Cartoon Network nfl talk show anime The Purge trophy spanish canceled Song of Ice and Fire Marvel Universal superhero chucky latino Bravo high school Hulu The Witch Fox News First Reviews ViacomCBS ID Paramount Ovation travel Adult Swim TNT streaming movies USA razzies directors CW Seed Pirates NYCC BAFTA Oscars APB cancelled television indiana jones lord of the rings boxing YA obituary award winner 2018 Interview Prime Video animated Drama NBC TruTV Winter TV politics Image Comics ITV rotten movies we love basketball theme song spanish language Disney streaming service Fargo adenture Netflix Christmas movies target BBC One women sitcom HBO Max rt archives black free movies jamie lee curtis emmy awards The Arrangement Fox Searchlight telelvision critics discovery GIFs RT21 Red Carpet DGA Stephen King game show series Elton John green book Tags: Comedy Reality spider-verse Country TV One Sneak Peek docuseries biography Alien dogs 4/20 war nbcuniversal space Women's History Month TLC kids robots Crunchyroll TIFF Endgame TCA asian-american Awards Tour Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Western comedies dexter Amazon Studios hispanic casting Extras spinoff Animation name the review The Academy Black Mirror BET Awards Exclusive Video