Will Dr. Seuss’ "The Lorax” Sell Environmentalism as It Breaks Box Office Records?

YouTube/Screen capture -- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, a crank environmentalist.

Shocking Hollywood, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax debuted this past weekend to a whopping $70.7 million, marking the biggest movie opening in 2012 and coming in second only to Toy Story 3 for animated feature premieres. It even earned $20 million more than anticipated, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film was released on March 2, the author Theodor Seuss's birthday -- and it's ironic to celebrate his message about conspicuous consumption with a blockbuster. The 1971 book, not his biggest seller, may be now.

The story tells of a boy’s search for the Truffula tree and encounter with a forest creature that protects nature. It's been under fire from all sides -- for changing up the story to add a love interest, for hawking of Mazda cars, and as evidence of Hollywood brainwashing kids with liberal bias.

A Treehugger posting explains how a school got the film studio to dial up the environmentalism on its website and link to a classroom tool for further discussion.

A less offensive and more fitting promotional tie-in to The Lorax was a National Parks campaign.

The grumpy yet appealing Lorax who fights to protect the environment is voiced by Danny DeVito, who frankly didn't bring the masses to the theaters. Most likely it was Taylor Swift, as the girl who yearns for trees in a plastic world, who drove girls to theaters—70 percent of The Lorax moviegoers were parents and kids under 12 and most were female.

The 3D film opens around the world next weekend and is poised to be a global smash. The international trailer (above) is much more on eco-target than the US trailer.

© My Natural Greenpoint Brands -- "The Lorax" eco-friendly stuffed toy by My Natural.

Hopefully, the movie is planting green seeds and selling copies of The Lorax book. Of course, there are a few stuffed Lorax toys on the market to be cuddled by a new generation, too.

While purchasing more "Thneeds" is counter to the philosophy of Dr. Seuss and The Lorax, there is a eco-friendly version of the plush creature that's available at Target. The My Natural plush is made with unbleached, unprocessed cotton, colored with non-toxic, low-impact dyes and with recycled fibers. The manufacturing process also reduces waste by using less heat, energy and water. As a result, it’s not quite as orange as the neon film version.

So despite The Lorax detractors and distractions, Seuss’s 40-year-old tale is finally a hit, and unfortunately still relevant.

Tags: Consumerism | Deforestation | Movies

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