41 years after Dr. Seuss wrote this story, the Lorax is back, this time on the big screen as an animated 3-D musical comedy film. The movie is already a big hit, grossing more than $125 million in its first two weeks. According to Box Office Mojo, this is the second best opening for a movie concerned with environmental issues after Avatar. Yet, as some critics would claim, it should not be considered a “green” movie at all, given its massive use for commercial purposes.
The movie has nearly 70 corporate and nonprofit sponsors, including HP, Comcast, DoubleTree by Hilton hotels, IHOP, and Mazda. These sponsorships mean that your chances of seeing this little furry creature outside the theatre are quite high these days, whether it is on Seventh Generation’s diapers, on IHOP’s menu (how about Truffula chip whole wheat pancakes?), or an ad for the Mazda CX-5, the “Truffula tree friendly car”. While some people believe these sponsorships would cause Dr. Seuss to roll in his grave (actually it’s not possible as he was cremated and his ashes were scattered), others believe this is a legitimate use of a great movie to promote green products. So who is right and who is wrong here?
First, let’s look at it from the studio’s perspective. Apparently for them these sorts of tie-ins are essential especially when it comes to children’s animated films. Thom Geier, senior editor at Entertainment Weekly toldCNN.com that “without added revenue from movie-themed toys, fast-food tie-in deals, DVDs and related books, family-friendly fare won’t get made.” Universal Pictures added that they tried to look for partners who provided some sort of a good environmental choice for consumers. I guess it would be naïve of anyone to expect the studios to act differently, although I’m curious to know what so green about Truffula chip pancakes at IHOP. Somehow you get the feeling Universal was a bit flexible with its environmental criteria for sponsors, if there was one in the first place.
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Originally published on Triple Pundit, republished with kind permission.