Looks like that aggressive ad campaign did its job after all: The Lorax earned $70.7 million this weekend, giving it the biggest opening weekend so far this year. In second place, Project X, with a comparatively unimpressive $20.8 million. Should've cast Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, guys.

Of course, it's not just the tween appeal — or the undeniable draw of Danny DeVito's gruff Lorax tones — but also the fact that The Lorax is a family-friendly animated film. Contrast that with Project X, an adults-only flick that appeals primarily to adults of a certain age (or underage teenagers sneaking in).

Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com's box office divison, offered his own analysis.

"The Lorax" absolutely blew away expectations. There really hasn't been a big animated film for the family audience this year. This was like the manifestation of the hunger of the family audience to have an animated film.

The Hollywood Reporter calls the box office success of The Lorax a "shocker," and explains the significance to the industry as a whole. Remember that 2011 was a bad year for ticket sales.

Lorax is an enormous victory for Universal and Illumination, as well as the film business in general. After last year's moviegoing slump, which dampened the family marketplace, the domestic box office is surging. Revenues were up nearly 30 percent this weekend, marking the 9th weekend in a row of growth.

So good news for anyone thinking about making a big-budget 3D animated adaptation of a beloved children's book: the audience is there. No speculation on what the next box office shocker will be, but it's only a matter of time before The Lorax 2 breaks new records.

[Image via AP]