U's Seuss pic earns $17.4 mil; toon on track for $60 mil weekend

Universal’s “The Lorax” may be eco-friendly, but it proved itself competitor-hostile as it beat back all comers with $17.4 million at yesterday’s domestic B.O.

New three-day estimates have the Dr. Seuss-inspired fable coming in at $60 million, poising it to smash the previous opening weekend records for an Illumination Entertainment film (2010’s “Despicable Me” with $56 million) and for a Seuss property (2000’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with $55 million).

Long-term, however, “Lorax” will have to earn more than $341 million worldwide to upset “Grinch’s” lifetime record.

In second, Warner Bros.’ “Project X” earned $8.2 million Stateside, $1.15 million of which from Thursday midnight screenings. At a pace just ahead of expectations, “Project X” should land just north of $20 million through Sunday.

Relativity’s holdover and last frame’s champ “Act of Valor” earned $3.8 million Friday for a domestic cume of $35.3 million. And a little ways behind, Uni’s “Safe House,” Lionsgate’s “Good Deeds” and Sony’s “The Vow” formed a three-way tie in the vicinity of $1.9 million.

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