'Furious 7' on course to clear $100 million in opening weekend

'Furious 7' on course to clear $100 million in opening weekend
The racing flick "Furious 7" beat box office expectations on Friday. Seen here: Brian, played by the late Paul Walker, scales machine and mountain. (Universal Pictures)

"Furious 7" got off to a fast and furious start at the box office this weekend.

After taking in a healthy $15.8 million on Thursday, the testosterone-laced street racing franchise starring Vin Diesel, Jason Statham and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson pulled in $67.3 million from 4,004 theaters on Friday. That puts the Universal Pictures action flick on course to clear $100 million on its opening weekend. 

In fact, estimates for the weekend haul keep growing. A week ago, analysts were estimating that the picture wold make $115 million to $125 million this weekend. By Saturday morning, estimates were being revised up to $150 million.

This makes "Furious 7" the ninth-biggest Friday opening ever, in a league with pictures such as "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" ($70.9 million on its opening Friday in 2013) and "Iron Man 3" ($68.8 million, also in 2013).

Interest in seeing how the picture resolved the death of one of its lead actors, Paul Walker, along with enthusiastic reviews, have helped its position at the box office. The $190-million film's opening was moved from last summer after Walker died in a car crash during production. 

Coming in a distant second, with an $11.4-million Friday haul, is the animated children's movie "Home," produced by Dreamworks and distributed by 20th Century Fox. This brings that movie's total grosses to $79.5 million.

The Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy "Get Hard" (Warner Bros.), the live action fairy tale "Cinderella" (Disney) and "The Divergent Series: Insurgent — Shatter Reality" (Lionsgate) all pulled in between $4 million and $5 million on Friday.