Box office: 'Furious 7' headed to new franchise heights

'Furious 7,' taking in an estimated $18.8 million more Friday, headed to be franchise's most popular

"Furious 7" is still speeding at the box office.

Retaining more Week 2 power than expected, Universal's latest installment in the street-racing saga with Vin Diesel and Jason Statham held on to the top spot for the second straight week with an estimated $18.8 million across 4,022 screens on Friday. It's expected to blow past the $250-million cumulative mark domestically by the end of the weekend.

Universal already says "Furious 7" has been the quickest of any of its movies to cross the $200-million threshold. That should help pay for the reported 230 vehicles that were demolished making the film.

"Furious 7" is the first film released in the "Fast & Furious" franchise since the death of star Paul Walker, who was killed in a crash halfway through production. If projections hold, the movie will end up the most popular "Furious" by far, beating 2013's "Fast & Furious 6," which topped out at $238 million domestically.

With "Furious 7" burning on all cylinders, little juice was left for other releases on a post-spring-break weekend.

"The Longest Ride," the 10th screen adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks romance novel, opened at No. 3, with a $5.5-million Friday and a respectable $1,634 per-screen average. 20th Century Fox's "Ride" may end up cruising past last year's "The Best of Me," which with a $35-million cumulative gross was the worst-performing of the Sparks adaptations. But it's unlikely to get near "The Notebook," "Dear John" or "Message in a Bottle," Sparks' biggest movie hits, each of which kept tugging heartstrings well past $100 million. 

The No. 2 spot went to Fox's "Home," an animated extraterrestrial fantasy that has the bulk of the family-film market to itself now that Disney's live-action "Cinderella" is fading after a month of release. "Home" drew a $5.6-million Friday and entered its third week with $116 million in total. "Cinderella" had to settle for the fifth spot, with a $2.3-million start to the weekend, but its cumulative gross has now risen past $175 million.

At No. 4 with $2.6 million Friday was "Get Hard," the buddy comedy with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, which is a bit soft at the box office thanks to negative reviews and word of mouth (moviegoers polled by CinemaScore gave the movie a B). "Get Hard" has grossed a cumulative $65 million so far.

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

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