Furious 7 races past Age of Adaline at North American box office

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Nothing, it seems, and certainly not Blake Lively, can get Furious 7 to slam on the brakes.

The mega-grossing sequel took the top spot at the weekend box office with US$18.2 million (S$24.25 million), becoming the first film to come in first for four consecutive weekends since The Hunger Games in March of 2012.

Furious 7 is one of only 29 films to pull off the feat. Its winning streak will almost certainly draw to a close next weekend when Avengers: Age of Ultron enjoys what most analysts project will be an opening of more than US$200 million. In the United States, Furious 7 has earned US$320.5 million.

Although it could not elbow Furious 7 from its perch atop the box office chart, Lively's fantasy romance Age of Adaline scored a respectable US$13.4 million from 2,991 locations. The Lionsgate/Lakeshore release had been projected to pull in US$12 million and cost $30 million to produce.

Reviews for "Age of Adaline" were mixed, but the picture still managed to secure a third-place finish primarily by appealing to females, who comprised 75 per cent of the opening weekend crowd. Fifty eight per cent of ticket buyers were over 25. The film co-stars Ellen Burstyn and Harrison Ford in the story of a woman who suffers an accident that keeps her perpetually 29 years old.

Despite pot shots from Seth MacFarlane, Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 held up better than many analysts projected, finishing second in its sophomore weekend with around US$15.3 million. The critically derided comedy has earned US$40 million though Sunday, topping its US$30 million production budget.

Animated hit Home scored fourth place, while Unfriended rounded out the top five with a US$6.2 million finish, driving its stateside total to US$25.2 million Ex Machina solidified its place among the year's biggest speciality hits, expanding from 39 to 1,255 screens and earning US$5.4 million in the process. The A24 release has made $6.9 million in three weeks

Among new releases, Russell Crowe's directorial debut The Water Diviner bowed to US$1.2 million from 320 theatres.