Maximum mileage for your imagination

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ speeds past ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ for a whopping $28 million Friday.

There’s a scene in Pitch Perfect 2 that features the acapella group, the Barden Bellas, singing Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls).” Apparently, it’s girls who are running the box office this weekend as Pitch Perfect 2 made a reported $28 million on its opening day—exceeding expectations—and putting it on track to earn $64.3 million this weekend.

George Miller, the Australian filmmaker behind the Mad Max films, opens up about the long road to Mad Max: Fury Road, the best movie of the year (so far).Universal’s tuneful sequel “Pitch Perfect 2″ is far surpassing expectations with a projected $64 million weekend, putting more than $20 million ahead of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which should end up at around $41 million. “Pitch Perfect 2″ is another strong vote for the power of women at box office, following Universal’s success earlier this year with “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Earlier this week, box office observers were estimating an opening just over $40 million. It was the Keith Richards of movie projects—no matter what insane obstacles came in its path, be it 9/11, Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic meltdown, the passing of Heath Ledger, the writers strike, fantastical desert showers, or alleged warring co-stars, it motored along, refusing to die. Warner Bros.’ reboot of George Miller’s “Mad Max” saga has garnered rapturous reviews for its visually stunning action sequences, but has a steeper climb due to its “R” rating — and possibly the fact that the last installment of the saga came out 30 years ago. The post-apocalyptic world Tom Hardy’s Max lives in draws heavily from the oil-dependent world of the original movies, but it seems to have gotten even weirder — and, dare we say it? — madder than the last time we visited post-apocalyptic Australia in 1985.

Or at least that’s the conversation being had in the “men’s rights” community right now – and it’s being picked up and bandied about in mainstream media. So we’re taking a look at the first Mad Max movies led by Mel Gibson to see how Fury Road fits in with that world, and whether it is a worthy successor to the original cult movies. After escaping the albino War Boys, he aligns himself with rogue warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) on a quest to transport five pregnant slave-wives from the clutches of Immortan Joe (original cast member Hugh Keays-Byrne), a water-hoarding masked tyrant who promises his sickly acolytes salvation in Valhalla, to a desert oasis. He still cuts a distinctive figure, thanks to his bear-like frame and mane of white hair, and in Australia – a nation with an enduring affection for outlaws – Keays-Byrne gets recognised with surprising frequency. Max, Furiosa, the wives, and Nux (Nicholas Hoult), a War Boy defector, find themselves packed into a War Rig—a tricked-out heavy haul truck—barreling through the post-apocalyptic hellscape and chased by a rabid convoy of fire-breathing vehicles boasting pole-swingers, spear-throwers, and a chain gun-wielding giant known as “Rictus Erectus.” Their arrival is signaled by iOTA, a metalhead shredding a flamethrower-guitar in front of a giant stack of speakers. “He’s logical to that world,” director George Miller says of iOTA. “Pre-modern communications, there was always the music of war—the bugle, horns, bagpipes, drummers.

Every war culture had some sound to signal the troops… ours is just weaponized, so it’s a flamethrower as well.” The idea for the original Mad Max began with Miller’s previous career as a doctor in an emergency room in Sydney, Australia, where he observed many victims of car accidents. Playing the villain in the film – the blueprint for legions of post-apocalyptic adventures – could have been Keays-Byrne’s ticket to fame and fortune. The first three movies — , Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome — starred Mel Gibson as Mad Max and were released between 1979 and 1985. In Germany, the sequel opened at No. 1, 271% above “Pitch Perfect,” while in Australia it beat native son “Mad Max” on Friday after opening the week before.

By the time we got to Road Warrior, we realized that we’d tapped into some universal archetype and were much more conscious of this post-apocalyptic world inspired by the oil wars.” “I’d lived in a very lovely and sedate city in Melbourne, and during OPEC and the extreme oil crisis, where the only people who could get any gas were emergency workers, firemen, hospital staff, and police, it took ten days in this really peaceful city for the first shot to be fired, so I thought, ‘What if this happened over ten years?’” Miller recalls. He spends most of his time in these movies being an emotionally closed-off loner who tries not to get involved, but never succeeds and ends up helping communities or settlements in need. Immortan, who wears a skull mask, drinks milk from lactating women and harvests organs from men he holds captive in steel cages, would make Toecutter quake in his leather boots. In the U.K., “Mad Max” had the biggest Friday IMAX opening for an R-rated film, and ranked No. 1 in territories including France, Russia, Brazil, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain. Toecutter was a member of an “oppressed nomadic minority”, he says; Immortan is “a renaissance man – he’s simply trying to bring order into an apocalyptic world”.

But this conversation does matter if only because it’s symptomatic of a larger problem in society: filtering everything through the prism of identity politics. It shows a rodeo competitor (trigger warning: it’s a white male) getting buckled up and each time he looks in the mirror it’s not him but a different person, presumably a potential Stampede attendee.

When The Dark Knight Rises came out (also starring Tom Hardy), radio host Rush Limbaugh argued the villain was named Bane because it was an attempt to vilify then presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose firm had the same name. Fury Road was set to begin shooting back in 2001, but filming was stalled due to the September 11 attacks, which caused the American dollar to plummet against the Australian dollar. “We were financed in American dollars and shooting in Australian dollars, and we lost 25 percent of our budget,” Miller says. “We looked to see what we could cut, but it would have compromised the movie.” He adds, “When 9/11 happened, it extended three months the time it would take to ship your equipment—these large containers of gear and all the vehicles—and the insurance got higher. But the only thing the titular characters seem to share are a name, the ability to survive anything and a penchant for driving fast cars and shouldering heavy emotional guilt. And to answer your question, no, Gibson was never slated to cameo in . “Never for Mel,” says Miller. “It would be like having Sean Connery turning up in Daniel Craig’s James Bond movie. And filming in the NSW outback was prevented by heavy rain that turned the usual post-apocalyptic landscape into what Keays-Byrne describes as a “beautiful garden”.

It would pull everyone out of the movie when you’re trying to get them into it.” Then in 2006, during production on his Oscar-winning animated feature Happy Feet, Miller began courting fellow Aussie Heath Ledger for the role of Max. “Every time Heath [Ledger] would come through Sidney, he’d call in and we’d chat about Max,” says Miller. “He had that same thing that Mel and Tom Hardy have—that maleness, charisma, and restless energy, which you need to play a relatively still character. Does he think his role in Fury Road might open doors in Hollywood and trigger a late-career renaissance? “I’m always open for business,” he says.

The proliferation of special interest groups combined with the growth of the online voice has created a society where everything has to be nitpicked to death. When he’s hanging upside down between the wheels of a War Rig as it’s hurtling through the desert, that’s Tom Hardy inches off the ground being suspended by two big cables.” In October, however, reports circulated that the film had fallen weeks behind schedule leading its studio, Warner Bros., to send its then-president Jeff Robinov out to the Namibian set to oversee production. We drove into nothingness, and that was maddening sometimes.” Despite their on set drama over the 130-day shoot, the two have since buried the hatchet.

Theron even showed the Esquire scribe a gift Hardy left for her in her trailer: a self-portrait Hardy painted with an inscription that read, “You are an absolute nightmare, BUT you are also fucking awesome. Miller claims he doesn’t know whether he’ll helm any sequels, although acknowledges that Hardy is “signed on for three more films,” and that they’ve “written backstories for everything,” including a Max Rockatansky novella and the aforementioned Mad Max: Furiosa screenplay.

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