Pitch Perfect 2 Finds Its Voice to Win Weekend Box Office

18 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ leaves ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ in dust.

This photo released by Universal Pictures shows, Anna Kendrick as Beca, in a scene from the film, “Pitch Perfect 2.”(Photo: Richard Cartwright/AP Photo) LOS ANGELES — The ladies of “Pitch Perfect 2” hit all the right notes opening weekend, amassing a $70.3 million debut, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. Actor Adam DeVine (L) and actress Rebel Wilson pose at the after party for the premiere of Universal Pictures’ “Pitch Perfect 2″ at the Nokia Theatre L.A.Deep Purple famously asked their sound engineers to make “everything louder than everything else”, a phrase variously adopted by the likes of Motörhead and Meat Loaf to characterise their OTT ethos.Mad Max: Fury Road is something special – and not just because Charlize Theron is driving the action as one of the toughest onscreen women since Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies.

The Elizabeth Banks-directed sequel to the 2012 sleeper hit and video-on-demand phenomenon cost Universal Pictures only $29 million to produce and was expected to open in the $50 million range. It’s clearly struck a chord with George Miller as he reboots his low-budget 1979 road-warrior hit with more money, more trucks, and much more noise. After a 30-year hiatus, director George Miller’s epic return to the Mad Max universe is a relentless, high-octane thrill ride that will keep your hands gripped to your cup holders and your knuckles whiter than its bad guy’s creepy pale skin.

When that happens, the sky’s the limit.” Audiences for the musical comedy starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson were 75 percent female and 62 percent under the age of 25, according to Universal. Hell, we even get sonic assault vehicles armed with drummers, speaker stacks and a mutant axe-man wielding an Ace Frehley-style guitar-slash-flamethrower.

That might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but it actually helped to grow our audience base.” So too did the unparalleled variety of special appearances throughout the film. Thirty six years after putting Mel Gibson in leathers as the original Mad Max, director George Miller knows there’s a lot more you can do with the genre now. Add to this Finnish Eurovision winners Lordi’s wardrobe and a shooting/editing style designed to make you feel like you’ve been run over while being shouted at, and this insane post-apocalyptic pile-up runs little risk of understatement. Some anti-feminist provocateurs – a.k.a. just plain old Internet trolls – have been whipping up controversy, complaining about a woman stealing the show from manly Mad Max himself (Tom Hardy, taking over from Mel Gibson) and about the plot centering around Theron’s Furiosa trying to save a group of female sex slaves from the depredations of Skeletor-like warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). “Hollywood has the audacity to remove the name sake of a movie franchise called MAD FREAKING MAX, and replace it with an impossible female character in an effort to kowtow to feminism,” wrote Aaron Clarey on the blog Return of Kings. “I was very interested in a female road warrior,” he told NPR. “And here she is, a character exactly equivalent to Max. Make no mistake, this is not a film of light and shade – it is an orgy of loud and louder, leaving us alternately exhilarated, exasperated and exhausted.

Live on Friday, May 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) Carpou attributed some of the massive success to savvy positioning and the widespread appeal of the popular music and the charismatic, diverse cast. Tom Hardy is Max Rockatansky, chased and imprisoned by the vampiric War Boys of Immortan Joe (one-time Toecutter Hugh Keays-Byrne), bolted into a post-Bane face mask and used as a human blood bag. This is a world in which water, oil and ammunition are currency, with a sideline in “mother’s milk” pumped from steam-punk contraptions that cross Terry Gilliam with Tinto Brass. And then there is David Cross, Jake Tapper, Keegan-Michael Key, Jimmy Kimmel, Rosie O’Donnell, Robin Roberts, Shonda Rhimes, the entire judging panel of “The Voice”… you get the point.

George Miller’s critically acclaimed “Mad Max: Fury Road” landed a distant second in its debut weekend with a solid and expected $44.4 million from 3,702 locations. Teaming up with renegade War Rig trucker Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron, sporting an Alien3-era Ripley crop), Max and co strike out in search of “the Green Place” – a mystical land of mothers, a lush riposte to Waterworld’s elusive “DryLand”. And both of them are about their own survival.” “I always had this little voice in my head of George going, ‘Well, now I’m going to show you a real woman.’ When you come across that rare filmmaker that really wants to embrace that, it’s really nice, and should there be more of that? We sensed then that the dystopian premise was being used to legitimise violent retribution and to redefine fictional heroes around the narrow sub-category of the vigilante. Their cargo is a highly combustible cocktail of petrol and pregnancy, Joe’s enslaved wives (dressed in diaphanous floaties and One Million Years BC haute couture) making a bid for freedom from his breeding farm.

She took the film over after the first movie’s director, Jason Moore, left the production, reportedly to work with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey on their upcoming movie “Sisters.” Banks told the AP she had been itching to get into the role of director for years. “I feel that I have more to offer this business and that I was being underused,” she said. “I knew it would probably change my life. Nearly four decades on, it’s obvious, given our appetite for these movies, that dystopia has completely replaced the love story and the anti-heroic journey of redemption as the vehicle for our dreams.

En route, they encounter an array of variously hairy stilt-walking, motorbiking, chainsawing crazies, suggesting that a militarised wing of the French circus troupe Archaos has escaped into the desert and gone feral. While the first Mad Max was essentially a stripped-down Roger Corman revenge movie (high on concept, low on budget), this head-banging $150m fourth instalment – part (non)sequel, part reinvention – inclines more toward the retina-scorching, eardrum-bashing territory of Michael Bay, the casting of pouty Transformers: Dark of the Moon star Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as The Splendid Angharad setting talismanic alarm bells ringing. Joe’s runaway harem of beautiful “breeders,” played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton, are much more than typical action film eye candy.

Fellman said that many of the showings ended with applause, only adding to the hope that word of mouth will contribute to a lengthy and successful run. “Each film absolutely found its target audience,” Dergarabedian said. “They were running on parallel tracks, and both exceeded expectations by not cannibalizing each other. Yet while Bay’s CG-driven oeuvre has always lacked weight and substance, there’s a crunchy physicality about Miller’s balletic visual aesthetic – a belief that actions really do speak louder than words. Although the entire domestic box office run of “Pitch Perfect” grossed only $65 million, home video sales raked in $103 million as the charms of the fiesty and loveable Bellas spread from teenagers to their moms, brothers and boyfriends. (The Amy Schumer skit on guys and “Pitch Perfect” really says it all.) And, of course, there was the success of “the cup song.” Anna Kendrick’s video of “When I’m Gone” — not even the rendition that appears in the movie — has raked in 200 million views on YouTube. The period from 1945-79 had its downsides, but the imagery it left on celluloid reflects the mental life of a generation that knew peace, prosperity, and restraint.

It was the perfect release strategy for two very different, high-profile films … it really paid off handsomely.” After opening in China six days ago, the “Avengers” sequel brought in $185 million internationally in its fourth weekend. Envisaged at one point as an Akira-style anime, this graphic-novel-inflected chase movie (co-written with British graphic-novelist/designer Brendan McCarthy and veteran Grease Rat/dramaturge Nico Lathouris) eschews dialogue in favour of explosive demonstration, the versatile “Edge Arm” camera system – a swooping vehicle-mounted crane – providing a visual sword that cuts a defining swath through the narrative.

The song is a cultural phenomenon that raised the bar for what we expected from the second movie. (Though it’s worth noting that the song existed long before the first film. After 1979, with the “new cold war”, it became possible to imagine the world ending in a ball of flame, and what a post-apocalyptic society might look like. Eye-catching Namib desert locales provide end-of-world backdrops, while layer-cake vehicle designs (cars bolted on to cars bolted on to trucks) turn everything into a mobile pile-up from the outset, with cheeky nods to Peter Weir’s influential The Cars that Ate Paris.

As we learned about what death-squads do – from El Salvador to Angola – the themes of torture and sexual violence began to inhabit dystopian fiction. While Mel Gibson always had a touch of madness in his eyes (more so in retrospect), Hardy lets his bulky body do the talking, his muscular movements recalling the taut choreography of his title role in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. Meanwhile Nicholas Hoult is all but unrecognisable as Nux, the tumour-ridden foot soldier who wants to chrome-plate his teeth and suicide-bomb his way into Valhalla, a misguided martyr in a very contemporary unholy war. Putting the pedal to the metal for 90 minutes is one thing, but at two hours it’s more of a slog, battle-fatigue teetering on the edge of burn-out and even boredom. More problematically, for all its avowed feminist credentials Miller’s film can’t quite reconcile its horrors-of-patriarchy narrative with its exotic fashion-shoot depiction of “The Wives”, leaving its gender politics weirdly conflicted.

But if you can work round such snarl-ups there’s plenty of mileage in this monster, which, significantly, was press-screened (and indeed shot) in 2D, with zero need for stereoscopic “enhancement”. Either we are failing to imagine heroism as the journey from alienation to redemption, or something in the real world is making such complex heroism seem pointless.

In 1979, in order to actually witness what a .50-calibre bullet does to a human body you would have had to be reporting or fighting on the frontline of a dirty war. But close-up images were so rare that the still photo of Kim Phúc, in the wake of a South Vietnamese napalm attack, became politically controversial and iconic. When you are driving through random shellfire, or seeing children’s bodies dragged along in bloodstained curtains, hearing the random shots and machete blows of an shantytown pogrom, the look on your face, and the feeling in your heart, is very different to those depicted in Mad Max. Now in all action movies the .50-calibre bullet routinely explodes the ribcage, the knife across the throat jets blood into the air, the Orc’s brains are filleted even in movies aimed at children.

Rebellion leads to chaos; the powerful have multilayered defences; or as in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, society is so screwed that death is preferable.

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