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

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.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.

Rebooting the post-apocalyptic snarl of Mad Max 30 years after the original trilogy concluded, the Australian filmmaker has finally brought to fruition a revved-up vision of gloriously twisted design, propulsive momentum and resonant mythmaking. The first film, for comparison, grossed only $65 million domestically across its entire run. “It’s aca-awesome,” said Universal Pictures’ President of Domestic Distribution Nick Carpou, using one of the catchphrases of the film about a cappella singing. “We knew that the film would be a success, but there’s something that happens when movies grow in their success beyond a range that’s easily predictable. The film, starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson opened with sales of $70.3 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, Rentrak Corp. said Sunday in an e-mailed statement. That topped forecasts and beat the $44.4 million opening for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a critically acclaimed Warner Bros. reboot of the 1980s dystopian action film that propelled Mel Gibson to fame. Technically, it’s 120 minutes long, but more accurately it runs for 400 or so kilometres, a there-and-back series of massed car chases punctuated by the clash of metal and blast of weapons.

As has happened repeatedly with James Bond, Tom Hardy plays the new incarnation of a familiar icon, “Mad” Max Rockatansky, the former highway patrol officer turned lone warrior in an endless desert that houses the desperate remnants of mankind. 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. Max remains haunted by the death of his wife and child in civilisation’s final days, but now his nightmarish visions explicitly propel him towards redemption. Its animated July feature “Minions,” spun off from “Despicable Me,” is forecast to be the No. 2 hit of the season. “We’re on track for a record-breaking summer and the strong box-office performances of ‘‘Pitch Perfect 2,’’ which drew females under 25, and ‘‘Mad Max,’’ drawing males over 25, are stepping stones on the path to that record,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a media analyst with Rentrak.

Shooting in the Namibian desert, Miller delivers the key first sequence in a single panoramic shot: Max trying, and failing, to outrun a gang of howling, otherworldly pursuers. In “Pitch Perfect 2,” the all-girl Barden Bellas have to sing their way back to glory after a mishap in front of an audience including the U.S. president. It emphasises not only the scale of the production – like Lawrence of Arabia, Fury Road uses the desert’s vast, beautiful sparseness to suggest the fragility of existence, although these cars go considerably faster than camels – but also the urgency of the storytelling. Max becomes the prisoner of the Way Boys, a teenage death cult who worship Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, Mad Max’s Toecutter in 1979), a warlord who runs the Citadel, an elevated fortress whose access to water provides power alongside the self-descriptive Gas Town and Bullet Farm.

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. 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. Max’s blood is literally draining into Nux (Nicholas Hoult), a dying War Boy, so when Joe dispatches his army to track down his lieutenant, Imperator Furiousa (Charlize Theron, with an arm digitally removed), who has absconded with a big rig and his harem of five wives, the reckless youths tie Max to the front of their retro-fitted car, a bloodline twisted around the chains. Precious liquids – be they blood, fuel or breast milk – are recurring elements in this arid but richly red outback, and Miller’s production team fleshes out this arrestingly strange world visually; the characters are too busy driving and fighting, usually simultaneously, to offer explanation. The tone is sometimes delirious, even with Hardy playing Max with an almost doleful air of taciturn resilience, but the film’s physical heft is paramount.

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC. Whether shot from alongside a spiked hubcap or high above, the dozens of vehicles wending their way across the desert, and the debris from their numerous high speed collisions, appear genuine. In “Fury Road,” Tom Hardy takes on the role of Max Rockatansky, roaming a barren desert when he is caught up with Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron.

With a mechanical arm, shaved head and face covered in grease, Furiosa is a rebel, fleeing the warlord Immortan Joe, played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who controls a citadel and starts a new road war that engulfs Max. To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here. The pair are both warriors, but from the first sighting of the wives draped in virginal white and removing chastity belts, gender fuels the movie’s thematic pull. Furiosa, herself a “stolen” child, is determined to deliver Joe’s slaves to a better place, and in a world destroyed by male madness – Nux appears to never have conversed with a woman – females deliver the promise of renewal. Photo: Reuters On paper, it looked enticing: a high-stakes drama of love and loss by Gus Van Sant starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and Australian Naomi Watts and mostly set in Japan.

But , premiering Saturday in competition for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has landed with a thud at its press previews, garnering the first big boos of this year’s edition. The picture, also featuring Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, drew unintended laughs and derisive whistles from the Cannes crowd, never shy about audibly expressing its views. “I love logic, I love science. McConaughey’s career has been flying high since he bagged an Academy award last year for Dallas Buyers Club and critical adulation for his role in the television series True Detective.

In the film, Arthur performs a Google search looking for “the perfect place to die” and ends up wandering through a dense forest near the foothills of Mount Fuji that attracts dozens of depressed people each year. Through conversations about their lives (mainly Arthur’s, in fact) and flashbacks, Van Sant shows Arthur’s downward spiral back in Massachusetts with an alcoholic wife, played by Watts, and a stalling academic career.

Takumi leads Arthur on a rough hike that becomes a spiritual journey to examine where it all went wrong, complete with dialogue offering platitudes about science not offering all the answers to life’s questions. A plot twist that most viewers saw coming and a sentimental ending accompanied by swelling string music seemed to nix Van Sant’s shot at claiming a second Palme d’Or after his 2003 triumph with Elephant.

I was imagining everyone was the same person as the one who wrote it and I was like now I know where we stand – it was kind of nice but then I got nervous later.”

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