‘Pitch Perfect 2’ races past ‘Mad Max’ to win the box office

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Box Office: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Scores Lovely $44M Weekend.

“Pitch Perfect 2,” Universal Pictures’ sequel to the 2012 comedy about an all-girls a cappella group, claimed the top spot at theaters on its North American debut this weekend, far outselling the first installment.Scoring one of the top openings of all time for a non-tentpole, Elizabeth Banks’ Pitch Perfect 2 opened to a massive $70.3 million at the North American box office, thanks to ardent female fans.Nicholas Hoult was born four years after the third Mad Max film hit theatres in 1985, but that didn’t mean he missed out on the lasting influence of the adrenaline-fuelled, post-apocalyptic saga. “All these films I’ve seen, I suddenly saw where their ideas came from or where it all sprung from — the brilliant mind of George Miller,” he said.Why it’s rated R: Non-stop apocalyptic action, peril and violence with many characters injured and killed and several graphic and disturbing images, some strong language, some nudity, references to domestic abuse.

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. And in only three days, it’s earned back more than twice its $29 million budget — and more than the first Pitch Perfect grossed in its entire domestic run ($65 million). It 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. It’s one of those odd situations where a film debuts right in line with realistic expectations and/or tracking guestimates, and yet finds itself on the defense because the film turned out to be better than expected. The only instances when star power is negligible is when there’s an established household name/moneymaking brand involved (Marvel, Disney or Star Wars, etc), it’s based on a HUGE existing property with a built-in audience (50 Shades, Twilight) or in the teen-driven horror film subgenre. “Edge of Tomorrow” doesn’t make HALF of what it did without Tom Cruise. “Lucy” wouldn’t have cracked $80M domestic if the cast was Olivia Munn and Delroy Lindo instead of Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman.

Males made up the vast majority of Mad Max’s audience, while 46 percent were under the age of 25. (That’s not a bad turnout for a sequel to a film that opened in 1980.) The issue Fury Road faces is that it cost at least $150 million to make. Warner Bros. and director George Miller also have a reason to sing as Mad Max: Fury Road came in right around analyst’s expectation with $44.4M for its debut weekend. There would be about 150 stunt guys and there was a training centre and gym where everyone would do group sessions where they would learn and feel what it meant to be a War Boy in that time. Obviously that was not the case, although we shouldn’t assume that the rave reviews didn’t merely assure a strong $40m+ even in the shadow of Pitch Perfect 2‘s peak-level bow.

Hugh would come along and be the leader and he’d repeat nursery rhymes and everyone would chant with him and it became a little bit of this odd cult thing. In terms of fellow female-driven films, the sequel opened just ahead of the first Twilight and Maleficent, both of which launched to roughly $69 million. If it has a small drop next weekend, which it very well may with the Memorial Day weekend as a buffer, then we can talk about the reviews and the word-of-mouth. A lot of big films nowadays are quite generic in a way, they don’t take a lot of risks. [In this film] there are characters that aren’t archetypal characters of what you’re used to seeing in film.

They are not all good or bad or black or white, it’s this mix of humanity trying to survive in extreme conditions, and through that, some really visually stunning action. Coming in third for the weekend was Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which picked up $38.8 million to bring its domestic tally to $372 million and its international total to $770.5 million. I cannot predict at this juncture if the film will gross enough here and abroad to justify the $150 million price tag expended by Rat Pac and Village Roadshow, but I can say that Warner basically did everything they could short of giving away all the good parts in order to sell the film. They had the film of course, and they cut some eye-popping trailers that truly made this film feel one-of-a-kind, and they screened it early enough to build critical buzz. Heck, they even let the embargo drop a day earlier than intended when they saw the writing on the wall and noticed critics like me desperate to tell the world how wonderful this film was.

They had to know that the film would get buzz based on its surprisingly non-patriarchal leanings, and this feels not unlike Fox cutting Live Free or Die Hard to a PG-13 to get the kids but then opening it against Pixar’s Ratatouille. I don’t particularly need to see a new trilogy of Mad Max movies and it’s hard for me to root too much for a film whose success will mostly inspire Hollywood to further raid their franchise vaults for decades-old properties to revive.

But it’s not like its theoretical underperformance down the line will have any bad lessons since it’s such a unique cocktail of elements unlikely to be replicated in the future. And even if Hollywood doesn’t necessarily learn the best lessons from its surprise triumphs, filmmakers certainly do and I can be optimistic and presume that 70-year old George Miller just challenged an entire generation of genre filmmakers on everything from quality of action to practical effects and realism-enhancing CGI to gender parity.

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