Weekend Report - 'Max' 'Pitch'-Slapped

by Keith Simanton
John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks React

May 17, 2015

Tom Hardy, George Miller, and Mad Max: Fury Road were run over by Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks and the young harmonizers of Pitch Perfect 2 in a game of chicken between two sequels with equally passionate fan-bases.

In the end though it was Pitch Perfect 2 that won out taking in a robust $70.3M in 3,473 theaters for a healthy per-theater average of $20.2K. Meanwhile Mad Max: Fury Road took in $44M in 3,702 theaters for a respectable $11.9 take per theater.

Pitch Perfect 2 arrived with an unusually high quotient of goodwill, owing to the popularity of the original Pitch Perfect, an ebullient musical/comedy made rarely these days. The original film, directed by Jason Moore, made $14.8M in its opening weekend late in September of 2012, going on to earn $65M domestically, a number its sequel surpassed in the last three days alone. Internationally Pitch Perfect did $48M, for a $113M worldwide cume. But when PP1 was discovered on home video the film really hit its aca-stride, gaining the kind of loyal fans who would resurrect Anna Kendrick's audition ditty, "Cups" into a heavy rotation hit, only bested by the movie's even heavier rotation on cable. Universal handed the franchise over to Banks, who produced the first film, to direct, taking a shot with the tyro that probably also had something to do with her producing this one. Though not the near-perfect musical the first film was Uni. has a bonafide hit on its hands.

Over at Warner Bros. they must be heaving a sigh of relief with the same breath they're using to congratulate themselves. Sure they have to settle for 2nd place but they have to be proud that they're spending their weekend defending Fury Road's $44M take and not what could have been a $100M write-off. Rumors abounded that the shoot was troubled (Tom Hardy apologized to director George Miller in Cannes for his behavior on-set) and early test screenings reportedly went poorly. Reshoots were necessitated yet still the studio didn't know what to do with the nearly dialogue-free film. That they ended up with what is being hailed in many circles, from Connecticut to the Cannes Croisette as a classic, one that could propel the franchise down the line, is a testament to testing.

Avengers: Age of Ultron took its natural 3rd week 50% slide with $38.8M in estimated receipts and a worldwide cume that blew past $1 billion worldwide on Friday and now sits at $1.14B. The new domestic take, now at $372M, makes it the #1 film of 2015 (for now) as it passed Furious 7's $343M domestic cume. It also makes the Marvel film the 8th biggest grossing film of all-time. Ultron also opened up in China on Tuesday, grossing an estimated $156.3M in the six days since its release. The film opens in Japan on July 4.

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Last Weekend
'Ultron' Hot, 'Pursuit' Not

This Timeframe in Past Years:
2014 - 'Godzilla' is Box Office King

2013 - 'Into Darkness' Boldly Goes Where 2009's 'Trek' Went Before
2012 - 'Battleship' Drowns Under Weight of 'Avengers'
2011 - 'Pirates' Rides Smaller 'Tides'
2010 - 'Alice' Tops Again, 'Diary', 'Bounty' Neck-and-Neck
2009 - 'Angels & Demons' Lights Up, 'Star Trek' Maintains Thrust
2008 - 'Narnia' Retreats with Sequel
2007 - 'Shrek' Reclaims Crown with Third Movie
2006 - 'Da Vinci' Almighty
2005 - Final 'Star Wars' is Box Office 'Revenge'

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