Let’s face it, folks, nothing says summertime at cinemas like a solid sequel. Yes, I said it. And if you’re offended by that sentiment, it’s probably best you shut down your mainframe for a couple months and seek out art-house asylum elsewhere.
For most multiplex marauders, who mainline sequels like workout junkies pounding 5-Hour Energy drinks, this weekend is especially tasty as Hollywood offers up a double-dose of movie madness to two very distinct, yet extremely vocal demographics.
Universal’s “Pitch Perfect 2” takes center stage and will have teens, families and hipsters singing in the aisles, while Warner Bros. unleashes the weirdest and wildest ride of the season, “Max Max: Fury Road.”
If you like action, get your fix—you won’t see anything else like it this year…or until the next time George Miller decides to unshackle his adrenaline-fueled imagination.
Believe it or not, this is the first live-action film Miller has helmed this century, his last being 1998’s “Babe: Pig in the City.” While “Happy Feet” and “Happy Feet Too” were fun distractions, the godfather of mondo-destruction is back doing what he was born to do: making things go boom.
Call it a tale of two sequels: one cost $29M and the other $150M, yet both are expected to battle it out for #1 this weekend, taking out earth’s mightiest box office heroes, “The Avengers,” who are already steamrolling towards $1 billion worldwide.
The lady melody makers of “Pitch Perfect” hit a high C-note–$113M of them to be exact–just three years ago on a slim budget of $17M, and are certainly striking again while the curling iron is hot, but they sort of have to, before Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson stop looking like college kids. Heavy foundation and eyeliner can only go so far, right Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill?
Because the fanbase of “Pitch Perfect” grew exponentially from week to week in theaters, it was a no-brainer in this day and age that a sequel would come together as soon as possible.
Down Under’s favorite miscreant of mischief took the road less traveled, 30 years in fact, before returning to the silver screen, as “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” was released in 1985, where it debuted #2 behind the second weekend of “Back to the Future” and ended up grossing $36M ($82M adjusted).
In fact, the original “Mad Max” was merely a blip in theaters back in March of 1980, and although it only grossed $8.7M ($23M adjusted), it developed a pretty intense cult following, which quickly led to the sequel, “The Road Warrior”—often considered his masterpiece—which walloped theaters two years later with $23M ($65M adjusted).
Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson, but Charlize Theron is arguably the main selling point actor-wise. No doubt it’s the eye-gouging visuals though that have had people verbally vomiting since the trailer first launched months ago. Hell, if “Mad Max: Fury Road” doesn’t win best trailer of the year, the system is frickin’ rigged! You heard it here first! Still can’t get enough of it.
I don’t think I’ve seen a clip spread around social media so quickly since Kim Kardashian hit the scene with her star making performance. Or maybe that penguin that knocked that other penguin down into the ice. Time to pass that back around!
In 3,700+ theaters—which incidentally is an increase of around 2,300+ since the last of the series—“Fury Road” is looking to ride its boisterous reviews (currently at 98% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) to upwards of $40M this weekend.
For an R-rated actioner, that’s top shelf, folks. Because unlike “Avengers,” it’s doubtful families will get together and watch the melee of human flesh strewn across the vast Australian outback. But perhaps I’m just being overly fatherly.
So, who’s the odds on favorite to be the #1 Hollywood hitmaker this weekend? “Pitch Perfect 2” seems poised given the gals are riding a wave of hoopla and hype that has even hipsters jazzed up. In 3,400+ expect over $40M this weekend.
The original’s total domestic gross was only $65M when it debuted back in September 2012, a figure this one looks to bury like a bad jingle by the end of its run.
Here’s a jingle that should never be buried: The Legend of Zelda Rap circa 1986.
So, are you jazzed up or jacked up? Either way you slice it, it’s on this weekend after a very lackluster let down where Reese Witherspoon’s “Hot Pursuit” failed to excite moviegoers, debuting with a frosty $13M. No worries, folks, expect summer to ramp up again and remain on cruise control now through August.
- Pitch Perfect 2 – $43M
- Mad Max: Fury Road – $37M
- Avengers: Age of Ultron – $33M
- Hot Pursuit – $8M
- Age of Adaline – $4M
PRIME TIME CUT OF THE WEEK: ABC’s “The Muppets” (Fall 2015)
Yes, The Muppets are returning to the ol’ boob tube. This time as a reality TV show. Not that the genre needs any more lampooning, but no doubt Kermit and Co. will do justice to this format.
CHOICE FREEBIE OF THE WEEK: Yahoo’s “Other Space”
Free TV. What a concept. From Paul Feig (“Freaks & Geeks,” “Bridesmaids”) comes a sci-fi comedy…that is definitely worth the price of admission. Which, in case I forgot to mention…is free. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Catch all eight episodes on Yahoo! or YouTube.
Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.