Sunday, May 17, 2015

'Pitch Perfect 2' and 'Mad Max' lead impressive weekend at the box office

We all knew that this would be a weekend, but I didn't think that it would be this big. Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road, two highly anticipated flicks, both debuted to stunning numbers, although one was a bit more impressive than the other. Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to the 2012 breakout hit, snagged $70.3 million in its opening weekend, an absolutely astonishing number. The musical comedy about college a cappella singers topped the original's grosses in just one weekend- a testament to both Universal's marketing department and the original's cultural impact. Pitch Perfect 2 also benefited from solid reviews (69% on Rotten Tomatoes), great audience reception ("A-" Cinemascore) and a lack of comedies in the marketplace. Despite its numerous issues, I quite enjoyed the film myself and I'm glad that it's successful. Pitch Perfect 2 will likely carry into next weekend and end up with a gross that pushes towards $200 million. Truly amazing. Another check in the win column for Universal after the stellar performances of Fifty Shades of Grey and Furious 7.


Mad Max: Fury Road, the critical darling sci-fi thriller, finished in second place with $44.4 million. There are a lot of ways that this number could be interpreted. In my view, this is a success for Warner Bros. and the Mad Max franchise. Fury Road is an R-rated, high concept, very artistic sci-fi blockbuster that works as a sequel to franchise that nobody has really been talking about in years. And it cost $150 million to make and even more to market. This movie is a true Hollywood rarity and I don't think we'll ever see a movie like Fury Road again. So in my view, this was a good weekend for the film. It played on the same level as 300: Rise of an Empire, a comparable R-rated title, but it has one thing that Rise of an Empire didn't have- buzz.

Fury Road is one of the most universally acclaimed blockbuster movies in recent memory, with reviews that stand at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and 89 on Metacritic. And the internet buzz is deafening. Everybody in the film community is rallying behind this movie (my own glowing review for the film will come out shortly after this article), and with the tepid buzz for Tomorrowland, I've got a feeling that word of mouth will come into play over memorial day weekend for Mad Max. It did only receive a "B+" Cinemascore (it's a unique experience that won't work for everybody), but Cinemascores have been proven ineffective before. I bet that this plays like Edge of Tomorrow and ends up somewhere near $150 million. With worldwide grosses added as well, I'm hoping that we see another Mad Max movie down the line.

In a close third, Avengers: Age of Ultron dropped a soft 50% to $38.8 million. The Marvel juggernaut has now grossed $372 million in the US and just topped $1.1 billion worldwide. Yeah, the sky is falling everybody. Marvel might never make movies again (I hope everyone catches the sarcasm here). All in all, Age of Ultron will push towards $1.6 billion worldwide and $450 million in the US. Very, very good totals.

Beyond those three films, the box office was a desolate wasteland akin to the world of Mad Max. Hot Pursuit, the critically derided comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, finished in fourth with $5.7 million. So far, the box office flop has grossed $23.5 million. And finally, Furious 7 continued its incredibly impressive run with $3.6 million. The film now stands at $343.7 million in the US.

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend and two new films will be hitting theaters- Tomorrowland and Poltergeist. Here are my predictions for the four day weekend:

1. Tomorrowland- $52 million
2. Pitch Perfect 2- $43 million
3. Mad Max: Fury Road- $31 million
4. Poltergeist- $28 million
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron- $25 million
6. Hot Pursuit- $4.8 million
7. Furious 7- $2.8 million
8. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2- $2.5 million
9. The Age of Adaline- $2 million
10. Home- $1.9 million

Image Credits: Variety, ET Online

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