Box Office: Pitch Perfect 2 Pitch-Slaps Mad Max: Fury Road

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Going into the weekend, it was looking like a tight race between Universal’s comedy sequel Pitch Perfect 2 and George Miller’s return to action with Mad Max: Fury Road, but once estimates came in for Friday, it was obvious that Pitch Perfect 2 was going to win the weekend by a large margin… which it did. 

Once again starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Adam DeVine, Ester Dean and Elizabeth Banks, who made her feature film directorial debut with the sequel, Pitch Perfect 2 kicked off its weekend with $4.6 million in Thursday previews, which helped add to its opening day take of $27.8 million. While it was thought from that Friday the movie would exceed $60 million, it was reported Sunday that it had grossed an estimated $70.3 million for the weekend, which is $5 million more than the original movie grossed in its entire theatrical run. With an “A-” CinemaScore from its 75% female audience with 62% under the age of 25 is a good sign for the movie’s legs over the next few weeks, although young women tend to rush out to see movies they want to see opening weekend as seen by previous young adult hits like “The Twilight Saga” and “The Hunger Games” films, so we’ll have to see if this ends up over $200 million or below. 

Internationally, Pitch Perfect 2 grossed $27 million in 29 territories to bring its overseas total to $38.1 million, including Australia’s take from last weekend where it opened early. With the North American weekend gross, it has brought in $108.4 million, which is slightly lower than the total global take of the original Pitch Perfect with 30 more markets to come.

Despite opening in more theaters with overwhelmingly positive reviews and a 98% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Riley Keough and Zoe Kravitz, took in $16.8 million on Friday (including Thursday previews), and it had to settle for second place with an estimated $44.4 million in 3,702 theaters, or $12,000 per theater. That’s still George Miller’s largest opening weekend ever despite being an R-rated film and it’s more than the previous installment Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome made in its theatrical life, although granted, that was 30 years ago and not adjusted for inflation. 45% of that domestic gross was earned from 3D screenings and according to exit polls, the audience was 70% male with 54% over the age of 35.  Mad Max‘s CinemaScore was “B+,” which is surprisingly lower than that of Pitch Perfect 2, so we’re not sure what that says about the people who give these grades.  

Mad Max: Fury Road also opened in 68 overseas markets where it added another $65 million to its opening weekend with a $6.8 million bow in France where the movie premiered on Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival. Korea accounted for $6.6 million while Russia contributed $6 million to what is a global total of $109.4 million in just over three days.

After crossing the billion dollar mark worldwide on Friday, Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel/Disney) dropped to third place with the entry of two strong new movies at the box office, but still managed to bring in $38.8 million (down 50% from last weekend), which took its domestic total to $372 million. That not only puts it ahead of the year’s previous #1 movie (at least domestically) Furious 7 but ahead of all of 2014’s releases, including the late-comer American Sniper. 

Internationally, the movie opened in China earlier in the week where, as expected, it exploded with $156.3 million in six days, instantly making it the highest-grossing foreign territory and contributing to the film’s overseas take of $770.5 million and global total of $1.142 billion. Of the China gross, $17.5 million of that came from IMAX screenings, beating the previous record in that country from Transformers: Age of Extinction. At this rate, the movie should eventually achieve the similar $1.5 billion of its predecessor in 2012.

The Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit (MGM/New Line/WB) took fourth place with $5.8 million, down 58% from its opening weekend where it likely got a bump from Mother’s Day. It has grossed $23.5 million so far.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Sony) dropped 32% to $3.6 million in its fifth weekend with just under $63 million grossed to date. Universal Pictures’ Furious 7  was right behind it, undaunted by the entry of Mad Max: Fury Road, as it dropped just 34% from last week and its $343 million gross make it such a big hit that anything above that is cake.

Blake Lively’s drama The Age of Adaline (Summit/Lionsgate) took seventh place (down from #3) with $3.2 million and a total gross of $37 million, which is quite impressive for the relatively low profile April release.

The best hold of the weekend went to DreamWorks Animation’s Home (20th Century Fox), which added another $2.7 million (down 12%) to its running domestic total of $165.5 million to take eighth place.

Despite earlier expectations and projections, the weekend was up at the box office from last year when Godzilla dominated with $93 million, but since the two new movies made more than that and Avengers: Age of Ultron was still going strong, things are good at the box office right now. 

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Box Office

Weekend: Nov. 15, 2018, Nov. 18, 2018

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