Max may be mad, but, at least for the time being, he’s getting his ass handed to him by a bunch of young a cappella singers. Of the two highly anticipated sequels opening this weekend, Pitch Perfect 2 out earned Mad Max: Fury Road at early screenings.
Both films debuted to the public last night, and according to Deadline and their sources, significantly more people were drawn to the theater to see the further adventures of the Barden Bellas than they were the post-apocalyptic action fronted by Max Rockatansky. Fury Road took in $3.7 million Thursday night in 3000 theaters, while Pitch Perfect 2 earned $4.6 million on 2600 screens, not only besting its competition in total gross, but scoring a significantly higher per screen average.
While still obviously early in the going, these numbers put Pitch Perfect 2 on pace for an approximately $50 million opening weekend, while Fury Road is on pace to earn around $40 million. This is very good news for one of these movies, and not so hot for the other.
Pitch Perfect 2 was produced on a budget of approximately $29 million, which, in real world terms is a lot of money, though relatively little in Hollywood. At this rate, it will almost double its entire shooting cost after this weekend. The first movie was a slow burn that had legs and built up steam over time. If the sequel follows a similar path, banking on a fully engaged young female demographic, Universal stands to make a tidy profit, and all the talk of Pitch Perfect 3 that has already been going around won’t be just talk for much longer.
Fury Road, on the other hand, cost significantly more, with numbers between $150 and $200 million being bandied about. Either way, that’s a lot of money. Basically one long chase scene, the massive stunts (they wrecked hundreds of cars), far off locations (Namibia), big stars (Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron), and special effects added up.
When you factor in the international box office, Fury Road will likely make its money back—action translates well, especially in this case, as dialogue is a rather sparse commodity—but unless it pulls of some crazy financial acrobatics, we’ll have to wait and see what becomes of George Miller’s numerous proposed sequels. Warner Bros. is hoping that strong early reviews—it has currently sits at a 98% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes with almost 200 reviews—will translate into a longer, more profitable run, and they also has the 3D markup to consider.
No matter how the box office results shake out, you should totally go see both Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road. The first may no be quite as good a movie as its predecessor, but it’s a blast and will more than satisfy extant fans, and the second, well, it’s just totally bananas and may light your hair on fire. Both are in theaters now.