Avengers: Age of Ultron got pushed to third place in its third weekend at the domestic box-office as two new movies battled it out. The Pitch Perfect sequel versus the Mad Max reboot. If we have to choose a winner on the basis of the opening weekend figures, then Pitch Perfect 2 has stolen the show by a mile. This comedy / musical had a smashing $70 million opening in North America, which is the best opening for a musical, way ahead of the $42 million earned by High School Musical 3 back in 2008. There are a lot more reasons why the opening weekend figures of Pitch Perfect 2 is nothing short of stunning! For starters, the movie’s predecessor and sleeper hit of 2012 had earned $65 million in its entire domestic theatrical run. Pitch Perfect 2 has crossed that earnings mark in its first three days itself! The production budget of the sequel is only $29 million, which means that the movie might have already recovered its costs. A lot of credit goes to the makers of the first Pitch Perfect in delivering a feel-good enjoyable movie which not only did well at the theatres but also grew bigger after it was released on video. Universal Pictures saw the positive buzz and captured it well to bring out the sequel. And take nothing away from the women power behind the movie, the likes of Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson who have shone once again, and debutant director Elizabeth Banks who could be said to be joining the surge of female directors this year after Sam Taylor-Johnson delivered one of the big hits of the year with Fifty Shades of Grey. Pitch Perfect 2 has earned $38 million from foreign markets too, taking its worldwide tally to $108 million already. A perfect beginning, indeed!
Coming up against the low-budget light-hearted film, was the high-budget action flick Mad Max: Fury Road. George Miller’s series returned to the big screen after a span of 30 years, but still the studio took the plunge to put in $150 million in the movie’s production alone. The movie, in terms of quality, turned out to be way above expectations, and is likely to go down in the history of cinema as a classic in the action genre. It has a near perfect 98% score on Rottentomatoes, and currently holds a 8.8 rating on Imdb. The plaudits for George Miller’s flick have been coming from all corners! The movie opened with a solid $44 million in North America, along with $65 million from foreign markets. The global tally of $109 million is a bright start for a movie that had seen many hiccups during its pre-production and production days. The big question is whether this Warner Bros. film will go on to make enough movie for the studios to make it a certified hit? With such a high production budget along with the additional marketing costs, the movie might need to earn about $400 – $450 million globally to achieve break-even. Now I am hoping that the strong word-of-mouth will increase the longevity of the movie in theatres, and it might grab $150 million from the domestic market. That still leaves a tally of around $300 million to be earned from overseas. The movie does deserve to bring home positive returns to its producers, but we will have to check up in a few weeks’ time as to how close it is to be fruitful financially.
Two big releases sort of mellowed down another big achievement which Hollywood witnessed last week. Avengers: Age of Ultron crossed the $1 billion earnings figure globally! It was a question of when and not if, but it is still a massive feat to accomplish and the movie and its makers deserve to be applauded. The movie in fact saw only a 50% drop in its third weekend, as compared to a 60% drop in the previous weekend, which was a bit unexpected. The movie has earned $1.14 billion so far worldwide, which includes $372 million from North America (surpassing Furious 7 domestically). It is on track to surpass $1.5 billion, though how much further it can carry on would be interesting to track. Last week’s Hot Pursuit slipped by 59% in its second weekend, and has earned only $25 million till now, a far cry from the other women-driven movie – Pitch Perfect 2 – released this weekend. Rounding up the top five is Paul Blart: Mall Cop which is about $5 million shy of earning $100 million worldwide, an indication that at times even the worst of movies can pull off some sort of a miracle at the box-office.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Pitch Perfect 2 ($70.3 million)
2. Mad Max: Fury Road ($44.4 million)
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron ($38.8 million; third weekend)
4. Hot Pursuit ($5.8 million; second weekend)
5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 ($3.6 million; fifth weekend)