By Daniel Garris
Universal's Pitch Perfect 2 was off to a terrific first place start this weekend with $69.22 million. The highly anticipated musical comedy sequel starring Anna Kendrick outpaced its already lofty pre-release expectations in a big way. Furthermore, Pitch Perfect 2 has already out-grossed the $65.00 million final domestic gross of 2012's Pitch Perfect. An effective high-profile marketing campaign and the rush out of the film's fanbase (which continued to grow after the original film was released to the home market) both helped turn Pitch Perfect 2 into an event film. Pitch Perfect 2 opened a very impressive 41 percent ahead of the $49.03 million debut of Universal's Neighbors last May.
Pitch Perfect 2 opened with $28.01 million on Friday (which included an estimated $4.6 million from Thursday evening shows), was down 12 percent on Saturday to gross $24.75 million and declined 33.5 percent on Sunday to take in $16.46 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.47 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (75 percent) and towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (62 percent). The film received a promising A- rating on CinemaScore.
Following in the footsteps of Fifty Shades of Grey and Furious 7, Pitch Perfect 2 represents another strong performer thus far in 2015 for Universal. The studio looks to continue its strong start to the year in the coming months with the likes of Jurassic World, Ted 2 and Minions.
While it ultimately didn't challenge Pitch Perfect 2 for first place this weekend, Warner's Mad Max: Fury Road was off to a very solid second place start $45.43 million. The critically acclaimed action film starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron opened on the high end of expectations (which were strengthened due to the film's very strong critical reviews). Fury Road was one of this summer's bigger question marks due in part to its high price tag and the 30-year gap between it and the Mad Max franchise's last film, 1985's Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Mad Max: Fury Road opened 11 percent below the $51.05 million start of 2012's Prometheus and will hope to hold up better than Prometheus did.
Mad Max: Fury Road took in $16.61 million on Friday (which included an estimated $3.7 million from Thursday evening shows), fell a slim 3 percent on Saturday to gross $16.15 million and was down just 21.5 percent on Sunday to gross $12.67 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.73 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed heavily towards male moviegoers (70 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 35 (54 percent). Mad Max: Fury Road received a B+ rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film may not be going over quite as well with moviegoers as it has with critics.
Avengers: Age of Ultron fell two spots to place in third this weekend with $38.86 million. In the process, the blockbuster superhero sequel from Disney and Marvel zoomed past Furious 7 to become the highest grossing release of 2015 thus far domestically with a 17-day take of $372.03 million. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Avengers: Age of Ultron claimed the fifth largest third weekend gross of all-time (behind only Avatar, Marvel's The Avengers, Spider-Man and The Dark Knight).
Avengers: Age of Ultron was down a sizable 50 percent from last weekend, which was understandable given the one-two punch it took from Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road this weekend. In comparison, 2012's The Avengers fell just 46 percent in its third weekend to gross $55.64 million, while 2013's Iron Man 3 fell 51 percent to gross $35.77 million. Avengers: Age of Ultron is currently running 19 percent behind the $457.67 million 17-day take of The Avengers and 10 percent ahead of the $337.66 million 17-day gross of Iron Man 3.
Warner's Hot Pursuit landed in fourth place with $5.72 million. The comedy from MGM and New Line starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara fell two spots and a sharp 59 percent from last weekend. The added presence of Pitch Perfect 2, mixed word of mouth and last weekend's debut being inflated a bit by Mother's Day all contributed to the film's decline this weekend. Hot Pursuit has grossed a softer than expected $23.45 million in ten days. That places the film 8 percent behind the $25.52 million ten-day take of 2011's Something Borrowed.