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Weekend Box Office: Pitch Perfect 2 Hits High Note, Mad Max Trails Behind

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By Chris Kavan - 05/17/15 at 10:09 PM CT

It was set to be a battle of the sequels this weekend (well, one sequel and one reboot) and it did not disappoint. The women ruled the box office - in more ways than one - as a girl-powered musical topped a girl-powered action extravaganza. Though I was a bit surprised by just how wide the gap was, it was a stellar week for new releases. It was also a stellar weekend for Age of Ultron, as it crossed another major milestone and continues to be the year's most impressive-performing film.


It was the Barden Bellas who came out on top to the road warriors of Fury Road with a convincing win over the weekend. Entering the top spot with $70.3 million, Pitch Perfect 2 easily topped the original's $14.8 million opening. Of course that film really found its audience when it came out on video and cable - and became incredibly popular in the process. Thanks to that goodwill the film earned, Pitch Perfect 2 earned more in its first weekend than Pitch Perfect earned in its entire run ($65 million). Given these numbers, by the time it leaves theaters, Pitch Perfect 2 will have more than doubled the original film's final gross - and probably then some. While critics may not have been as kind, audiences are certainly still entranced. This films should continue to draw in the female crowd through the end of the month.


Given the nature of the film, critics were surprisingly enamored with the George Miller's rebooted take on Mad Max. The action movie of the year had to settle for second place with a decent $44.4 million opening. The most likely explanation for the second place showing is that Mad Max is rated R and it went up against a PG-13 sequel riding a wave of popularity. Still, given the 30-year break between Thunderdome and Fury Road - this has to be seen as a win for the franchise. The film also had a fair bit of behind-the-scenes drama going on - but, in the end, Fury Road proved to be a winner and Tom Hardy has already signed on for more sequels - if they're anywhere near as action-intense as Fury Road, we may have a new action franchise to look forward to. Expect Fury Road to continue to do well, and it should be able to top the $100 million mark.


With its thunder somewhat stolen by the two new debuts, Age of Ultron can still celebrate the fact that it is now the top-grossing film of 2015. Earning another $38.8 million (down an expected 50%), Age of Ultron now stands at $372 million, topping the $343.8 million of Furious 7. It also moved up to 8th place all time thanks to a stellar debut in China ($156.3 million). Its worldwide take now stands at $1.14 billion - one of only 20 films to cross the billion mark. The last major market for the film will be Japan on July 4th - but it should have enough juice to cross $400 million domestically and while it won't top the original Avengers here, it should top it in the international market without too much effort.


After a disappointing opening, Hot Pursuit took a 58.5% tumble as its core audience gravitated toward Pitch Perfect 2. The buddy comedy with Reece Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara added $5.78 million to its total, which now stands at $23.5 million. At this point, it looks like the film is going to struggle to even reach its reported budget of $35 million before it exists theaters.


Somehow Paul Blart managed to maintain its hold on the 5th-place spot (likely due to its family-friendly nature), dipping a light 32.2% from last week. The Kevin James-led sequel added another $3.6 million for a new total of $63 million. It has more than doubled its $30 million budget and though Blart is certainly running on fumes, it should end at around the $70 million mark.

Outside the top five: The biggest mover of the weekend was Far from the Madding Crowd. It added a few theaters to its count (190) and is now playing at 289 theaters. It took a 67.4% leap forward and went from 15th to 10th place in the process. It added $1.3 million for a new total of $2.63 million. We'll see if the results mean a wider expansion in the coming weeks.

Next week brings us a Poltergeist reboot along with Brad Bird's interesting-looking Tomorrowland film starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson.


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