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‘Pitch Perfect 2,’ ‘Mad Max’ Look to End ‘Avengers’ Box Office Reign

It’s a box office horse race, as Universal’s “Pitch Perfect 2” and Warner Bros.’ “Mad Max: Fury Road” both look likely to exceed $40 million when they debut this weekend.

There’s a chance that three films could hit that mark, with last weekend’s champ “Avengers: Age of Ultron” likely to slip to third, with $38 million in its third week of release. For now, give the slight edge to “Pitch Perfect 2,” which is outpacing “Mad Max: Fury Road” in terms of pre-sales, according to Fandango.

However, the dystopian thriller could surge ahead, propelled by strong reviews and a rapturous response from movie bloggers and fans of futuristic mayhem. “Mad Max: Fury Road” currently holds a 98% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics like Variety‘s Justin Chang hailing the movie as “two hours of ferocious, unfettered B-movie bliss.”

“Pitch Perfect 2” has also earned strong notices, with 74% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes flashing a thumbs up sign. Given that the original “Pitch Perfect” built up a cult following on home entertainment platforms, the sequel should have little trouble trumping the first film’s $115 million worldwide gross.

Regardless of which film nabs the top spot on the charts, “Pitch Perfect 2” will likely be the victor in one key aspect — profit margins. The acapella comedy cost a slender $29 million to produce, whereas “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which faced years of delays and biblical production challenges (seriously, all that was missing was a plague of locusts), clocked in at $150 million. Because 25 years separates installments in the “Mad Max” franchise, and original star Mel Gibson has aged out of the role, Warner Bros. is marketing the film like it’s an original property, insiders say.

“Pitch Perfect 2” will debut in 3,472 theaters in North America and “Mad Max: Fury Road” will bow in roughly the same number of venues. Both films are also planning extensive foreign rollouts.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” will debut in 68 foreign markets comprising more than 16,000 screens. It touches down in most major territories, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, Russia and Australia, home of all things Max Rockatansky. It opens in Japan on June 20 and no date is currently set for China.

“Pitch Perfect 2” will sound off in 27 international territories including Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. It opened last week in Australia and New Zealand, bringing in $9 million and change.

“Pitch Perfect 2” brings back original stars Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick, and is directed by Elizabeth Banks. Paul Brooks produced the film for Gold Circle alongside Banks and Max Handelman for their Brownstone Productions label.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is directed by George Miller, the man behind the first three films in the series, and stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, who takes over the title role from Gibson. Village Roadshow co-financed the production.

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