×

Box Office: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ Eye $40 Million Openings

When “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Pitch Perfect 2” debut next weekend, they look poised to divide and conquer the genders, with the apocalyptic adventure monopolizing men and the a cappella comedy cornering women.

Early tracking suggests that both films will open to $40 million or higher, with most firms giving the edge to “Pitch Perfect 2.” Sources at Universal, the studio behind “Pitch Perfect 2,” are pleased with how trailers and promotional materials are resonating with moviegoers, but are more conservative with their estimates, predicting a debut of $30 million. That would double the first film’s opening and represent a strong start for a film that carries a slender $29 million budget.

Mad Max: Fury Road,” which cost $150 million-plus to make, poses a much riskier proposition for backers Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow, starting with the fact that the most recent film in the series, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” was in theaters 30 years ago. Moreover, the action movie starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron carries an R rating, which limits its potential audience. With the exception of 2013’s “Prometheus,” most recent summer popcorn releases boast PG or PG-13 ratings.

Popular on Variety

Getting George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” to the screen was no easy feat, either. The project was stuck in development hell for decades before it finally got off the ground. After a series of delays, production eventually commenced in 2012, but the complex effects and difficult locations meant the film was literally years in the making. That long slog may have been worth it. Reviews are still embargoed, but the word around the film blogging community is that “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a visual stunner, which means it could play well with fanboy crowds.

“It has the potential to really surprise people,” said Phil Contrino, VP and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “It’s poised to be the kind of movie where Thursday shows happen and people go nuts for it and it snowballs into a huge weekend.”

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” has sucked up most of the oxygen around the male viewers that “Mad Max:Fury Road” needs to attract in order to succeed, but tracking among that demographic has picked up a few points in recent days, and the studio still has some time to ramp up its advertising campaign.

The combination of “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Pitch Perfect 2,” not to mention the continued presence of the latest “Avengers” movie, does have the potential to break records. Last year, “Godzilla” opened to $93.2 million, helping the overall box office for the weekend before Memorial Day reach $178.5 million, a new high-water mark. That could easily be eclipsed this go round, studio sources say, continuing what is shaping up to be a torrid year at the multiplexes.

More Film

  • Aviron Pictures Hit With Layoffs

    Aviron Pictures Hit With Layoffs, Joel Kinnaman Action Movie 'The Informer' in Limbo

    Fledgling distributor Aviron Pictures has been hit with a significant staff reduction less than a month after the removal of top executive WIlliam Sadleir, numerous insiders told Variety.  Almost half of a staff of 30 were dismissed last week, amid wide rumors that the company’s deep-pocketed financier Black Rock has defunded the outfit entirely, sources [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Bill Clinton

    Harvey Weinstein's Lawyer Seeks Mistrial When D.A. Refers to Bill Clinton Friendship

    Harvey Weinstein was associated with the Clintons for years, socially and as a generous donor to both of their political campaigns. And according to prosecutors in Weinstein’s criminal trial, he bragged about his friendship with the former president to women he allegedly sexually assaulted, in an effort to intimidate them. During opening statements on Wednesday, [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum to Star in 'Bob the Musical' Comedy for Disney

    Channing Tatum is attached to star in and produce “Bob the Musical” for Disney — a project that’s been in development for more than a decade. Tatum will produce through his company, Free Association, and partners Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan. Tripp Vinson and Chris Bender are also attached to produce. No director is currently [...]

  • John Henry

    'John Henry': Film Review

    Terry Crews’ John Henry is a man of few words. “John Henry,” the folklore-cribbing, violent thriller (opening theatrically and available on demand) about a former gang member who must face his demons when two young immigrants require his help, feels like it wants to say a lot. But what exactly? Utilizing horror-movie gestures and ladling [...]

  • Matt Damon SNL

    Matt Damon to Star in NYPD Thriller 'The Force'

    Matt Damon has come on board to star in “The Force” with James Mangold directing for Disney’s 20th Century Studios. Mangold, who directed Damon in “Ford v. Ferrari,” has been developing the Don Winslow bestseller since 2017. “The Force” centers on corrupt NYPD officers with Damon attached to play detective Denny Malone, who runs an [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein female juror

    Novelist Who Wrote About Predatory Men Stays on Harvey Weinstein Jury

    A novelist who has an upcoming book about predatory older men in New York will remain on the Harvey Weinstein jury, despite vociferous objections from the defense. Juror #11 showed up to opening statements on Wednesday, and sat through the full day of trial. Weinstein’s defense had argued last Friday that she should be removed [...]

  • Ride Like A Girl

    Australia Box Office Drops 2% in 2019

    Cinema box office in Australia dipped by 2% in 2019 to an annual total of A$1.23 billion, or $841 million, according to data from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia. That was the country’s third highest figure in local currency terms, but it also shows the theatrical industry to be rangebound since 2015. Australian-made [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content