Director, co-star and producer Elizabeth Banks promised the crowd of theater owners more of what they loved about the first film, and “Pitch Perfect 2” didn’t deviate much from the formula. There were more a cappella riff-offs, more Fat Amy and a reprisal of “Cups,” the infectious pop song that broke out after its appearance in the first film.
“I encourage all of you to stand up and dance and to sing along,” said Banks, shortly before the film unspooled at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
The audience didn’t take her up on that offer, remaining seated throughout the film, which finds the the Barden Bellas kicked out of the collegiate a cappella league after an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in front of President Barack Obama. Think the “Basic Instinct” interrogation scene.
Universal Pictures, which is distributing the film, clearly has confidence in “Pitch Perfect 2,” rewarding it with a prime May release date. In addition to Banks, Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson return to their roles along with new addition Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”). Theater owners seemed to enjoy the film, laughing along at key moments and warmly applauding as the end credits rolled.
The evening didn’t go off without a hitch, however. CinemaCon had an auditory hiccup. The conference began with a loud crackle as the sound went out during a trailer for “Furious 7,” the film that’s currently filling Universal’s coffers. The sequel to the cars and criminals series became the fastest movie in history to cross the $1 billion mark and currently stands as the seventh highest grossing movie of all time.
“The movie made so much money it broke the sound,” said CinemaCon managing director Mitch Neuhauser in his introductory remarks.