Going into the weekend, it was looking like a tight race between Universal’s comedy sequel Pitch Perfect 2 and George Miller’s return to action with Mad Max: Fury Road, but once estimates came in for Friday, it was obvious that Pitch Perfect 2 was going to win the weekend by a large margin… which it did.
Despite opening in more theaters with overwhelmingly positive reviews and a 98% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Riley Keough and Zoe Kravitz, took in $16.8 million on Friday (including Thursday previews), and it had to settle for second place with an estimated $44.4 million in 3,702 theaters, or $12,000 per theater. That’s still George Miller’s largest opening weekend ever despite being an R-rated film and it’s more than the previous installment Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome made in its theatrical life, although granted, that was 30 years ago and not adjusted for inflation. 45% of that domestic gross was earned from 3D screenings and according to exit polls, the audience was 70% male with 54% over the age of 35. Mad Max‘s CinemaScore was “B+,” which is surprisingly lower than that of Pitch Perfect 2, so we’re not sure what that says about the people who give these grades.
Mad Max: Fury Road also opened in 68 overseas markets where it added another $65 million to its opening weekend with a $6.8 million bow in France where the movie premiered on Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival. Korea accounted for $6.6 million while Russia contributed $6 million to what is a global total of $109.4 million in just over three days.
After crossing the billion dollar mark worldwide on Friday, Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel/Disney) dropped to third place with the entry of two strong new movies at the box office, but still managed to bring in $38.8 million (down 50% from last weekend), which took its domestic total to $372 million. That not only puts it ahead of the year’s previous #1 movie (at least domestically) Furious 7 but ahead of all of 2014’s releases, including the late-comer American Sniper.
Internationally, the movie opened in China earlier in the week where, as expected, it exploded with $156.3 million in six days, instantly making it the highest-grossing foreign territory and contributing to the film’s overseas take of $770.5 million and global total of $1.142 billion. Of the China gross, $17.5 million of that came from IMAX screenings, beating the previous record in that country from Transformers: Age of Extinction. At this rate, the movie should eventually achieve the similar $1.5 billion of its predecessor in 2012.