'Pitch Perfect 2' Blows Past 'Mad Max' At The Box Office

Pitch Perfect 2 is hitting all the right notes at the box office. The film grossed $70.3 million this weekend, double its production budget, the Wall Street Journal reports. This is already $5 million more than the original film.

Pitch Perfect 2 stars Anna Kendrick as Beca, an a cappella singing star whose singing group, the "Barden Bellas," are trying to balance the challenges of singing competitively at the highest levels while also making sure they graduate college.

Sequels don't always outshine their predecessors like this. Analysts expected Pitch Perfect 2 to debut in the $40 million range. But the campy, girl-centric hit hasn't been playing by industry rules, and it's been paying off in the millions. The original Pitch Perfect opened in September, 2012, which isn't normally a lucrative time for new theatrical releases.

But great early reviews and subsequent word of mouth marketing helped it to rack up $65 million in the U.S. market. Pitch Perfect then found a second life in DVD and cable formats. Then came the merchandising. Products began cropping up all over the place with the words "Aca-Awesome" on them, and they were selling. The studio green-lit the sequel, and the rest is history.

"There are a lot of big action movies and we'll continue to be that alternative," said Nick Carpou, Universal's head of domestic distribution.

Pitch Perfect 2 represents a huge win for women in film, as well. The film is directed by Elizabeth Banks, one of the stars of the first film. This weekend's performance of Pitch Perfect 2 makes it the second highest debut for a film directed by a woman. Wondering who holds the top spot? Well, that's Sam Taylor Johnson, who directed a little film called Fifty Shades of Grey. It's also the biggest opening ever for a first-time director.

Women saw the film in droves, representing three quarters of the opening-weekend audience for Pitch Perfect 2. Outside of the U.S., the movie has grossed $38.1 million in 29 territories.

This means that the Bellas have blown past another film that made its debut recently, Mad Max: Fury Road, the film depicting the return of the futuristic Road Warrior, debuted at $44.4 million, approximately $30 million behind Pitch Perfect, Time reports. When you take Mad Max's $120 million budget into account, it's going to need to pick up momentum fast in order to avoid being labeled a commercial flop.

It's been previously reported that a Pitch Perfect 3 would be made if the second installment in the franchise was successful. Well, the numbers are in, and they're phenomenal. The Wall Street Journal reports that a sequel to Pitch Perfect 2 is in the works but hasn't been scheduled for release yet.

[Photo: Richard Cartwright/Universal Pictures via the Associated Press]