'Pitch Perfect 2': Can the sequel recapture the original comedy's success?

'Pitch Perfect 2' stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and Brittany Snow as members of a college a cappella team. The first film became a surprise hit.

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
'Pitch Perfect 2' stars Rebel Wilson (l.), Anna Kendrick (second from l.), and Brittany Snow (r.) starred in 'Pitch Perfect,' written by Kay Cannon (second from r.).

The "Pitch Perfect” movie series has already defied expectations once with its first film, which found unexpected success.

The first movie, which stars “Into the Woods” actress Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson of “Pain & Gain,” and “Hairspray” actress Brittany Snow, among others, as members of a college a cappella group, was released in October 2012 and studio Universal tried out an unusual strategy for the film, promoting it heavily on social media and releasing it in limited theaters at first.

It wasn’t clear at first whether it would pay off, according to website Box Office Mojo. “The movie has an appealing cast including Anna Kendrick and Bridesmaids scene-stealer Rebel Wilson, and should do a decent job tapping in to the younger female audience that's made ‘Glee’ such a hit,” BMO writer Ray Subers wrote before the movie’s release. “Still, the campaign seems overly-reliant on social network word-of-mouth, which is tough to quantify, and the relatively-untested release strategy could backfire as well.”

However, “Pitch” became a surprise hit, performing above expectations at the box office (it eventually grossed more than $65 million domestically). It was also fairly well-received by critics, with Associated Press writer Christy Lemire being one reviewer who was won over. “Cheeky and snarky but with an infectious energy… It's ridiculous and predictable but also just a ton of fun,” she wrote.

In addition, the movie succeeded beyond the movie theater. It sold well on DVD (according to Home Media Magazine writer Thomas K. Arnold, it was "the holiday season's top overperformer in terms of home video sales") and, according to Billboard, the movie’s soundtrack peaked at third on the Billboard 200, the chart for albums of any genre, while Kendrick’s song from the film, “Cups,” peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100.

So can a sequel recapture the success? “Pitch Perfect 2” is set to hit theaters this May, and “Pitch” star Elizabeth Banks is directing the sequel as well as appearing in the film. Banks told Entertainment Weekly she’s aware there’s more attention this time around. “The first film flew under the radar, and it was a gift,” she said. “This time around, much higher stakes.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to 'Pitch Perfect 2': Can the sequel recapture the original comedy's success?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today