Mad Max (franchise)

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Mad Max
Mad Max (logo).png
Creator James McCausland
George Miller
Original work Mad Max
Films and television
Video games List of video games

Mad Max is an Australian post-apocalyptic action multi-media franchise created by James McCausland and George Miller. It began as the 1979 film Mad Max, starring Mel Gibson, and was followed by two sequels: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). The series has since had a lasting influence on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction.

A fourth entry in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road, is scheduled to be released on 15 May 2015. The film is expected to be followed-up by a fifth installment, Mad Max: Furiosa.


Mad Max (1979)[edit]

Main article: Mad Max

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller and written by Miller and Byron Kennedy. It tells a story of breakdown of society, murder, and vengeance. The film, starring the then-little-known Mel Gibson, was released internationally in 1980. It became a top-grossing Australian film and has been credited for further opening the global market to Australian New Wave films.[citation needed]

Mad Max 2 (1981)[edit]

Main article: Mad Max 2

Mad Max 2 (also known as The Road Warrior in the U.S., and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior) is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. This sequel to Miller's Mad Max was a worldwide box office success that further launched the career of Mel Gibson. The film's tale of a community of settlers moved to defend themselves against a roving band of marauders follows an archetypal "Western" frontier movie motif, as does Max's role as a hardened man who rediscovers his humanity. It also opens with a previously unexplained backstory on the tragic events that led to those in the original film.[citation needed]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)[edit]

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (also known as Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or simply Mad Max 3) is a 1985 film, the third installment in the action movie Mad Max franchise. The film was directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie, and starred Mel Gibson and Tina Turner. The original music score was composed by Maurice Jarre. George Miller, director of the first two Mad Max movies, lost interest in the project after his friend and producer Byron Kennedy was killed in a helicopter crash while location scouting. Miller later agreed to direct the action sequences.[citation needed]

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)[edit]

Main article: Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (also known as Mad Max 4: Fury Road or simply Mad Max 4), the fourth film of the franchise, is an upcoming Australian post-apocalyptic action film co-written and directed by George Miller. While location scouting was reported to be underway in May 2009,[1] production was delayed until June 2012 because rare high levels of rain in the Australian desert detracted from the post-apocalyptic feeling that Miller wanted. Shooting ultimately took place in Namibia, Africa, and the film is scheduled to be released on 15 May 2015. It features British actor Tom Hardy as Mad Max and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa. Gibson was originally attached to star in Fury Road during its failed 2003 production attempt.[2] At one time, Miller was also looking into developing the story as a 3D anime film.[3][4]


Miller and McCarthy found during the writing process for Fury Road that they had enough story material for two additional scripts. One of these, entitled Mad Max: Furiosa, has already been completed, and Miller hopes to film it after the release of Fury Road.[5] In March 2015, during an interview with Esquire magazine, Hardy revealed that he was attached to star in four more Mad Max films following Mad Max: Fury Road.[6]

Cast and crew[edit]


Character Film
Mad Max Mad Max 2 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Mad Max: Fury Road
Max Rockatansky Mel Gibson Tom Hardy
Jessie Rockatansky Joanne Samuel
The Toecutter Hugh Keays-Byrne
Gyro Captain Bruce Spence
Feral Kid Emil Minty
Pappagallo Michael Preston
The Humungus Kjell Nilsson
Aunty Entity Tina Turner
Jedediah the Pilot Bruce Spence
Master Angelo Rossitto
Imperator Furiosa Charlize Theron
Nux Nicholas Hoult
Immortan Joe Hugh Keays-Byrne

The series features a few reoccurring cast members in different roles. Bruce Spence played an air pilot in two of the films, first as Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2 and then as Jedediah the Pilot in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Hugh Keays-Byrne has taken antagonist roles twice: he played Toecutter in Mad Max and returns as Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road. Max Fairchild appeared as Benno in Mad Max and as "broken victim" of the Humungus's gang in Mad Max 2.


Crew/Detail Film
Mad Max Mad Max 2 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Mad Max: Fury Road
Director George Miller George Miller
George Ogilvie
George Miller
Writer(s) George Miller
Byron Kennedy
James McCausland
Terry Hayes
George Miller
Brian Hannant
Terry Hayes
George Miller
George Miller
Brendan McCarthy
Nico Lathouris
Producer(s) Byron Kennedy
Bill Miller
Byron Kennedy Terry Hayes
George Miller
Doug Mitchell
George Miller
Doug Mitchell
P.J. Voeten
Composer Brian May Maurice Jarre (score)
Lyle/Britten/Knight (songs)
Junkie XL
Cinematographer David Eggby Dean Semler John Seale
Editor Cliff Hayes
Tony Paterson
David Stiven
Michael Balson
Tim Wellburn
Richard Francis-Bruce Jason Ballantine
Margaret Sixel
Running time 93 minutes 96 minutes 107 minutes N/A


For more details on the reception of each film, see the "Reception" section on each film's article.

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Budget Ref(s)
Australia North America Other
Mad Max 12 April 1979 A$5,355,490 $8,750,000 N/A $99,750,000 A$400,000 [7][8]
Mad Max 2 24 December 1981 A$10,847,491 $23,667,907 N/A N/A A$4.5 million [7][9]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 10 July 1985 A$4,272,802 $36,230,219 N/A N/A A$12 million [7][10][11]
Mad Max: Fury Road 15 May 2015 $150 million [12]
Total A$20,475,783 $68,648,126 N/A N/A
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Mad Max 95% (43 reviews)[13] N/A N/A
Mad Max 2 100% (36 reviews)[14] N/A N/A
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 81% (37 reviews)[15] N/A N/A


Many licensed products are based on the Mad Max franchise. Products include novels, comic books, video games, and other materials.[16] Although MGM holds the distribution rights to the original film, all other elements including rights to the remaining films, characters, merchandise licensing, and trademarks are the property of Warner Bros.

Novelizations of the first three films have been published by QB Books. The first two novelizations were written by Terry Hayes, who ended up co-writing the script for the second film after getting along well with Miller.[17] A novelization for the third film was written by Joan D. Vinge.[18]

Video games[edit]

Mad Max is a 1990 NES game developed and published by Mindscape Inc. based on the film Mad Max 2. The object of the game is to survive life in the post-apocalyptic world by battling survivalists and collecting resources. The game is similar to Outlander which was released in 1992 for Sega Genesis and SNES.

In June 2013 it was revealed at E3 that developer Avalanche Studios would be developing a video game based on the setting of Mad Max. The game will be released in 2015 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.[19] A mobile game developed by Kabam is also in the works.[20]



  1. ^ "All revved up for Max's return". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Vaughan, Owen (13 June 2012). "Charlize Theron shaves it all off for Mad Max 4". News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Gorgan, Elena (6 March 2009). "Mad Max Goes Anime, George Miller Confirms". Softpedia. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Kurosawa, Akira (5 March 2009). "Mad Max: The Anime?". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Turner, Brook (25 November 2011). "George Miller's new script". The Australian Financial Review. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Miranda Collinge (30 March 2015). "Tom Hardy Is Esquire's May Cover Star". Esquire. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" (PDF). Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Mad Max". The Numbers. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Road Warrior". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Crack In The Net - Facts". Mad Maxed. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Sperling, Nicole (7 July 2014). "Drive Like Hell". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "Mad Max". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Mad Max 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "Mad Max Memorabilia". Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  17. ^ Stratton, David (1990). The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry. Macmillan Publishers. p. 82. ISBN 0-73-2902509. 
  18. ^ Vieth, Errol; Moran, Albert (25 October 2005). Historical Dictionary of Australian and New Zealand Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 400. 
  19. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (10 June 2013). "E3 2013: Mad Max Announced for PlayStation 4". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  20. ^ Graser, Marc (1 July 2014). "‘Mad Max,’ ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Movies Get Mobile Games". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 

External links[edit]