Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jason Moore|
|Screenplay by||Kay Cannon|
|Based on||Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory
by Mickey Rapkin
|Edited by||Zach Chemberlene|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Pitch Perfect is a 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore. Featuring an ensemble cast, including Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Adam DeVine, with John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks, the plot follows a college women's a cappella group, The Barden Bellas, as they compete against another a cappella group from their college to win Nationals. The film is loosely adapted from Mickey Rapkin's non-fiction book, titled Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory. Filming concluded in December 2011, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The film premiered in Los Angeles on September 24, 2012. Released on September 28, 2012, in the United States, the film met with positive reviews from critics. It became a sleeper hit and earned over $113 million worldwide, becoming the second highest grossing music comedy film, behind School of Rock.
At a national a cappella competition, the Barden University's all-female a cappella group, the Barden Bellas, perform well until Aubrey Posen projectile vomits on stage during her solo. They are publicly humiliated, losing any chance of winning. Four months later, newly arrived Barden freshman Beca Mitchell has no desire to attend college, but she is forced to do so by her father, a professor at the university, with whom Beca has a strained relationship. Wishing she could instead pursue a career in music making, Beca spends her time making mash-up mixes of songs and takes up an internship at the school radio station, where she meets fellow freshman Jesse Swanson, who is immediately attracted to her.
When Beca's father discovers she has not been attending classes, he comes to her with a proposition: if she joins a club and still does not want to remain at college after one year, he will allow her to leave school, and he will pay for Beca to move to Los Angeles to pursue her music career. After some persuasion from group leader Chloe Beale, she reluctantly joins the Barden Bellas. Aubrey does not initially approve of recruiting Beca, but yields nonetheless due to a desperate need for members and Beca's talent. Beca joins alongside a group of other women who do not fit the Bellas' typical mold: Cynthia-Rose, Stacie Conrad, Lilly Onakuramara, and Fat Amy. Jesse is also revealed to have joined the Bellas' all-male rival group, the Treblemakers.
The Bellas participate in the southeastern regional competition at Carolina University where, at Aubrey's insistence, they perform the same medley that helped the Bellas advance to the finals the previous year. In spite of their old set list, the group manages to place second, which gives them the bid to semi-finals. A brief scuffle after the competition leads to Beca's arrest by the police. Jesse tries to help by calling Beca's father, who then tells Beca that he will no longer pay for her to move to Los Angeles. This infuriates Beca, which turns her budding friendship with Jesse sour. In the meantime, Beca suggests to the Bellas to try and be more daring, but Aubrey insists that they will win with the repertoire the group has always used in the past.
At the semi-finals, Beca provides an impromptu back-up of one of her favorite songs into the "traditional" song on the Bellas' set list to reinvigorate the crowd after they seemed to have lost interest. The Bellas come in third in the competition behind the Treblemakers and the Footnotes. Even though the audience seemed to enjoy Beca's remix, Aubrey becomes furious with Beca, who in turn quits. When the Footnotes are later disqualified from the national competition because the lead singer was in high school, the Bellas are called to take part instead. The Bellas re-form after spring break, with the notable exception of Beca. During rehearsals, Chloe stands up against Aubrey's stubbornness. The group starts to fall apart, which sparks a fight. Meanwhile, Beca tries to apologize to Jesse, which he declines. Beca then apologizes to the Bellas for her actions during the semi-finals and asks to have another chance, which Aubrey eventually allows. After having a group heart-to-heart conversation, the Bellas decide to adopt Beca's more modern and original music style. Meanwhile, group leader Bumper leaves the Treblemakers after being offered a job as a back-up singer for John Mayer. With Bumper gone, Jesse persuades the Trebles to let his previously-rejected roommate Benji join the group in Bumper's place.
At the a cappella national competition, the Bellas sing a piece arranged by Beca, which includes "Don't You (Forget About Me)" a song featured in The Breakfast Club, one of Jesse's favorite movies. This acts as a more effective apology from Beca, and after the performance, she and Jesse kiss. The Bellas win the national competition, and six months later, auditions for new members take place.
- The Barden Bellas
- Anna Kendrick as Beca Mitchell, a reclusive and rebellious Barden freshman who wants to pursue a music career; she joins the Barden Bellas to appease her father and finds herself being caught up in their world.
- Anna Camp as Aubrey Posen, the uptight and traditionalist co-leader of the Bellas; when she vomited at Nationals the previous year, she ruined the Bellas' chance at winning. She is constantly critical and insists that The Bellas use the same set list the Bellas have been using for years.
- Brittany Snow as Chloe Beale, the kinder and more civil co-leader of the Bellas, whose attempts to get Aubrey to listen to Beca's suggestions get ignored. Chloe gets "nodes" but continues to sing when she discovers she could sing in a substantially lower tessitura following the surgery.
- Rebel Wilson as Fat Patricia "Fat Amy", a comedic and eccentric member of the Bellas from Tasmania.
- Ester Dean as Cynthia-Rose Adams, a black tomboyish member of the Bellas and a lesbian.
- Alexis Knapp as Stacie Conrad, a highly sexually-driven member of the Bellas.
- Hana Mae Lee as Lilly Onakuramara, a strange member of the Bellas who speaks too quietly to be heard but is later revealed to be a talented beatboxer.
- Kelly Alice Jakle as Jessica, a bubbly yet absent-minded member of the Bellas.
- Wanetah Walmsley as Denise, a member of the Bellas.
- Shelley Regner as Ashley, a member of the Bellas who is also a beatboxer.
- The Treblemakers
- Skylar Astin as Jesse Swanson, an outgoing Barden freshman who hopes to one day become a film score composer due to his great love for films. He joins the Barden Treblemakers.
- Ben Platt as Benjamin Benji Applebaum, Jesse's nerdy roommate and an illusionist, who is a fan of the Treblemakers and Star Wars. He later joins the group after Bumper loses his spot as team leader.
- Adam DeVine as Bumper Allen, the egotistical leader of the Treblemakers.
- Utkarsh Ambudkar as Donald, Bumper's right-hand man, who beatboxes, raps, and is a main vocalist.
- Michael Viruet as Unicycle, a member of the Treblemakers.
- David Del Rio as Kolio, a member of the Treblemakers.
- Gregory Gorenc as Greg, a member of the Treblemakers.
- Wes Lagarde as "Hat", a member of the Treblemakers. He is never given an official name as hat is Bumper's nickname for him.
- Steven Bailey as Steven, a member of the Treblemakers.
- Brian Silver as Brian, a member of the Treblemakers.
- Michael Anaya as Michael, a member of the Treblemakers.
- Additional Characters
- Nicole Lovince as Kori, a former member of the Bellas who was kicked out for having sexual relations with a Treblemaker.
- Caroline Fourmy as Mary Elise, a former member of the Bellas who was also kicked out for having sexual relations with a Treblemaker.
- Freddie Stroma as Luke, the radio station manager who plays Beca's DJ mixes on the air.
- Jinhee Joung as Kimmy-Jin, Beca's Korean American roommate whom she initially mistakes her cold reception as an inability to speak English.
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Tommy, the university's constantly harassed audition launcher.
- John Michael Higgins as John Smith, a commentator for the ICCAs.
- Elizabeth Banks as Gail Abernathy-McKadden, a commentator for the ICCAs.
- John Benjamin Hickey as Dr. Mitchell, Beca's father, a professor at the college, who insists that she attend classes and get involved.
The film is based on Mickey Rapkin's non-fiction book Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory. Rapkin, senior editor at GQ magazine, spent a season covering competitive collegiate a cappella. He followed the Tufts University Beelzebubs, the University of Oregon Divisi (the loose inspiration for the Bellas), and the University of Virginia Hullabahoos (who have a cameo in the film), writing about the singing, groupies, partying and rivalries. Two members of the a cappella community, Ed Boyer and Deke Sharon, both in Rapkin's book, were brought on board to arrange songs, produce vocals and act as on-site music directors. The film was shot throughout campus and inside buildings at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Elizabeth Banks is a co-producer and a co-star in the film.
The casting department included Justin Coulter, Rich Delia, Allison Estrin, and Michael Roth. Producer Elizabeth Banks appears throughout the film alongside John Michael Higgins as commentators for the competitions.
Paul Brooks stated "First and foremost, we were looking for actors who had comedic instincts and thought we'd get lucky with terrific actors who happened to be funny and can actually dance and maybe sing. It turns out we did get lucky with our cast!" According to producer Elizabeth Banks, "The character Beca required someone who was grounded, who has a strong point of view on the world, who is funny and empathetic and someone who we can all relate to and root for." Of Kendrick she said, "Anna is all those things, and there was no other choice." Fellow producer Brooks said "I saw Anna in Up in the Air and thought it was the most exquisite, elegant, balanced, sublime performance. Anna was our first choice for the role of Beca."
When casting the character of Jesse, Max Handelman said "We were looking for a young John Cusack-type guy. We needed to find someone who was kind of awkward but not a geek, but not so cool that you're not rooting for him." Skylar Astin was chosen for the role. Of Astin's audition, Banks said the chemistry between Skylar and Anna when they read together prior to shooting was "clear and they were able to riff off each other."
Rebel Wilson was recognized for her performance in the comedy film Bridesmaids upon auditioning for the role of Fat Amy, which she won instantly. Moore recalled Wilson singing Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory" while beating "on her chest with her fists". He said, "I didn't even hear the end of the song because I was laughing so hard. There's this beautiful openness to the way Rebel approaches everything, and that's what works great for the character. She's fearless". Adam DeVine was personally chosen by Banks and Handelman for the role of Bumper after they saw him on the television series Workaholics. Banks confessed that she and her husband are "big Workaholics fans" and after watching one night during the film's casting, they saw DeVine and "immediately thought" he would be a good choice for Bumper. He declined because he was not a singer. DeVine eventually surprised Banks and Handelman with his vocal skills. Anna Camp was chosen for the role of Aubrey. Producer Max Handelman said, "Elizabeth and I were huge fans of Anna's from True Blood. Aubrey is set up as the antagonist for Beca, and Beca's already a bit hard-edged, so it was so important to find an actress who could play Aubrey as someone who could marshal the crazy but also was sympathetic."
The world premiere took place on September 24, 2012, at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles, California. Pitch Perfect earned $65,001,093 (57.5%) in the United States, and a further $48,040,982 (42.5%) internationally, for a worldwide box office gross of $101,866,000 since release. The film opened in limited release in the United States and Canada on September 28, 2012, and wide release in the United States and Canada on October 5, 2012. It grossed $1,755,935 upon its opening day of limited release and $4,889,050 on its first day of wide release. In its wide opening weekend, the film opened at number three, behind Taken 2 and Hotel Transylvania, grossing $14,846,830. The opening weekend audience was 81 percent female, which is considered overwhelming. The opening weekend also attracted a younger audience with 55% of the opening weekend audience being under the age of 25. The film has become the second highest grossing music comedy film, behind School of Rock ($81.2 million). It is also the seventh highest grossing college comedy film, behind Road Trip ($68.5 million).
Pitch Perfect received generally positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 81% based on 137 reviews. Metacritic give a score of 66/100 on based on reviews from 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A rating.
NPR's David Edelstein selected it as one of the top films of the year and Entertainment Weekly chose the soundtrack as one of the year's best. Chris Tookey of the Daily Mail praised Rebel Wilson in particular for her performance. Roger Ebert gave the film 2 stars out of 4, and praised Rebel Wilson for her "ebullient, unstoppable and raucous" performance.
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Award||Best Actress in a Comedy||Rebel Wilson||Nominated|
|Detroit Film Critics Society Award||Breakthrough Performance||Rebel Wilson||Nominated|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors||Best Music in a Musical Feature Film||Pitch Perfect||Won|
|MTV Movie Award||Best Breakthrough Performance||Rebel Wilson||Won|
|Best Musical Moment||Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, and Hana Mae Lee||Won|
|Best WTF Moment||Anna Camp ("Hack-Appella")||Nominated|
|Best Female Performance||Rebel Wilson||Nominated|
|People's Choice Award||Favorite Comedy Movie||Pitch Perfect||Nominated|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress||Rebel Wilson||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Comedy||Pitch Perfect||Won|
|Choice Movie Actress: Comedy||Anna Kendrick||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actress: Comedy||Rebel Wilson||Won|
|Choice Movie Actor: Comedy||Skylar Astin||Won|
|Choice Scene Stealer||Ben Platt||Nominated|
|Choice Scene Stealer||Hana Mae Lee||Nominated|
|Choice Breakout Performance||Adam DeVine||Nominated|
|Best Villain||Adam DeVine||Won|
|American Music Awards||Favorite Soundtrack||Pitch Perfect||Won|
Pitch Perfect: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released digitally on September 25, 2012, and physically on October 2, 2012. Three of the songs from the album, including the highly covered "Cups", charted on the Billboard Hot 100. As of April 2014, the album sold 1,054,420 copies in the United States, making it the best selling soundtrack of 2013.
In April 2013, it was confirmed that a sequel would be released in 2015. Elizabeth Banks will direct the sequel, with Kay Cannon returning as screenwriter. Brooks will produce for Gold Circle Films alongside Banks and Max Handelman. Gold Circle's Scott Niemeyer will executive produce. Cannon will co-produce with Gold Circle's Jeff Levine. Kendrick, Astin, Wilson, Camp, Snow, Platt, DeVine, Dean, Knapp, Jakle, Regner, Walmsley, Banks, and Higgins will all reprise their roles in the upcoming sequel. Additionally, Hailee Steinfeld and Chrissie Fit will be joining the cast as Emily and Flo, new Barden Bellas, while Katey Sagal will join as Emily's mother, and German YouTube star Flula Burg will be appearing in an unknown role.
It was announced in January 2014 that the sequel would be released on May 15, 2015.
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