|Original work||Mad Max (1979)|
Mad Max is an Australian post-apocalyptic action film series and media franchise created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy. It began in 1979 with Mad Max, and was followed by three sequels: Mad Max 2 (1981, released in the United States as The Road Warrior), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015); Miller directed or co-directed all four films. Mel Gibson starred in the first three films and Tom Hardy took over as Max in the fourth film.
The series follows the adventures of Max Rockatansky, a police officer in a future Australia which is experiencing societal collapse due to war and critical resource shortages. When his wife and child are murdered by a vicious biker gang, Max kills them in revenge and becomes a drifting loner in the Wasteland. As Australia devolves further into barbarity, Max finds himself helping pockets of civilisation, initially for his own self-interest, but his motives always drift into more altruistic ones.
The series has been well received by critics, with each film marked "Certified Fresh" on the film review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes; Mad Max 2 and Fury Road in particular have been ranked among the best action films ever made. The series has also had a significant influence on popular culture, most notably apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and encompasses works in additional media, including video games and comic books. In 2016, Fury Road became the first film of the Mad Max franchise to receive Academy Award recognition, winning six of its ten nominations.
North American rights to the original film were previously owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (via the libraries of Orion Pictures and American International Pictures), however, in 2021, North American rights to the original film reverted to Warner Bros., thus WB now owns the entire Mad Max franchise (except for Australia and New Zealand).
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)||Status|
|Mad Max||12 April 1979||George Miller||George Miller & James McCausland||George Miller & Byron Kennedy||Byron Kennedy||Released|
|Mad Max 2||24 December 1981||George Miller, Terry Hayes & Brian Hannant|
|Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome||10 July 1985||George Miller & George Ogilvie||George Miller & Terry Hayes||George Miller|
|Mad Max: Fury Road||15 May 2015||George Miller||George Miller, Brendan McCarthy & Nico Lathouris||George Miller, Doug Mitchell and PJ Voeten||Released|
|Mad Max: The Wasteland||TBA||George Miller and Nico Lathouris||George Miller and Doug Mitchell||In development|
|Furiosa||24 May 2024||George Miller||George Miller and Nico Lathouris||Doug Mitchell||George Miller and Doug Mitchell||Filming|
Mad Max (1979)
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian action film directed by George Miller. Written by Miller and James McCausland from a story by Miller and producer Byron Kennedy, set between 1983 and 1985, a few years after the 1973 oil crisis. It tells a story of societal breakdown, murder, and revenge. The film, starring the then little-known Mel Gibson, was released internationally in 1980. It became a top-grossing Australian film, while holding the record in the Guinness Book of Records for decades as the most profitable film ever created, and has been credited for further opening the global market to Australian New Wave films.
Mad Max 2 (1981)
Mad Max 2 (released as The Road Warrior in the United States) 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 boosted the career of Mel Gibson. The film's tale of a community of settlers that 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.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a 1985 film, the third installment in the 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. While Miller initially lost interest in the project after his friend and producer Byron Kennedy was killed in a helicopter crash, he later agreed to move forward with the assistance of Ogilvie.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth film and a “revisit” to the franchise (as described by Miller), is a 2015 post-apocalyptic action film co-written and directed by George Miller. While location scouting was reported to be underway in May 2009, production was delayed until June 2012 due to unusually high levels of rain in the Australian desert which detracted from the post-apocalyptic feeling that Miller wanted. Shooting ultimately took place in Namibia the following year. The film was 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.
Mad Max: The Wasteland (TBA)
In March 2015, Hardy revealed that he was attached to star in three more Mad Max films, following Fury Road. After the release of Fury Road, Miller announced that a sequel is in development, with the working title of Mad Max: The Wasteland. By January 2016, and after misleading reports which stated that the franchise was over, Miller re-affirmed that he is working on follow up movies. In July 2019, a question regarding unpaid earnings had to be resolved before moving forward with production which was resolved.
Miller and McCarthy found during the writing process for Mad Max: Fury Road that they had enough story material for two additional scripts. In March 2020, it was announced that a spin-off film centered around Furiosa was in development with auditions via Skype, including Anya Taylor-Joy. By May of the same year, the untitled prequel centered around Furiosa, was confirmed to be in active development. Miller explained that extensive backstories were created for the characters in Fury Road, and that with Furiosa an entire script was written. The filmmaker announced that the primary character will be recast. Though he had originally wanted to digitally de-age Theron to reprise the role, he decided against this after seeing The Irishman and deciding that technology has not yet overcome the uncanny valley. Colin Gibson and John Seale will return as production designer and cinematographer, respectively. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke will also star in unspecified roles. Filming began in June 2022 for a release date of May 24, 2024.
Cast and crew
This section shows characters who will appear or have appeared in the franchise.
- An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
- A indicates an appearance through archival footage.
- O indicates an older version of the character.
- Y indicates a younger version of the character.
|Characters||Original series||Reboot||Spin-off||Video game|
|Mad Max||Mad Max 2||Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome||Mad Max:
|Max Rockatansky||Mel Gibson||Tom Hardy||TBA||Bren Foster|
|Jessie Rockatansky||Joanne Samuel||Joanne SamuelA|
|Sprog Rockatansky||Brendan Heath||Brendan HeathA|
|Gyro Captain||Bruce Spence|
|Jedediah the Pilot|
|Imperator Furiosa||Charlize Theron||Anya Taylor-Joy|
|Immortan Joe||Hugh Keays-Byrne||Fred Tatasciore|
|Glory the Child||Coco Jack Gillies||Madison Carlon|
|Rictus Erectus||Nathan Jones|
|The Organic Mechanic||Angus Sampson||Fred Tatasciore|
|Jim "Goose" Rains||Steve Bisley|
|Bubba Zanetti||Geoff Parry|
|Johnny the Boy||Tim Burns|
|May Swaisey||Sheila Florence|
|The Humungus||Kjell Nilsson|
|The Feral Kid||Emil MintyY||Harold BaigentO|
|Warrior Woman||Virginia Hey|
|Aunty Entity||Tina Turner|
|Savannah Nix||Helen Buday|
|Jedediah Jr.||Adam Cockburn|
|Pig Killer||Robert Grubb|
|Ironbar Bassey||Angry Anderson|
|Splendid Angharad||Rosie Huntington-Whiteley|
|The Dag||Abbey Lee|
|Toast the Knowing||Zoë Kravitz|
|Cheedo the Fragile||Courtney Eaton|
|The People Eater||John Howard|
|The Bullet Farmer||Richard Carter|
|The Doof Warrior||iOTA|
|The Valkyrie||Megan Gale|
|Keeper of the Seeds||Melissa Jaffer|
|Scabrous Scrotus||Travis Willingham|
The series' protagonist, Max Rockatansky, was portrayed through the first three films by Mel Gibson. Tom Hardy took over the role for 2015's Fury Road. The series features a few recurring cast members in different roles. Bruce Spence played different aviators in two of the films, first the Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2 and then Jedediah the Pilot in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Hugh Keays-Byrne has taken antagonist roles twice: he played Toecutter in Mad Max and Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road. Max Fairchild appeared as Benno Swaisey in Mad Max and as "Broken Victim" of the Humungus's gang in Mad Max 2.
Additional crew and production details
|Mad Max||Brian May||David Eggby||Tony Paterson & Cliff Hayes||Kennedy Miller Productions,
Warner Bros. Pictures
|Mad Max 2||Dean Semler||David Stiven, Tim Wellburn & Michael Balson||Kennedy Miller Productions||1hr 36mins|
|Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome||Maurice Jarre||Richard Francis-Bruce||1hr 47mins|
|Junkie XL||John Seale||Margaret Sixel||Warner Bros. Pictures,
Village Roadshow Pictures,
Kennedy Miller Mitchell,
|TBA||TBA||TBA||Warner Bros. Pictures,
Village Roadshow Pictures,
Kennedy Miller Mitchell
|Furiosa||Junkie XL||John Seale||TBA||Village Roadshow Pictures,
Kennedy Miller Mitchell
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office gross||Budget||Ref(s)|
|Mad Max||12 April 1979||A$5,355,490||$8,750,000||~$91,250,000||~$100,000,000||A$200,000|||
|Mad Max 2||24 December 1981||A$10,847,491||$23,667,907||$21,000,000R||$36,000,000R||A$4.5 million|||
|Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome||10 July 1985||A$4,272,802||$36,230,219||$16,000,000R||$52,000,000R||A$12 million|||
|Mad Max: Fury Road||15 May 2015||A$21,606,347||$153,121,629||$205,000,000||$374,736,354||US$150 million|||
Critical and public response
|Mad Max||90% (62 reviews)||73 (14 reviews)|
|Mad Max 2||94% (47 reviews)||77 (15 reviews)|
|Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome||80% (51 reviews)||71 (18 reviews)|
|Mad Max: Fury Road||97% (433 reviews)||90 (51 reviews)|
|Title||U.S. release date||Length||Composer(s)||Label|
|Mad Max: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||30 April 1980||31:25||Brian May|
|Mad Max 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||11 January 1982||35:08||Brian May|
|Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||August 1985||44:27||Maurice Jarre (score), Terry Britten/Graham Lyle/Holly Knight (songs)|
|Mad Max: Fury Road (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)||12 May 2015||71:01||Tom Holkenborg a.k.a. Junkie XL||WaterTower Music|
Many licensed products are based on the Mad Max franchise. Products include novels, comic books, video games, and other materials.
Novelizations of the first three films have also been published by QB Books. The first two novelisations were written by Terry Hayes, who ended up co-writing the script for the second film after getting along well with Miller. A novelisation for the third film was written by Joan D. Vinge.
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. Mindscape did develop another Mad Max game originally titled The Road Warrior for SNES and Sega Genesis, but due to Mindscape losing the license before completion they changed the title to Outlander to avoid legal issues. Outlander was released in 1992 for Sega Genesis and SNES. Later, 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 was released in September 2015 for Linux, OS X, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One, with the titular character being voiced by Bren Foster.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a limited comic book series created by George Miller, Nico Lathouris, and Mark Sexton. Serving as a prequel to the 2015 film of the same name, the series focuses on several of the film's characters. It consists of four issues. Beginning in May 2015, Vertigo published one issue per month, ending in August. A single-volume collection of all of the issues was published on 26 August. Reception of the series has been mixed; some consider it unnecessary and poorly executed, and many harshly criticised the issue centred on Imperator Furiosa. However, the issue focused on Nux and Immortan Joe and the two issues focused on Max Rockatansky were received more positively.
- The trailer for the 2021 film Space Jam: A New Legacy revealed the film's inclusion of Mad Max characters among other Warner Bros characters in crowd scenes. In the actual film, in addition to characters being spectators, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner appear in the Mad Max world doing their classic chase with Wile E. as a War Boy, before Bugs Bunny and LeBron James show up to get them both. Footage from Fury Road is featured with the duo edited into it.
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