Mad Max (franchise)
Official franchise logo
|Original work||Mad Max (1979)|
|Comics||See printed details|
|Films and television|
|Film(s)||See list of films|
|Video game(s)||See game details|
Mad Max is an Australian post-apocalyptic action media franchise created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy. It began in 1979 with Mad Max, and was followed by three films: Mad Max 2 (1981, released in the United States as The Road Warrior), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). 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, this skilled warrior of the road finds himself helping pockets of civilisation, initially for his own self-interest, but his motives always drift into more idealistic ones.
The series has been well-received by critics, with each film marked "Certified Fresh" on the film review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes; Mad Max 2 and Fury Road in particular have been ranked among the best action films ever made. Furthermore, 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, including being nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for Miller, and winning six of its ten nominations.
|Film||Release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)||Status|
|Mad Max||April 12, 1979||George Miller[a]||George Miller & James McCausland||George Miller & Byron Kennedy||Byron Kennedy||Released|
|Mad Max 2||December 24, 1981||George Miller, Terry Hayes & Brian Hannant|
|Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome||July 10, 1985||George Miller & Terry Hayes||George Miller|
|Mad Max: Fury Road||May 14, 2015||George Miller, Brendan McCarthy & Nico Lathouris||George Miller, Doug Mitchell and PJ Voeten|
|Untitled prequel film||TBA||George Miller & Nico Lathouris||TBA||In development|
- Miller co-directed the third Mad Max film with George Ogilvie
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 launched 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 instalment 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.
Untitled prequel film (TBA)
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 uncanny valley. Colin Gibson and John Seale will return as production designer and cinematographer, respectively. Filming is expected to begin in 2021.
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 stated that the franchise was over, Miller reaffirmed that he is working on followup movies.
Cast and crew
- A dark grey cell indicates that the character was not in the film or that the character's presence in the film has yet to be announced.
- An O indicates a role as an older version of the character.
- An Y indicates a role as a younger version of the character.
- An A indicates a role represented with archival footage or stills.
|Characters||Original series||Reboot||Prequel||Video game|
|Mad Max||Mad Max 2||Mad Max
|Untitled prequel film||Mad Max|
|Max Rockatansky||Mel Gibson||Tom Hardy||TBA||Bren Foster|
|Toecutter||Immortan Joe||Hugh Keays-Byrne||Hugh Keays-Byrne||Fred Tatasciore|
|Jessie Rockatansky||Joanne Samuel||Joanne SamuelA|
|Sprog Rockatansky||Brendan Heath||Brendan HeathA|
|Gyro Captain||Bruce Spence|
|Jedediah the Pilot|
|Imperator Furiosa||Charlize Theron||TBA|
|Glory the Child||Coco Jack Gillies||Madison Carlon|
|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|
|Rictus Erectus||Nathan Jones|
|The People Eater||John Howard|
|The Bullet Farmer||Richard Carter|
|The Doof Warrior||iOTA|
|The Valkyrie||Megan Gale|
|Keeper of the Seeds||Melissa Jaffer|
|The Organic Mechanic||Angus Sampson||Fred Tatasciore|
|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.
|Running time||MPAA rating|
|Mad Max||Brian May||David Eggby||Tony Paterson & Cliff Hayes||Kennedy Miller Productions,
|Roadshow Film Distributors,
|Mad Max 2||Dean Semler||David Stiven, Tim Wellburn & Michael Balson||Kennedy Miller Productions||Roadshow Film Distributors,
Warner Bros. Pictures: an AOL Time Warner Company
|Maurice Jarre||Richard Francis-Bruce||Roadshow Film Distributors,
|Junkie XL||John Seale||Margaret Sixel||Warner Bros. Pictures,
Village Roadshow Pictures,
Kennedy Miller Mitchell Productions,
Warner Bros. Pictures
|Untitled prequel film||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBD|
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$380,000|||
|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% (7.74/10 average rating) (61 reviews)||73 (14 reviews)|
|Mad Max 2||93% (8.43/10 average rating) (45 reviews)||77 (15 reviews)|
|Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome||80% (6.46/10 average rating) (50 reviews)||71 (18 reviews)|
|Mad Max: Fury Road||97% (8.6/10 average rating) (418 reviews)||90 (51 reviews)|
- Mad Max (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1980)
- Mad Max 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1982)
- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1985) – Featuring songs performed by Tina Turner including "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" and "One of the Living".
- Mad Max: Fury Road: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2015)
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 developed another Mad Max game originally title 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 and 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.
Comic book series
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.
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