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||Lisa Zeno Churgin|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$115.4 million|
Pitch Perfect is a 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore. It features an ensemble cast, including Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Adam DeVine, Ben Platt, John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks. The plot follows Barden University's all-girl 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 received positive reviews from critics. It became a sleeper hit and earned over $115 million worldwide, becoming the second highest-grossing music comedy film of all time behind School of Rock. It is the first film in the film series and was followed by two sequels, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) and Pitch Perfect 3 (2017).
At a 2011 national a cappella competition, Barden University's all-female a cappella group, the Barden Bellas, perform well until Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp) vomits on herself on stage during her solo. They are publicly humiliated, losing the competition. Four months later, newly arrived Barden freshman Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick) has no desire to attend college, but she is forced to do so by her father (John Benjamin Hickey), a professor at the university, with whom Beca has a strained relationship. Wishing she could instead pursue a career as a music producer in Los Angeles, Beca spends her time making mash-up mixes of songs and takes up an internship at the school radio station, where she gets to know fellow freshman Jesse Swanson (Skylar Astin).
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 college, and he will pay for Beca to move to Los Angeles to pursue her music career. After some persuasion from Chloe Beale (Brittany Snow) the co-leader of the Bellas along with Aubrey, 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 (Ester Dean), Stacie Conrad (Alexis Knapp), Lilly Onakuramara (Hana Mae Lee), and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson). Jesse is also revealed to have joined the Bellas' all-male rival group, the Treblemakers, but his roommate Benji (Ben Platt) was rejected after being called "weird" by Bumper.
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 sends them to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, disaster strikes for Beca when the Treblemakers cause an uproar with an old a capella group after the competition. The Bellas try to intervene, but Beca accidentally smashes a window with the trophy, which alerts a police officer standing outside who then arrests her. Jesse later bails Beca out, but makes matters worse by getting her father involved in the situation, who is furious and tells Beca that he will no longer pay for her to move to Los Angeles because of the incident. This infuriates Beca, which turns her budding friendship with Jesse sour. In the meantime, Beca suggests to the Bellas to try to 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 in an attempt to reinvigorate the crowd after they seemed to have lost interest. Even though the audience seemed to enjoy Beca's remix, the Bellas come in third in the competition behind the Treblemakers and the Footnotes. Aubrey becomes furious with Beca, who in turn quits, with the Bellas losing on their chance to advance due to their third place ranking. Benji, however, finds out that the Footnotes have recruited a high school student into their team and reports it, causing their disqualification and simultaneously advancing the Bellas to the finals by default. They 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. Aubrey and Chloe relinquish their leadership to Beca. Meanwhile, Treblemakers leader Bumper (Adam DeVine) leaves after being offered a job as a back-up singer for John Mayer. With Bumper gone, Jesse persuades the Trebles to let Benji join the group in Bumper's place.
At the a cappella national competition, the Treblemakers perform, with Benji performing for the first time. 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, an introverted and rebellious 18-year-old freshman who joins the Barden Bellas to appease her professor father and finds herself starting to enjoy being a part of the Bellas and ends up becoming the new leader.
- Anna Camp as Aubrey Posen, the uptight and traditionalist co-leader of the Bellas. She is at the age of 22. She doesn't like Beca's attitude at first, but later she decides to let Beca lead the Bellas.
- Brittany Snow as Chloe Beale, the kinder and more civil co-leader of the Bellas. She is 21. She had nodes before it was removed during the spring break. After Beca leads the Bellas, Chloe hits low notes.
- Rebel Wilson as Patricia "Fat Amy", a comical member from Tasmania who is 19.
- Alexis Knapp as Stacie Conrad, a highly sexually driven member of the Bellas.
- Ester Dean as Cynthia-Rose Adams, a soul singer.
- Hana Mae Lee as Lilly Onakuramara, a strange quietly-spoken student but a talented beatboxer. After Beca leads the Bellas, she becomes audible.
- Kelley Alice Jakle as Jessica, bubbly yet absent-minded.
- Shelley Regner as Ashley, a beatboxer.
- Wanetah Walmsley as Denise, the group's original bassist. She is presumed to be an ex-lover of Cynthia Rose because she mouths, "l still love you," as Cynthia Rose "confesses" to being a lesbian.
- The Treblemakers
- Skylar Astin as Jesse Swanson, an outgoing Barden freshman at the age of 18 who hopes to one day become a film score composer. He joins the Barden Treblemakers. After Bumper left the Treblemakers, Jesse takes lead and take Benji into the team.
- Ben Platt as Benji Applebaum, Jesse's roommate, friend, and an illusionist. A fan of the Treblemakers, he was rejected during auditions. However, he became a Treblemaker after Jesse takes lead.
- Adam DeVine as Bumper Allen, the 22-year-old egotistical leader of the Treblemakers. Before The Finals, he got a call and decided to leave the Treblemakers. He gave Jesse his place.
- Utkarsh Ambudkar as Donald, Bumper's right-hand man, who beatboxes, raps, and is a lead vocalist. He had sex with Kori, leading to her expulsion from the Barden Bellas.
- Michael Viruet as Unicycle
- David Del Rio as Kolio
- Gregory Gorenc as Greg
- Wes Lagarde as "Hat." He is never referred to by his real name; Hat is Bumper's nickname for him.
- Steven Bailey as Steven
- Brian Silver as Brian
- Michael Anaya as Michael
- Additional Characters
- Kether Donohue as Alice, the former leader of the Bellas when Aubrey and Chloe were juniors.
- Nicole Lovince as Kori, a former member of the Bellas who was kicked out for having sex with Donald, one of the Treblemakers.
- Caroline Fourmy as Mary Elise, a former member of the Bellas who was also kicked out for having sex with a Treblemaker.
- Freddie Stroma as Luke, the radio station manager who plays Beca's DJ mixes on the air. He calls Beca as "Becky".
- Jinhee Joung as Kimmy-Jin, Beca's Korean American roommate, whose initial cold reception leads Beca to ask if she can 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. Benjamin Mitchell, Beca's father, a professor at the college, who insists that she attend classes and get involved
- Drew Seeley as male voice #5, he sings for the Treblemakers
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. Rapkin's book mainly covers the singing, groupies, partying and rivalries. Two members of the a cappella community, Deke Sharon, who founded the International Championship of College A Cappella, and Ed Boyer, both in Rapkin's book, were brought on board to arrange songs, produce vocals and act as on-site music directors, where they ran a month-long "a cappella boot camp". 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 initially 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 film was released on September 28, 2012 in the United States.
Pitch Perfect grossed $65 million in the North America and $50.3 million in other territories for a total gross of $115.4 million since release, against a $17 million budget.
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 $1.8 million upon its opening day of limited release and $4.9 million 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 $14.8 million. 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 is the third highest-grossing music comedy film, behind its sequel, Pitch Perfect 2, and School of Rock.
Pitch Perfect received positive reviews from critics. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 81%, based on 140 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Pitch Perfect's plot is formulaic, but the performances are excellent and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well." Metacritic give a score of 66 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
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.
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. It was 2013's best-selling soundtrack album and has sold 1.2 million copies in the United States as of April 2015.
In April 2013, it was confirmed that a sequel would be released in 2015. Elizabeth Banks would direct the sequel, with Kay Cannon returning as screenwriter. Brooks would produce for Gold Circle Films alongside Banks and Max Handelman. Cannon would co-produce with Gold Circle's Jeff Levine. Kendrick, Astin, Wilson, Camp, Snow, Platt, DeVine, Dean, Knapp, Jakle, Regner, Walmsley, Banks, and Higgins would all reprise their roles in the sequel. Additionally, Hailee Steinfeld and Chrissie Fit would join the cast as Emily and Flo, new Barden Bellas, while Katey Sagal would join as Emily's mother, and German YouTube star Flula Borg would appear in an unknown role.
It was announced in January 2014 that the sequel would be released on May 15, 2015. On June 10, 2015, plans for a third film were officially confirmed, with Kay Cannon returning to write the script.
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