nullOne of the most memorable film going
experiences in my life was when I went to the very first showing on opening day of
George Miller’s "The Road Warrior" ("Mad Max" 2), in May 1982, in a theater in Los

Everyone in the packed house knew that we were going to get something good. Instead we got
something that was great. It was different, unique, something that we had never
seen before. (Though it’s been ripped off numerous times since then.)  When the final credits came on, the audience
gave it a rousing ovation that lasted nearly 5 minutes. It still remains, to
this day, a film that defines what action cinema is.

When "Mad Max
Beyond Thunderdome" came out three years later, there were signs of worry. The film’s
PG-13 rating lowered expectations big time, and it still remains a
disappointment. Though it does have its defenders and its compensations – mainly
Tina Turner as well as the final chase sequence – the rough edges of the last "Mad Max" film were smoothed off, and it was too kid friendly, and too studio compromised
to be truly effective.

So when
Miller, after making a few kid movies such as "Babe" and those "Happy Feet" animated films, and years of delays and setbacks, started production on "Mad Max
Fury Road," in Namibia literally three years ago, expectations were high.

Now after
three years of anxious, nerve racking waiting, "Fury Road" has burst upon the screen, and not only is it everything that "Mad Max" and R-rated action fans were
expecting, it transcended them. As far as I’m concerned it’s the film of year. I don’t
care if it’s May; by December, it will still be the film of the year. How much
do like it? I saw it twice before it was released on Friday in 2D and 3D (which
doesn’t make a whole lot of difference). It’s a brilliantly directed, visually
jaw dropping, pulse pounding film, with a hard busting, driving rock music
score. I want to get the CD soundtrack and crank it up to annoy my neighbors. (Though I have been beat by one friend who’s seen it three times already in 24 hours)

Miller takes
ideas, themes and visual elements from the previous "Mad Max" films, but ramps
them to nearly the breaking point. What few naysayers who have a problem with – the thin storyline and lack of dialogue – are completely missing the point.
It’s action cinema. It’s movement, editing,
photography and pacing.

Though the
film used some CGI for enhancement in certain scenes, such as during the
dust storm sequence, it’s an old fashioned action cinema. Instead of the overbearing
animated CGI effects seen in too many films, "Fury Road" obeys the rules of physics
(i.e. no cars flying in the air through buildings unlike a certain recent film
I won’t mention), and paying close attention to the spatial relationships in the
frame during the action scenes. In other words, you can tell where everyone is
in relationship to everyone else, and their surroundings. "Fury Road" is a masterclass
on how to direct action.

And audiences
this weekend responded to the film, with it earning $44 million.

And yet…and yet…
It got BEATEN.

Beaten by some
“Glee” rip-off with fat jokes. WTF?

Perfect 2" actually beat "Fury Road" this weekend by some $26 million, with some $70.3

What? Why?
Who’s responsible for this? What’s happened to men? You let some girls beat you?
You’ve all gotten castrated or something? You let your girlfreinds tell you what to see? How did this happen?

While almost
every box office analyst said that it would be neck and neck between "PP2" and "Fury Road" this weekend, only WGN Chicago radio’s Erik Childress, for several
weeks, kept to his prediction that "PP2" would far out gross "Fury Road" this weekend.
How did he know? Seems that though the first "Pitch Perfect" film was only a
modest hit, earning some $65 million domestically, and about $117 million
worldwide, it became a huge smash on cable and video. It fact, it still holds the
record for the most watched film ever on HBO. Evidently there’s a huge, secret, evil, underground cult of "Pitch Perfect" fanatics, and they have been quietly lying in wait
for the next "PP" movie.

In fact, he predicts that the film, directed by actress Elizabeth Banks, could go on to gross something like $220 million domestically, which
would tie it with the biggest grossing film directed by a woman ever. The other film is, believe or not, "Alvin and the
Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," directed by Betty Thomas, which earned $220 million
domestically. As the old saying goes, you just can’t go broke underestimating
the tastes of the American public

However, this
doesn’t spell the end of "Fury Road." The film should gross at least $130-150 million domestically; and overseas, as expected, the film is a b.o. monster,with $65 million in 68 territories this weekend with the film being No.1 at the box office in 40 of them, And the film has yet to open in most of Asia which will take it even higher. At this point, "Fury Road" looks headed for a minimum $500 million worldwide, at
least, which the studio will be happy with.

Avengers: The Age of Ultron" came in third, with $38.8 million, meanwhile Fox/DreamWorks
animated film, "Home," is still hanging in there in the top ten, while "Cinderella" looks to be headed to hitting
close to the $200 million mark, though it may not actually reach it.

1) Pitch Perfect 2     Uni.     $70,300,000    
2) Mad Max: Fury Road     WB     $44,440,000    
3) Avengers: Age of Ultron     BV     $38,837,000     Total: $372,008,000    
4) Hot Pursuit     WB     $5,780,000     Total:    $23,504,000    
5) Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2     Sony     $3,600,000     Total:    $62,929,000    
6) Furious 7     Uni.     $3,600,000      Total: $343,800,000    
7) The Age of Adaline     LGF     $3,200,000     Total: $37,072,000    
8) Home     Fox     $2,700,000      Total: $165,647,000    
9) Ex Machina     A24     $2,103,000  Total:  $19,566,000    
10) Far from the Madding Crowd     FoxS     $1,300,000      Total:     $2,631,000    
11) Woman in Gold     Wein.     $1,190,000      Total: $28,952,000    
12) Cinderella     BV     $628,000      Total: $197,228,000