Pitch Perfect 2 strikes chord for record box office bow, cruising past Mad Max: Fury Road

Rebel Wilson stars in Pitch Perfect 2. -- PHOTO: UIP
Rebel Wilson stars in Pitch Perfect 2. -- PHOTO: UIP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Musical comedy sequel Pitch Perfect 2 hit the high notes at the North American box office this weekend, drowning out the noisy mayhem of action movie Mad Max: Fury Road to take top spot, estimated figures showed Sunday.

The follow-up to the 2012 hit about a collegiate female a cappella singing group scored a stunning opening weekend in the United States and Canada, taking US$70.3 million (S$92.85 million), according to data from box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

It is believed to be the highest opening weekend for a musical in history, delivering a stunning success for actress-turned-director Elizabeth Banks in her first feature-length movie.

The comedy, starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson, follows the fortunes of the Barden Bellas singing team as they chase international success after being banned from the a cappella competitive circuit.

The success of the sequel ensured that the reboot of Australian director George Miller's Mad Max franchise was left in second place.

The fourth film of the iconic series - the first since 1985's Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome - took US$44.4 million in its opening three days.

Superhero blockbuster "Avengers: Age of Ultron" was relegated to third spot after dominating the box office for the previous two weekends.

The latest instalment of the franchise based on the iconic Marvel comics characters took US$38.8 million as its worldwide earnings surged past the US$1 billion mark.

The top three box office films left the rest of the pack in their dust, with critically panned comedy Hot Pursuit coming in a distant fourth with US$5.8 million.

Fifth place was taken by Furious 7 the final film in the successful Fast and Furious franchise, adding just more than US$3.6 million in earnings to push its North American total to US$343.8 million.

Sixth was occupied by Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the comedy about a hapless shopping mall security guard, with US$3.6 million.

Seventh place went to fantasy drama The Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively as a woman in the 1920s who mysteriously stops aging after being involved in a car accident. The film took US$3.2 million.

Home, an animated children's film about an unpopular space alien forced to flee his own kind, was eighth with US$2.7 million, ahead of science-fiction thriller Ex Machina in ninth with US$2.1 million.

Rounding out the top 10 was Far From the Madding Crowd, the adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel, which took US$1.3 million.