Pitch Perfect was pretty much the movie that made a cappella cool again, after Glee jumped the shark at least twice and became a TV-long marketing campaign for iTunes. The first film, released in 2012, was a surprise hit with critics and later a sleeper hit with audiences, mostly due to how much it was always on TV when you flipped through the channels. The sequel, while it still had its enjoyable moments and likable characters, sadly suffered from a bad case of a ca-sequelitis, pretty much doing the exact same thing that the first movie did story-wise. It still made a lot of money though. So out of Hollywood necessity, we’re getting a Pitch Perfect 3, with Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Rebel Wilson and Brittany Snow reprising their roles once again.
However, as of Tuesday, Universal Studios has announced its decision to move the release date of the third entry from July 21, 2017, to Dec. 22, 2017. This is both a strange decision to make, and probably a bad marketing idea as well. The first being that Pitch Perfect as a franchise fairs better in the giant pool of summer movies and blockbusters, the point where viewers take the time off to go see a movie in order to pass the time away. Having originally announced that the new date was going to be August 4th, it doesn’t make all that much sense to add an extra four months to that waiting time, even if the amount of people waiting eagerly for a third Pitch Perfect isn’t all that high. Now, the movie will be placed into the winter/holiday movie group, which mostly consists of leftover movies, films built up over the year and Oscar-bait films, none of which really fit the description of this kind of film. This makes the film seem very out of its element, sitting in a timeslot that doesn’t really fit the kind of film that it is: a fun, if not predictable movie about a cappella singers singing their way to victory over college/pro-league obstacles.
In addition, the recent news that Elizabeth Banks has stepped down from the role of director may produce more levels of concern for the movie. Despite remaining on board as the film’s producer, Bank’s now packed film schedule, complete with her upcoming role as Rita Repulsa in the Power Rangers reboot, has most likely played a part in her choosing to no longer direct the film. Thankfully, she will still be starring in the movie once again alongside John Michael Higgins as one of the two a capella commentators. What this means for the movie as a whole remains to be seen, but hopefully production remains on track and doesn’t lead to any more a ca-problems.
I’m hoping that the studios know what they’re doing, especially considering how the movie will release the week after Star Wars: Episode VIII, and you better believe fans will be coming back the next week for seconds. Here’s hoping they can make this business decision work and make a lot of money, the latter of which still remains questionable.