Pitch Perfect 3: Elizabeth Banks Returning as Director

Elizabeth Banks is set to direct Pitch Perfect 3, with series cast members like Anna Kendrick returning for the film too.

Elizabeth Banks returning to direct Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch Perfect 2 proved to be quite a commercial success when it opened in theaters in May 2015, racing ahead of the competition during its opening weekend (including then-new release Mad Max: Fury Road) on its way to a $285 million worldwide gross against a $29 million price tag. Naturally, as the musical comedy sequel made back nearly ten times its budget, Universal Pictures is moving forward with Pitch Perfect 3.

Pitch Perfect 1 & 2 screenwriter Kay Cannon is returning to pen the third installment, which is slated for arrival in Summer 2017. While there was some question as to whether or not Pitch Perfect 2 helmer Elizabeth Banks - who also plays the a cappella competition commentator Gail in the franchise - would return to call the shots on the third movie, but it appears that issue has now been settled too.

Variety is reporting that Elizabeth Banks is set to call the shots on Pitch Perfect 3; series mainstays Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and Brittany Snow have likewise closed deals to come back for the next installment. Banks is already looking to branch out as a director (in terms of genre), having attached herself to helm such developing projects as the Charlie's Angels movie reboot and the YA fantasy adventure novel adaptation Red Queen. However, Pitch Perfect 3 is further along than either of those ventures, so Banks will helm the threequel first.

Pitch Perfect 2 concluded with the senior class members of the Bellas a cappella group - including Beca (Kendrick), Patricia/"Fat Amy" (Wilson), and Chloe (Snow) - graduating from Barden University; and in the process of doing so, "passing the torch" to newbie Bella, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld). Presumably, the third installment will pick up with the various former Bellas as they adjust to life after college, before a turn of events leads them to reunite - possibly, to help guide Emily and the next generation of Bellas, or something to similar effect.

Elizabeth Banks and Hailee Steinfeld working on Pitch Perfect 2
Elizabeth Banks and Hailee Steinfeld working on Pitch Perfect 2

The original Pitch Perfect movie was a sleeper hit when it released in theaters in 2012 (both critically and commercially), tapping into the a cappella music craze of the past few years in the process. Pitch Perfect managed to bottle lightning in that respect, so it came as little surprise when Pitch Perfect 2 - while well-received overall - was generally perceived as being more formulaic by comparison; e.g. it transformed Pitch Perfect from a unique one-off hit into a "brand", for better or worse.

Pitch Perfect is now a bankable enough intellectual property that Universal felt confident about moving Pitch Perfect 3 back to take Pacific Rim 2's former release date in Summer 2017 - with the hope that it becomes a "late summer" hit for the studio, as a result. Pitch Perfect 3 is now faced with the challenge of putting a fresh spin on a concept that wasn't, per se, designed to sustain a franchise. However, other films have managed the task before; with much of the same cast/crew from past installments returning here, perhaps third time will be the charm in this case, too.

Pitch Perfect 3 opens in U.S. theaters on August 4th, 2017.

Source: Variety

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