By Amy Kaufman
1:08 PM EDT, September 30, 2012
“Pitch Perfect” hit a high note at the box office this weekend, as the a cappella comedy did brisk business even though it premiered in only a limited number of theaters.
Playing in 335 theaters in 125 cities, the film about a college singing group collected a robust $5.2 million over the weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Universal Pictures.
After early word-of-mouth screenings at cheerleading camps and college campuses generated an exceptionally positive response, Universal decided in September to open the film in 335 locations a week before its nationwide expansion on Oct. 5. It was an unusual move for a major studio with a commercial film, but one that seems to have paid off. Those who saw the movie this weekend -- a 74% female crowd -- loved it, assigning it an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
“It was very clear that we wanted the word-of-mouth to sell the movie -- you want everybody to feel good about it and tell their friends,” said Universal’s president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco. “This was uncharted territory, but we took a shot at it and this is a great result.”
The film, which features Anna Kendrick and rising star Rebel Wilson, has also received positive response from critics and on Sunday had a 72% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The low-budget film should be a financial success for Universal, which co-financed the picture with Paul Brooks’ Gold Circle Films for $17 million.
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