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Pitch Perfect 2 is the number one movie in the country, and it’s over the top on a capella.

The Barden Bellas, the all-female a cappella group at the center of Pitch Perfect 2. (Richard Cartwright/Universal Pictures via AP)
The Barden Bellas, the all-female a cappella group at the center of Pitch Perfect 2. (Richard Cartwright/Universal Pictures via AP)

Top box office film last weekend in the USA: Pitch Perfect 2. Third biggest open ever for a female director – Elizabeth Banks here – edging out Twilight (about vampires), edging out 50 Shades of Grey (about sex). And Pitch Perfect 2 is about… a capella! As in a capella singing. Nerdy. Much-mocked. And hot as can be. John Legend sang a capella. So did Anne Hathaway and Art Garfunkel and Osama bin Laden. It’s a wilder world than you might think, all that beat boxing and harmony. Up next On Point:  we’ve got the author of Pitch Perfect, and a battle of the bands.

Guests

Mickey Rapkin, author of Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella GloryThe Pitch Perfect movie franchise was loosely adapted from the book, and Rapkin served as a consultant on both films. He sang in an a cappella group while a student at Cornell University. (@mickeyrapkin)

The Beelzebubs, Tufts University's oldest, all-male a cappella group. The Bubs gave voice to the fictional Dalton Academy Warblers from the hit show Glee and were also the first runners up on season one of NBC's The Sing-Off. (@tuftsbubs)

The Compulsive Lyres, a co-ed a cappella group from the University of Michigan. The Lyres were the first group from Michigan to win the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella largest collegiate a cappella championship in the country. (@CompulsiveLyres)

Reading List

Newsweek: Pitch Perfect: A Cappella Finds Its Moment - "If you know what the ICCA Finals are, it’s a safe bet you’re either an a cappella superfan or you’ve watched, re-watched and obsessed over Pitch Perfect as often as I have. The sleeper hit, which had its premiere in 2012 and eventually raked in more than $100 million, catapulted collegiate a cappella into a pop culture sensation. The movie led to a top 10 Billboard hit with 'Cups (Pitch Perfect’s When I’m Gone)'; launched breakout star Rebel Wilson; created one painfully adorable couple in actors Anna Camp and Skylar Astin; and gave social media plenty of GIFs and catchphrases (Aca-scuse me? Aca-believe it!) to obsess over during the long wait for the sequel, which hit theaters May 15."

Variety: 'Pitch Perfect 2': How Home Viewers and 'Cups' Scored an Original Hit - "Pitch Perfect 2 hasn’t just made more than the first film in the a cappella series. It topped its predecessor’s lifetime gross in a single weekend, after the modestly budgeted sequel debuted to a stunning $69.2 million. The incredible growth in Pitch Perfect’s fanbase between installments is testament to the way that Universal Pictures organically built the audience for the quirky franchise about a group of misfit college vocalists. It’s a success story that was three years in the making, and one that relied on strong word-of-mouth that gained momentum on cable television, on-demand platforms, and through chart-topping soundtrack sales....What makes Pitch Perfect such a rarity is that it went from cult hit to mainstream blockbuster because many consumers discovered the movie on cable, on demand or by buying a copy."

Slate: This Is What It's Like to See Pitch Perfect 2 With an Entire College A Cappella Group - "The sunniest, friendliest, most attractive and crisply arranged spirits on Earth belong to an a cappella group called the Georgetown University Phantoms. A group of them—shiny hair, button-down shirts—are here with me to see Pitch Perfect 2, the new Elizabeth Banks–directed flick about dueling collegiate songsters. They are adorable. We loiter in the leftover glow from the lobby, talking about what the first movie got wrong (too many backflips) and right (social dynamics). 'The movie reflects how everyone in the group takes on a specific persona,' Daniel says. 'I’m the sexy one. Yeah.' They laugh. 'Also the aspect of family,' adds Evelyn. 'We fight and cry but at the end of the day we’re here making really cool music together.'"

Live In Our Studio: The Tufts University Beelzebubs

This program aired on May 22, 2015.

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