Elizabeth Banks set to direct Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’

“Pitch Perfect” was one of those surprises that movie studios thrive on, a small film that Universal no doubt expected would be a modest hit. It blew up into a genuine sensation, though, propelled in large part by its preposterously catch soundtrack and the unstoppable nature of Anna Kendrick’s cover of “Cups.”

If you run a Google search for that term, “Anna Kendrick Cups,” you get 12,800,000 results. I didn’t even realize that the actual name of the song is “When I’m Gone.” It’s just become ubiquitous under the easier name. The film also helped break Rebel Wilson internationally, and one of the things that served as punctuation in the film was the cutaways to Elizabeth Banks as one of the judges in the singing competition. Banks was a producer on the film, and she was the one who brought the project to Universal in the first place.

It looks like Banks is taking full creative control of the inevitable sequel to the film now, according to a report today. In addition to appearing in the sequel and co-producing it again, Banks will direct the sequel, and it appears they’ll have both Kendrick and Wilson back as well.

Kendrick has been performing for so long that this is her fifth or sixth life, professionally speaking. She was on Broadway when she was 12 and Tony nominated for her work. She became an indie film darling with “Rocket Science,” she’s been part of a mega-franchise with the “Twilight” films, and she was launched to a new level of stardom when she was Oscar-nominated for “Up In The Air.”

“Pitch Perfect” seems like a whole new fanbase for her, and one that seems like they are hungry for more from the same team. The way that soundtrack keeps performing is jaw-dropping, and the studio would be negligent if they didn’t do their best to reproduce as much as possible of the first film’s ingredients. I am excited to see what she does with her role in “Into The Woods” this year, and now that everyone’s onboard with Kendrick as a musical performer, when’s Disney going to build one of their animated musicals just for her? All of this happens even as she’s doing remarkable mature work in small personal films like “Drinking Buddies” and “The Voices,” which makes it look like she’s got a huge range of things to choose from with her choices as an actor these days. That’s great news all the way around, and it’ll be interesting to see if they can come up with something for “Pitch Perfect 2” that hits audiences in the same pleasure center. If so, it’s another win in the “unconventional franchise” category for Universal, and for Banks, it’s a big sign of support for her taste behind the camera.

No word yet on when they’re hoping to release “Pitch Perfect 2.”