Pitch Perfect 3 to come back bigger and bolder
As the Barden Bellas reunite for Pitch Perfect 3, the movie sequel's vocal producer and arranger tells us what to expect
The Barden Bellas are set to make their comeback on the big screen after winning the World Championships - and hit the high notes at the box office again.
Pitch Perfect 3, to open here on Dec 21, released its first trailer last month, featuring the returning ensemble cast including Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld and Brittany Snow.
After graduating from Barden University, the Bellas - the all-female a capella singing group - reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas United Service Organizations tour.
According to Deke Sharon, the American vocal producer and arranger of the successful musical comedy series, you can expect the third and final instalment to be "bigger, better, bolder and brighter".
Speaking to The New Paper over Skype, Sharon - dubbed the "Godfather of contemporary a cappella" - said: "It's a continuation of the development of the Bellas sound.
"It is very modern, harmony-rich and complex, and will draw from elements of the first two movies with more surprises and additional twists."
The 49-year-old added: "The first movie (in 2012) was all about the Bellas taking their late 80s and 90s style and weaving it into modern mash-ups. The second movie (in 2015) had them tap into the roots of their sound, which was more vocal harmony.
"Now, the Bellas are going to be doing things that you have never seen before. And in the trailer, you see explosions, world travel and bands with instruments throwing out a tune.
"There is a lot to come and we are firm believers of putting them in increasingly awkward and crazy situations."
On choosing for the Bellas to belt out US singer Pink's 2001 smash Get The Party Started for a scene that appears in the trailer, Sharon said: "Pink is a great artist for the Barden Bellas in general because she is American, she is a songwriter and she is also a performer.
"She is very much a self-made woman, and you get that sense from the Bellas.
"It's a song that works well for a cappella and in the bigger picture, it reminds people of the fun of the Pitch Perfect franchise."
The first movie was a sleeper hit that raked in a whopping worldwide gross of more than US$115.3 million (S$157 million), despite working within the constraints of a US$17 million budget.
The follow-up went on to become the highest-grossing musical comedy movie of all time, earning US$287.5 million worldwide.
And it is back to basics with Pitch Perfect 3.
Sharon said: "If we are trying to chase public opinion, then we are guessing what people would like.
"Instead of guessing, we focus on what we know and what will work well for the singers that we have.
"So far, the compass has led us in the right direction and we will continue to follow it."
Sharon has seen the most vocal development and "biggest change" in Steinfeld, who joined the cast in Pitch Perfect 2.
He said: "When we were making it, she hadn't really sung that much, and certainly not in a movie setting. Now, she is a huge international pop star and is on every radio in the world.
"I remember working with her and thinking, 'You know, you could be a big star if you wanted to', and she said, 'You think? Really?'.
"I told her that her voice had such a wonderful quality to it. It was both youthful and also an old soul."
Are there plans to for a fourth movie?
Sharon is now working on BBC One's singing reality show Pitch Battle, which is inspired by the franchise, and the release of his fourth and fifth books this year.
He said: "We have no thoughts beyond the third movie. We just wanted to make it the best it could possibly be and then we'll see what happens after that.
"That is really the way with all art. You don't really want to get ahead of yourself. Let's have this movie come out, have the audience respond to it, and then we'll figure out the next step, if there is one."
One thing is sure though - the franchise will always remain close to Sharon's heart.
He said: "Every time a Pitch Perfect movie comes out, it inspires more people to sing and join groups. This is so in line with my life's work of getting people from all walks of life to sing together in harmony."