Pitch Perfect 3 just got a snazzy new holiday release date and now it’s going to have to get a new director, too. On the heels of the news that Pitch Perfect 3 would push back from the 2017 summer season to a prime spot in the lucrative year-end calendar, Variety reports that Elizabeth Banks has dropped off the project.
Banks, who has been a producer and cameoed in both of the previous two entries, made her feature film debut on Pitch Perfect 2 and has been set to return for the follow-up since last October. At the time, it was reported that Banks was weighing her options with offers out for an adaptation of the young-adult fantasy novel The Red Queen at Universal and the feature film reboot of Charlie’s Angels for Sony, but ultimately chose to return for for more of the Barden Bellas since those projects were only in development and Pitch Perfect 3 was ready to go. With the film pushed back nearly half a year, Banks may have opted to pursue other projects. While the report notes that Banks didn’t drop the film in favor of a particular project, “increasingly packed schedule did play a part in her exit.”
In the meantime, lead actresses Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and Brittany Snow are confirmed to return for the third installment, with Banks remaining on board as a producer alongside Paul Brooks and Scott Niemeyer and screenwriter Kay Cannon returning to pen the script. Universal should have no difficulty scooping up a new helmer, the Pitch Perfect franchise is hugely successful, with the 2015 sequel netting $287.5 million internationally and netting the title of highest-grossing live-action movie-musical of all time. Deadline reports that Universal may be looking at Jason Moore, who helmed the first film, to return.
As for Banks, she’ll next be appearing as the fan-favorite villain Rita Repulsa in Lionsgate’s Power Rangers movies. The studio has big plans for the franchise, with CEO Jon Feltheimer recently quoted as saying he could see as many as seven films in the future, so if they keep Repulsa around and Banks is game, that could be a steady gig for a long time coming. At the same time, she’s still attached for The Red Queen and Charlie’s Angels, and after the record-breaking success of Pitch Perfect 2, you have to imagine she’s got more than a few directorial opportunities in front of her.
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) June 3, 2016