"We had people travel from as far away as New Zealand!" producer Max Handelman tells PEOPLE

By Jessica Fecteau
May 14, 2015 09:10 AM
Universal Pictures

When the Pitch Perfect 2 crew threw a concert for the film’s climactic sing-off, they needed some extras.

Lots and lots of extras.

And they happily showed up – thousands of them, from all corners of the Earth.

“We filmed for five days in Baton Rouge,” says producer Max Handelman, the husband of the film’s director and costar, Elizabeth Banks. “At one point we had 3,500 extras. Elizabeth wanted to create an outdoor music festival.”

They put the word out everywhere they could to fill the crowd for the final scene. And fans certainly heeded the call.

“We had people travel from as far away as New Zealand!” Handelman says.

Once the music started, producer Paul Brooks says it went from shooting a movie scene to something else entirely.

“It started with all these extras being excited to be in a film, and then, as the music got underway, it almost became like a live concert where they completely lost themselves,” Brooks says.

It’s hard to imagine the extras rocking out as hard as Brittany Snow did on her recent Ellen appearance, but Brooks says, “They were genuinely cheering and applauding and just having a brilliant time.”

The film opens in theaters Friday.

Reporting by MICHELLE TAUBER

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