Weekend Wrap-Up

Tyler Perry Does Good All By Himself

By Kim Hollis

September 13, 2009

I could tell you where I got this housecoat. But then I'd have to kill you.

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With the arrival of the NFL season and some stellar NCAA football match-ups, the weekend box office continues to inspire shrugs from potential audiences - with one bright, shining exception. Studios threw a hodge-podge of product into theaters, hoping something would stick. New openers included Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself, the animated sackboy movie 9, the latest horror-flick-of-the-week Sorority Row, and the graphic novel adaptation Whiteout. I'll bet you can guess which movie took the top spot without even having to think about it for a millisecond.

Yes, the number one movie this weekend is Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself, continuing the actor/writer/director's streak of box office success and domination. Let's just take a look at his track record so far, shall we?

  • Diary of a Mad Black Woman (wrote/starred): $21.9 million opening, $50.4 million domestic, $5.5 million budget
  • Madea's Family Reunion (wrote/directed/starred): $30 million opening, $63.3 million domestic, $10 million budget
  • Daddy's Little Girls (wrote/directed): $11.2 million opening, $31.4 million domestic, $10 million budget
  • Why Did I Get Married? (wrote/directed/starred): $21.4 million opening, $55.2 million domestic, $15 million budget
  • Meet the Browns (wrote/directed/starred): $21.1 million opening, $42 million domestic, $20 million budget
  • The Family That Preys (wrote/directed/starred): $17.4 million opening, $37 million domestic
  • Madea Goes to Jail (wrote/directed/starred): $41 million opening, $90.5 million domestic, $17.5 million budget


And now we have I Can Do Bad All By Myself, which gets off to a terrific start just like all of Perry's other films by having an opening weekend total of $24 million, good for a per venue average of $10,656. And just like all of those other projects, the movie starts off immediately in the black, as it has already easily exceeded its production budget of $13 million.

What's the reason for such consistent success? Perry knows what his audience wants and he delivers it to them. Some people might say that the simple answer is that Madea is a popular character, but even movies where she doesn't make an appearance have shown stellar results - though they might fall a bit short of the Madea movies. The honest evaluation is that Perry has carved himself a niche where he speaks to an under-served demographic, and as long as he's the only person who consistently provides quality entertainment, he's going to succeed. His movies might not be critical successes, but does that really matter? Tyler Perry is a cottage industry at this point, and Lionsgate has to be as pleased that he's on their roster as they are to have Jigsaw.

With Tyler Perry dominating the weekend, that more or less leaves the remainder of the top ten contending for scraps. Coming up in second place is Focus Features' sci-fi animated flick 9, from director Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch). Based on an Academy Award-nominated short film, 9 had generated some decent buzz thanks to a really solid trailer along with the fact that the look of the movie was so unique that people couldn't help but be intrigued. It also boasted some pretty solid voice work, including Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover and Martin Landau. Probably my favorite thing about 9 is that it has inspired the term "stitchpunk", which I find irrepressibly cute.

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