Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys
September 12, 2008
Movie of the Day for Monday, June 9, 2008
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2005 was such a blissful period in the box office world. No one, not one person had heard of Tyler Perry. How much has changed in only three years. Tyler Perry is a brand now. His films lack subtlety, feature transvestites in fat suits, and make tons and tons of money.
All of this started with Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Darren Grant’s adaptation of Perry’s play. It shocked industry observers when it opened to $21.9 million on its way to $50.4 million in domestic receipts, a stunning accomplishment for a movie with a current IMDb score of 5.1 out of 10. Many wanted to write this performance off as a fluke, but boisterous, opinionated Madea would have none of that. She had a family reunion, and it did even better than the preceding film. This one, directed by and starring Perry himself, managed a superlative $30 million opening weekend and eventually settled at $63.2 million worth of domestic box office. Sure, it has an even lower IMDb score of 3.8 out of 10, but his movie guest stars Maya freakin’ Angelou. If you’ve never made a film that can claim the same, stop criticizing and shut up.
In 2007, two different Tyler Perry productions were released. Daddy’s Little Girls instantly became his least successful title, opening to only $13.1 million with $31.1 million in final domestic receipts. Given the film’s $10 million budget, it was still a solid performance. He promptly made people forget about this semi-misstep with the release of Why Did I Get Married? (aka The Vegas Bride’s Lament), a Janet Jackson movie that earned $55.2 million against a $15 million budget. There is a reason Tyler Perry continues to make movies. They make money. Sure, only 3.4 out of 10 IMDb viewers like Daddy’s Little Girls and 3.7 out of 10 like Why Did I Get Married?, but the consistent lack of quality in his productions never seems to significantly impact the next title’s box office. He is a modern moviemaking mystery for this reason. All of his titles make The Lady in the Water look like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but his fans keep coming back.
All of this knowledge makes a description of Tyler Perry’s next release, The Family That Preys, quite pointless. I could tell you that it involves two families who become entwined in romance as well as business, but you wouldn’t care. Nor would you be the least bit interested in the fact this is Perry’s first title to feature a storyline involving white characters. None of this matters. You either go see Tyler Perry movies or you don’t. I hope you’re the latter, but I’m told the guy is a huge Atlanta Braves fan, so I’m fine with it if you’re the former. At least the dude has great taste in sports teams. (David Mumpower/BOP)