Tyler Perry is now on the market.
The multi-hyphenate has parted ways with Lionsgate after working with the studio for nine years on theatrical releases. He’d been under a first-look deal with the studio since 2008. Perry has been approached by many distribs over the years after demonstrating the value of his B.O. brand, but he was never able to pursue other options — until now.
The end of the Lionsgate deal coincides with Perry’s decision to close the Los Angeles office of his 34th Street Films banner and consolidate operations at his Atlanta headquarters. Perry owns studio facilities there that are home to his four TV series, among other projects.
Several sources indicated the non-renewal was a mutual decision. But it’s no secret that Perry had been frustrated at times by the marketing of his movies, and by the limits of Lionsgate’s international reach. Now that he’s unencumbered, sources close to the situation said the hyphenate, who is famously controlling of aspects of his projects, plans to take his time in evaluating his many options for feature distribution partnerships.
Perry had also produced several TV series under a separate pact with Lionsgate and its Debmar-Mercury wing. But that relationship has ended as well now that Perry has teamed as an equity parter with Oprah Winfrey in her OWN cabler. Perry’s first two shows for OWN, The soap “The Have and the Have Nots,” the comedies “For Better or Worse” and “Love Thy Neighbor” have emerged as hits for the cabler.
Lionsgate has distributed nearly all of Perry’s films dating back to 2005′s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” Perry’s latest effort, “The Single Moms Club,” opens on March 14.
The end of the first-look deal does not mean the end of future Lionsgate-Perry collaborations, given that the studio still retains distribution rights to any project related to Perry’s durable Madea character.
Lionsgate had no comment about the end of its deal with Perry. The studio has first-look deals with Kevin James and Allison Shearmer.
Perry’s titles with Lionsgate include “The Family That Preys,” “Madea Goes to Jail,” “Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Daddy’s Little Girls,” “Why Did I Get Married?,” “Meet the Browns,” “Madea’s Big Happy Family” and “We the Peeples.”
Perry’s debut play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed” was performed first in 1992. He bowed the Madea character in 2000′s play “I Can Do Bad all by Myself,” which was seen by Lionsgate exec Michael Paseornek and led to 2005′s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”
Perry’s most recent release through Lionsgate was “A Madea Christmas,” which grossed $52.5 million domestically following its release in December..
News was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.