His films don’t get released overseas, are rarely reviewed before they open, and appeal to one of the least-targeted demos: older African-American women.
But once again Tyler Perry has proven himself to be possibly the most underrated force at the box office, with Lionsgate’s “Why Did I Get Married Too?” wooing Easter weekend auds with $29.3 million at 2,155 locations.
“Married Too?” topped 3D holdovers including “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Alice in Wonderland,” placing second only to Warner Bros.’ 3D “Clash of the Titans,” which earned $61.2 million at 3,777.
While Perry’s films are a far cry from overtly religious releases such as “The Passion of the Christ,” they tap into Christian auds in a big way, despite elements including profanity and cross-dressing.
“Perry tackles issues of fidelity in marriage, substance abuse, honesty and open communication — concepts that will resonate with Christian audiences,” according to a “Married Too?” review on Christian website Streaming Faith.
Perry’s pics are notable in finding approval from their target aud: “Married Too?” received an “A” Cinemascore, though Lionsgate didn’t screen it for critics. Perry is targeted at strictly American sensibilities; his pics barely make a blip on the international box office scene.
Lionsgate distrib topper David Spitz described Perry as a mainstay among African-American auds, but said the filmmaker has achieved certain playability among broader audiences, especially with the “Madea” franchise.
“Married Too?,” which reunites thesps Janet Jackson, Jill Scott and Perry, performed as strongly as the filmmaker’s previous offerings. The film played to an aud that was 80% African American females, with 75% over 25.
Spitz said the film overperformed in urban markets like Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, where some multiplexes played the film on multiple screens.
Perry’s “Meet the Browns” debuted with $20.1 million over the 2008 Easter frame and cumed $42 million domestically.
“Married Too?” ranks as the second-highest opening for Perry. “Madea Goes to Jail,” which scored $41 million last year, still ranks as the filmmaker’s highest opener, and has cumed $90.5 million. The original “Married” debuted with $21.4 million in 2007 for a domestic total of $55.2 million.
Perry will write, direct and produce the adaptation of the 1975 play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” set to bow through Lionsgate Jan. 14.