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Box Office: ‘A Madea Family Funeral’ Comes Alive With $1.1 Million on Thursday

Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral” has come alive with $1.1 million in Thursday night previews at 2,100 locations.

The 11th installment of Lionsgate’s Madea franchise will expand to 2,442 sites on Friday and is expected to take in $18 million to $20 million in its opening weekend. The most recent Madea film, “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” took in $760,000 on its Thursday preview night on its way to a $21 million weekend in October, 2017.

Universal-DreamWorks’ sophomore frame of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is heading for a repeat victory at the domestic box office in the $27 million to $36 million range.

Focus is also opening the thriller “Greta,” starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz, at 2,409 venues with expectations of a quiet $4 million weekend.

A Madea Family Funeral” is Perry’s farewell to his long-running feisty Madea character, which he introduced in the 1999 play “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” then brought to the big screen in 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” “Madea Goes to Jail” had the top launch in the series, opening with $41 million in 2009, while 2013’s “A Madea Christmas” posted the lowest debut with $16 million.

“Funeral” — which Perry directed, wrote, and produced — is set in the backwoods of Georgia, where a family reunion unexpectedly becomes a funeral. As usual, Perry portrays multiple characters, and regulars Patrice Lovely and Cassi Davis return. Ozzie Areu, Will Areu, and Mark E. Swinton also produced.

The post-Oscars weekend is also seeing expansions of a trio of winners: Universal’s “Green Book,” which hits 2,600 locations; Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which will screen at 2,404 sites; and Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born,” with 12 minutes of additional footage, heads into 1,150 venues.

The weekend is partly a prelude to Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” which is expected to deliver the first $100 million-plus opening weekend of the year when it flies into theaters next weekend — and revive a sagging domestic box office. Overall North American moviegoing is down a stunning 27% for 2019, to $1.42 billion, according to Comscore. The gap is now $530 million, as of Feb. 27, mostly due to the massive take from last year’s “Black Panther.”

“With just a week to go before the arrival of a much-needed box-office superhero, the reversal of the deficit will have to wait until ‘Captain Marvel’ comes in to save the day, and officially start the 2019 cavalcade of hits that are waiting in the wings for their turn to land at the multiplex,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with the box office tracker.

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