a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Tyler Perry's MADEA'S FAMILY REUNION, the nominal sequel to DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, made over $30 million this weekend.


The movie is based on a play that Perry wrote, and it was even filmed as a stage play and released on DVD in 2002. It's one of a string of plays that Perry wrote, many featuring Madea, a grandmother character that Perry plays in drag.

It has no major stars, they didn't show it to critics before it was released, and the budget was only about $6 million. I don't know where they have been advertising it, but I haven't seen any TV ads for it.

$30 million. In 3 days.

I have a feeling I'm about to get innundated with black drag comedies.

Meanwhile, the Paul Walker action film RUNNING SCARED only made $3 million. Ha.


At 6:24 PM, Blogger writergurl said...

They did market it. To the BLACK community. Tyler Perry was front page news in Atlanta, they did a below the fold several column spread on him, touting his status as a Georgian and rehashing his "Before I hit it big, I was living in my car" story. (There's a LARGE and wealthy Black population here). I also saw him and his cast on the Tyra Banks show as I was channell surfing last week... it's all about the niche marketing, baby.

I saw the first "Madea" atrocity. It was nothing but a lot of segements of older movies stitched together and set in the Black community. He even stole the scene in "War of the Roses" where Kathleen Turner takes a chainsaw to the furniture. It was even done during a divorce dispute. It was so awful that I told my friend, who picked the movie, that she was NOT allowed to pick movies any more.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

He did mention that for his next movie would NOT be in drag.

These Madea epics might not be my cup of tea, but what the hell, good for him.

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Amazingly, I saw the DVD of the 2002 filmed play on sale at Target, with the exact same title and similar artwork.

Talk about theaters and DVD on the same day...

At 1:05 AM, Blogger writebrother said...

You haven't seen or heard any ads because you're not the target consumer. The ads were everywhere his fans would catch them. After his first movie did $50+ the success of this one isn't surprising. Tyler will be cashing some nice checks for the next few years. I'm not a fan, but I respect his hustle.

At 5:21 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

There was an article in Premiere about Tyler Perry. I can't remember where it was, but at a certain studio, none of the white people had heard of Tyler Perry, but ALL of the black people were very familiar.

I think it blows a lot of white people's minds that there can be this celebrity that they know nothing about.

It is strange.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

This all goes back to the "blaxploitation" 70's. None of the white executives thought any black actor could carry a movie (except Sidney Poitier). Then Melvin Van Peebles makes "Sweet Sweetback's BadAsss Song" and showed the studio execs there was a black market out there.

"Shaft" was originally written for a white actor...

It was also a time that independent companies and actors/directors/writers of color could make a movie, sell it and make a lot of money by JUST screening it for the black audience. They didn't need the white audience (but they came in droves anyway).

Now, Tyler Perry was taking his plays on the road to black audiences around the country, eventually getting to the point where his plays were taped and sold after the performances. Then he made his first movie, and the floodgates opened. The distributor picked up his plays for distribution as a set based on his movie's success.

Tyler Perry is a brand.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Joshua James said...

He's on the road ten months of the doing shows and finding his audience.

Not only that, audiences like his shows, they're fun (live) and hit a chord with an audience that for a long time only got drug dealing gansta pictures thrown at them.

I remember a few years ago my then agent wouldn't send a play of mine around because it dealt with race (even though only two of the five characters were black) because, in his words, "black people don't go to theatre, that's why there are no black plays - there are many gay plays because gay people go to theatre" - of course, he didn't care for it when I mentioned that most all of the agents I knew in nyc were gay and I'm certain that had nothing to do with it. And I didn't know any black agents.

I soon left that agent and the play found a home. But one day while walking by the Beacon, I saw an ad for a play just like Tyler Perry's that was taking place - and there was a line of people going down around the block to see it. All black folk all going to the theatre.

People will go if you give them a reason to go.

The medea movies may indeed be bad movies (as I suspect they are) but there's been much marginalization of certain types of stories when it comes to making movies - this attests to it, don't you think? Studios think it's not a blockbuster, they won't make it until someone else shows them it's good business.

Hell, horror movies used to be uncool and dirty and not what studios did until Scream came out (though they always made money, just never big time money) and then everyone got into it.

I just wish that studios would tell marketing to sell the movies they've decided to make rather than have marketing dictate studios what movies to make - I think if they did that, in the end, we would have better stories with more variety.

Just my opinion.

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous kristen said...

weird. i'm white, and i saw TONS of TV ads for this film, right here in Los Angeles. and i don't even watch a lot of TV. I basically only watch ABC, NBC, FOX, WB, because I don't have cable. Maybe, Scott, there's a huge gap in ad buying between the city and the 'burbs.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Well, if you watch the WB, there you go ;-)

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous nilblogette said...

I read the script for this one and it was INSANE. It goes from Douglas Sirk to Big Momma's House in the blink of an eye. I finished reading and thought, "Horrible! How is this guy a hit?" I sat on it for a little while, kept laughing at how ridiculous and shocking it was (if you haven't seen one of his movies, they go to VERY dark places, and then jump right back to some slapstick), and couldn't get it out of my head. Then, I realized it was one of the more entertaining things I had read in awhile. It's a lot like blaxploitation actually, in how all over the place it is tonally and how that becomes a big part of the appeal. Even though both the comedy and the tragedy come out of societal and cultural issues, they're larger than life like Greek myth, hence the name Medea, except that she's "Madea", because she's "mad". I don't know if he intended all that, because on the surface, these are ludicrous movies. I'd say the movie has fans because you get a thousand plots and characters of every tone imaginable, with barely any build up for them. Everything is on the surface and there is no manipulating of the emotions through subtle detail. It's as if the entire history of "Days of Our Lives" were condensed into two hours.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Warren said...

I was pretty shocked at the box office take as well. I'm here in L.A., and not only did I not see ads for it, I had never even heard of the film. I thought it was a joke when I saw an article about it topping the b.o. Just goes to show you that targeted advertising to a community that will turn out is huge these days.


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