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Post Lionsgate Deal Exit, Tyler Perry Scores Worst Box Office Performance Ever. Time To Reassess?

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 17, 2014 3:32 PM
45 Comments
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The poor opening weekend box office performance of his Single Moms Club continues a trend that I highlighted over a year ago: in short, average total box office for Tyler Perry movies WITH Madea - roughly $60 million; Average box office total for Tyler Perry movies WITHOUT Madea - about $40 million.

Clearly, Madea movies, on average, have done better than non-Madea Tyler Perry movies - about $20 million more in ticket sales. It may not seem like a big difference, but for films that aren't exactly expected to be box office blockbusters (on average, his films gross around $50+ million), a $20 million gap will get your attention, especially if you're a Lionsgate studio exec.

Those were the stats a year ago, and while he's released one movie since then (A Madea Christmas, which was actually one of the poorest performing Madea movies), the numbers still tell the same story. Madea movies do far better than non-Madea movies, so, as we've said before, don't expect Madea to go away anytime soon. Although with the just-par box office performance of his last Madea film, A Madea Christmas, as well as the fact that Perry himself has repeatedly stressed his desire to bury Madea for good, the mighty matriarch just might be prepping to sing her swan song.

But, as I started this post saying, the trend continues with Single Moms Club, which, given its opening weekend, will likely end up grossing in the $20-something million range - unless there's a sudden surge in interest, which I doubt at this point. Its $8.3 million opening was much less than was anticipated (in the $15 million - $17 million range). Word of mouth doesn't appear to be particularly strong - making it one of the poorest-performing Tyler Perry movies ever! Daddy's Little Girls currently holds that record (he didn't write nor direct Peeples, which did even worse); it grossed just over $31 million total. I'd be surprised it Single Moms Club gets there.

So where does this leave him as a filmmaker? I wouldn't say it's time to panic just yet, or completely overhaul his approach to filmmaking (although I certainly wouldn't challenge him on that either, if he made that decision). He still has the attention of his core base. After several years of peak performance, with more than a few box office hits, even the best of us have our *misses* every now and then. Shit happens, as the saying goes. There'll be peaks and valleys along the way. How one handles each, is what really matters. Also, Perry is currently enjoying much success in TV land, with the 3 (soon to be 4) series he produces for Oprah Winfrey's OWN network. In fact, one could argue that, like he seemingly did with Lionsgate at the box office, Perry has become a key factor in OWN's recent ratings surge.

But, as I said before, I feel like Mr Perry is at a crossroads at the moment, taking into consideration Lionsgate opting not to renew its once-lucrative agreement with Perry (leaving him without the assured backing of a studio to ensure his films are distributed), back-to-back under-performing films, a potentially declining audience interest in Madea, the fact that Madea has long been his ace (but may not be for much longer, meaning he may have to find some other gimmick that works), the fact that his non-Madea movies have routinely under-performed his Madea movies (meaning, he might not be so keen on producing any more of that brand of Tyler Perry film, and he may have trouble finding distribution for those films, given the above box office trend); Also box office results have proven that he's not bankable as an action hero, nor a romantic love interest, and his non-Madea films seem to fare better when he's part of an ensemble; And finally, the one clear upside piece in all this, is that, he is in the middle of an agreement with the OWN network that's proven to be an even bigger success than I think anyone (even Perry and Oprah) imagined.

So with all that we know, as I've summarized, what's the man to do? If money talks, and that is/was his only motivation (and I don't think that it is - not entirely), the answer is quite clear: continue making Madea movies primarily (stay away from anything that doesn't have Madea in it), but make them for even less money because support for them might be waning, which would mean less box office; and, secondly, continue producing TV series for the OWN network.

But if he's motivated by much more than just money - and I'd argue that he wants to stretch himself as a filmmaker and actor, given previous attempts (albeit unsuccessful) to take on more challenging material as a writer/director (with For Colored Girls), and also as an actor, making the leap to action-hero in Alex Cross - he'll continue to take some risks (relative to risks he's taken before), and won't be deterred by the recent speed bumps. 

I can only imagine how frustrating this could be for him (but also for audiences who have grown tired of Madea, and who want to see Tyler Perry grow as a filmmaker). Clearly he wants to explore other kinds of material and styles of filmmaking, which I think is great; But the problem is, each time he's done that, audiences just haven't rewarded him at the box office. And that could be because he just hasn't really grown as a filmmaker from a technical and artistic standpoint. 

It occurred to me a little bit ago that I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say what filmmakers, past or present, he draws his inspiration from – if any – and I’m really curious to know.

Every filmmaker I’ve ever had a conversation with (myself included) have their 4 or 5 absolute favorite directors; those whose storytelling styles, and visual presentations we adore and even try to mimic; those who have had a direct/indirect influence on the films that we make. And I’d like to know who those filmmakers are for Tyler Perry.

Maybe he’s already talked about that, and I’m just not aware; so if anyone reading this can provide me with a link to an interview, or whatever, in which he names names, please do so in the comments section below.

One reason why this occurred to me is that I wondered if Mr Perry actually takes the time to watch films from the past (especially), even going all the way back to the days of the silent movie; Essentially, I wondered whether he’s done his homework. I wondered how wide a net he casts when he does watch movies, whether in the privacy of his own home, or at the theater, like the rest of us.

I’ll be the first one to argue that a film school education isn’t at all a requirement for anyone wanting to become a director; but if you are going to become one, you need to learn the craft somehow; and just as writers are encouraged to read in order to become better writers, filmmakers are encouraged to watch films (of all kinds), to become better filmmakers.

Autodidacts like Quentin Tarantino don’t come around very often; But the man, who never went to film school (he didn’t even finish high school), immersed himself in cinema in his youth – global cinema, not just Hollywood product and there was clearly a will and desire on his part, which stretched beyond film, and into literature, history, and other related cultural elements.

So, I’m really interested in knowing whether Perry has indeed done the necessary work; Because, really, if he has, there’s little reason why he shouldn’t have developed a more critical, discerning eye, especially when it comes to his own work.

I'd say that For Colored Girls was to be his bid to earn critical respect – his entry into the “high-brow” club. But I'd say he failed, and did so miserably, which brings me back to my original concern.

So what's the man to do? Is he doomed to play Madea forever, or will we eventually see some shift in perceptions of Perry that allow him to be who he is as an artist, as well as embrace him as someone else that doesn't immediately engender media ridicule?

At the moment, his IMDB page doesn't list any upcoming film projects, although I'm sure that won't be for too long. Or, will he now turn his attention to television almost exclusively, since that's where he's seeing the most success?

I'll continue watching closely. I'm very interested to see how this all plays out for Perry. It could be one of those crossroads/milestone moments that  we look back on in 10 years, on his career. "The year that changed everything for Tyler Perry..." or something along those lines.

Or maybe not.

We've never been granted the opportunity to interview Tyler Perry for this blog, which really shouldn't be a surprise; But, that invitation is always open, if he'd ever want to. There are so many things I'd love to chat with him about...

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45 Comments

  • Daryl | March 18, 2014 5:34 PMReply

    Looking at all these comment about Tyler Perry which I think are justified I got to ask everybody up here do you support independent black films and when was the last time you paid to see one. We are putting too much emphasis on Tyler Perry on what he is doing or not doing for black films, he is who he is. It's a lot of independent black directors and black films that we don't support that are better but we keep looking for Tyler Perry and these studio backed black films to do us justice, it's not going to happen in the hollywood studio system and from Tyler Perry, he writes what he knows and this is all he knows, so don't expect him to write a sci-fi movie or start producing other films from black writers and directors that don't fit in his world, from what I see the man has a big ego and doesn't want nobody to come in and take some of his shine away. To be real, his studio is a waste if this is all he going to do with it, I'm not going to big somebody up because they are black if they putting out garbage, that does more harm than good because it says see when black people do get some money and power they do the same thing or worst stuff than hollywood is doing so why should hollywood change if this is all we are paying to see. I'm interested to see how much money Spike Lee new film makes that was financed outside the studio system by the people. This could be big, a legendary black director goes outside the studio system and makes a box office hit. This would be a game changer because Spike Lee is not seen as a a sell out and has challenged hollywood throughout his career. It would encourage other black directors to do the same thing because they would see they would have the support from the audience and force hollywood to change because it would be an indictment with numbers to back it up on their racist policies toward black directors and black films and also show the black audience does want to see different films. In order for this to happen we got to put up or shut up. Red Hook Summer should have did more business than it did, a film Spike Lee financed himself for $600,000. Clarke Peters gave one of the best performance in the last decade and the film touched on a lot of issues in the black community. The film only did over $300,000 at the box office, it should have did at least 5 million, that's not asking a lot when the Madea films do at least 50 million at the box office. Like I said it's time for us to start speaking with our buying power or we going to continue to have these same conversations year in and year out expecting these black celeb sellouts to change things when it's big payday for them to keep things the same.

  • Random Commentary | March 24, 2014 4:05 PM

    You represent the same side of the coin the women on this website harp about. Its justifiable on this website to denigrate Nicki Minaj while heaping unending adulation on Lupita Nyong'o. You throw shade on Tyler Perry and praise the revolutionary respectable film career of Spike Lee.

    Each man carved his own path to success. Just because Tyler Perry's efforts were more financially lucrative doesn't make his films less valid. If Spike Lee wants to have some type of social political backbone to all his films then realize you have a niche audience you're catering to.

    You talk about supporting independent film and not waiting for a Tyler Perry studio backed endeavor. Indy films mostly get shown in two markets L.A and N.Y . So the people in primarily in those two markets determine whether a movie gets a wide release. That's an automatic losing proposition. TP film business model is to make 2-3 films a year and double or triple his ROI. Safe steady cash flow is better than risky money. Honestly do you support black stage shows or the chicken circuit?

    There's a reason for the glut of drama's and comedies black people star in, direct, produce, and view. It's cheap to make and enjoyable to watch. If it wasn't enjoyable why does the industry keep cranking them out.

    As for ego ask Spike why did he sabotage the film career of a black film maker Matty Rich? Why did he try to derail Singleton or the Hughes brothers? Because he always wanted to be the sole authority on black cinema. Funny how he made Clockers AFTER those directors came out. Funny how Tyler Perry resurrects black actors careers and gives virtual unknowns a chance. Funny how a lot of A-list and B-list actors have negative things to say about Spike.

    As far as that word sellout I suggest watching the Bill Withers documentary so you can have a better idea of what being a sellout really means.

  • Paula | March 18, 2014 1:29 PMReply

    One of the things I wish Tyler Perry would do, is: promote himself and movies overseas! That way, he is not only relying on a domestic audience to support his films. I also think he could try working with high profile actors like Kevin Hart, Oprah, Will Smith to broaden his audiences. These are just some suggestions.

  • Arythmitic | March 20, 2014 6:54 AM

    @STP

    And who is you again?

  • stp | March 18, 2014 3:28 PM

    We don't need Tyler crap promoted overseas. He's done enough damage. :)

  • arythmitic | March 18, 2014 11:24 AMReply

    Shake my head at this garbage. No one will ever tell a white director to reassess because their movie flop. GTOH with this post.

  • Opposite Day | March 18, 2014 4:13 PM

    Arythmitic, directors are asked all the time to "reassess". I suggest you you broaden your horizons, you will see it's a legitimate request across the board.

  • Ashley | March 18, 2014 1:10 PM

    Not true. Just because you haven't come across it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Aside from race, should he not reassess? Should he continue to make the same films? What's your opinion?

  • Marie | March 18, 2014 9:42 AMReply

    "And I’d like to know who those filmmakers are for Tyler Perry." THANK YOU! I've been saying this for years. The primary reason I don't respect Perry's work is that he's a filmmaker who's completely uninterested in film. I've NEVER seen him mention who his directorial influences are, only actors (Poitier, etc.) who he admires. I question the depth of his interest in growing and improving; if this were true, he'd stop talking about retiring Madea and just do it. His declining to talk to a FILM blog speaks for itself.

  • CareyCarey | March 18, 2014 9:43 PM

    From the outside looking in, why should any director/filmmaker talk to/with a FILM blog? Granted, it would be a grand, magnificently impressive catch for the blog to land Mr. Perry, but what rewards would a person of Tyler's status hope to gain by exposing himself to this hostile environment?

    Listen, in layman's terms, I believe if one gives a smile they'll receive one. In this case (i.e, Tyler Perry & THIS blog) I am feeling the theme song for the TV sit-com "Cheers". Check it out.

    Making your way in the world today
    Takes everything you've got
    Taking a break from all your worries
    Sure would help a lot
    Wouldn't you like to get away....
    Go to a place where you'll receive a smile and... "Where Everybody Knows Your Name!"

    Yep, with that in mind I don't see any reason why Tyler Perry should or would cross this threshold.

  • Gallen | March 18, 2014 8:24 AMReply

    There was no mention of the film "A Family that Preys" in your article. How did that film fare in the box office?

  • Mark W | March 18, 2014 6:20 AMReply

    The man is a buffoon, in every way possible. He has run his course, and if he was a smart buffoon, he would retire quietly on top of his large pile of money. Unfortunately, most buffoons aren't smart, but are instead ego-driven by the hell-bent intent to prove to the world that they are, in fact, NOT buffoons. His buffoonery will only increase, which you may witness by tuning into Or-pah's Network at any given moment.

  • CareyCarey | March 18, 2014 3:02 AMReply

    "Tyler Perry is a businessman not a filmmaker! " ~ Trouble Maker

    Your name is surely fitting because that makes absolute no sense whatsoever. First, most filmmakers do not have Tyler's resources, so they can't be like Tyler. You can bet your last dollar that if they could make 2 films a year they certainly would. AND... many of Tyler's products are merely taken from stage plays. Plus, the last time I checked, "filmmakers" *wait for it* ... make films for the enjoyment of the public. DUH... a whole lot of somebodies, that is, the vast majority of black folks enjoy the hell outta his films. So stop making trouble that you cannot back-up.

  • troublemaker | March 20, 2014 12:05 AM

    You're missing my point. A filmmaker doesn't really think about the budget when he creates a film because for a filmmaker the creative process is more important. Whereas a businessman focuses more on a budget and will never risk making a film that goes over his cap budget no matter how great the film is. In short a businessman main goal is to make money i.e. to tell stories as cheaply (i.e poorly written script, bad acting, etc)as possible because the bottom line is profit. Whereas a filmmaker's main goal is to tell stories as best(good script, great acting) as possible but these stories may not make back the money or even make a profit because the bottom line for a filmmaker is to tell good stories.

    "But wait, one more thing... "the quality would be cheap just like Tyler's films". What? Exactly "HOW" are they "cheap" and who's making that assertion?"

    Cheap meaning poorly written scripts i.e rushed thru to production without spending enough time to fully develop the characters and flesh out the story, bad acting i.e. actors can't explore characters because the characters and story are not drawn out. Cheap meaning not wanting to sacrifice going over budget for better quality i.e. hiring better skilled writers will increase budget, holding auditions around the country to find great actors will drive up budget.

    "So who - exactly - is defining his products as cheap?"

    The same audience that watches his films. People like me who have seen many stage plays adapted to the big screen.

  • CC | March 19, 2014 11:33 PM

    Btw Trouble Maker, tonight I am in a bit of despair. My Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team are in a tight battle with Tennessee and my lady brought home the wrong pizza. I mean, what is it with some women, pizza lovers know you don't buy a pizza at Shaky Jakes just because they offer a 4 dollar coupon. Geezzz.

    Anyway, since we're done here, I'd suggest that you ask the filmmakers Dankwa Brooks (a frequent visitor) and JTC why they'd define Tyler Perry as a filmmaker. Dankwa has said he enjoys his products and JTC has been in the business for quite some time. I am off to see the end of the game.

  • CareyCarey | March 19, 2014 10:05 PM

    Trouble Maker, I think we're done here. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. For the most part, Tyler careers has been that of an indie filmmaker. So, regardless of how you're trying to classify him, his road to a completed film is exactly that of those you're referencing. And, to support your argument you went here-->"his films don't cost more than 10M - 12M to make... which means there's no creativity in his projects because Tyler's budget dictates the films that he makes whereas a filmmaker's films dictates the budget."

    WHAT!? SMH??? So let's see how that works. Your indie friends have lower budgets than Tyler's, right? But they're still filmmakers, right? But Tyler's higher budget automatically takes away his ability to be creative, which takes away his title of a filmmaker? TroubleMaker, you're walking over yourself.

    And last, you used JTC's quote to strengthen your argument, but did you not read how I addressed that issue? Yep, we're done here.

    But wait, one more thing... "the quality would be cheap just like Tyler's films". What? Exactly "HOW" are they "cheap" and who's making that assertion? That last time I checked, his audience is singing "SATISFIED". So who - exactly - is defining his products as cheap? Is it the looudest voices here at S&A who wish they could be like Tyler? I believe that's who you're referring to, those whose jealousy and envy is eating them from the inside out, causing them to scream out "Tyler is not a filmmaker and he's cheap". Hey, come on now, call him what you may, but truth be told, he has loyal fans who see absolutely nothing wrong with his road to success. Truth is, most filmmakers would trade their hands for Tyler Perry's in a quick minute. AND... as I said in another thread, even though some are quick to poo-poo his return on his investment in his non-Medea films, most would take that "small" lump of money and sing " I am so SATISFIED!".

  • TROUBLEMAKER | March 19, 2014 8:13 PM

    @ CAREYCAREY

    "NO NO NO, in this case the devil is definitely in the details. That said, you'll have to show me the time-line of a film/filmmaker (several films) you're referencing. Granted, with some films the development and pre/post-production time is consuming, however, many films ARE in the production phase for MONTHS! This is not a "one size fits all" issue."
    - CAREYCAREY

    I was referring to indie filmmakers with character/story driven films who spend a lot of time in the development, pre-production and post production stages so by the time they hit the production stage they have a shorter time frame to film because they don't have the budget to do a lot of takes.

    "...I did say the films he adapted from his stage plays do not require "as much time" as a film developed from the ground up. So yes, he's able to move them relatively faster than average."
    - CAREYCAREY

    I think you should rephrase that to Tyler Perry doesn't put as much time into developing his stage plays into films. Adapting a stage play to film can take just as long or longer than a film developed from the ground up because the stage and the screen are two completely different mediums requiring a different set of aesthetics.

    " 2 films a year will likely create burnout, over exposure, and lower your ability to grow as a director because you will have little time for the kind of reflection which results in growth."
    - JTC

    As poster JTC stated that most filmmakers would be burnout if they were churning out 2 or 3 films a year and the quality would be cheap just like Tyler's films. Now most filmmakers don't have a cap on their films bcos it varies from project to project. It could go has high as $100M for one project or as low as 1M on another. However, Tyler has stated in Essence magazine that his films don't cost more than 10M - 12M to make (more like 1M - 5M but that's another story) which means there's no creativity in his projects because Tyler's budget dictates the films that he makes whereas a filmmaker's films dictates the budget. Tyler is a business man who make films not a filmmaker. When do we start calling those you tubers filmmakers? After they churn out 250 movies a month? After they make tons of money? After they hit the silver screen?

  • CareyCarey | March 19, 2014 7:33 PM

    Good stuff JTC, you've ushered in a different perspective. So let's start with the 2 main issues on the table.

    1. "I sincerely question the idea that most filmmakers would make 2 films a year if they could." ~ JTC

    2. "Tyler Perry is a businessman not a filmmaker!" ~ Trouble Maker

    Starting from the top, what you say is true, I agree... "2 films a year will likely create burnout, over exposure, and lower your ability to grow as a director because you will have little time for the kind of reflection which results in growth.", however, that does not refute the proposition that many filmmakers would gladly step to the plate, take on that challenge if given the opportunity and possessed the same resources as Tyler Perry. Granted, as you pointed out, some things will suffer if a person spreads themselves too thin, but if said person was able to delegate some of his responsibilities (think Tyler and all the hats he wears in a single production (i.e, writer, actor, producer, director, marketing, casting agent, etc) the heavy load leading to burnout would be lessened, leaving more time for the "reflection" and growth that you spoke of.

    So, I think we can agree that Tyler is without question a filmmaker. And, if he lessened his load throughout each production, it's highly possible we'd see a product that reflects a "growth" in all his skill-sets. Well, if he did take that path, at the very least it could serve to quiet the chatter of his most vehement naysayers. And, lessening his load (drop a few of his hats along the way) would add credence to the belief that producing 2 "quality" films a year is feasible and a goal many filmmaker would take on "IF" their number was called... and "IF" they had Tyler's connections/resources.

  • JTC | March 19, 2014 1:35 PM

    I believe that Tyler, particularly in regard to his connection to Oprah, will regroup and maintain his success. Many of the richest directors in Hollywood direct and produce, so I have no doubt that he will be fine.

    However, I sincerely question the idea that most filmmakers would make 2 films a year if they could. I have been a writer/director for over 15 years, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, and now New York, this has not been a part of my experience. I have been a visual artist and writer for as long as I can remember and I worked with artists/creatives since helping run errands and paint sets since my mother was an actress when I was a child. The creative process has moments of fire and deep inspiration, this is true. But, a crucial part of what the process needs is time and space. Now, if you were to include producing projects along with directing, then I would agree but having worked on more than a few films. 2 films a year will likely create burnout, over exposure, and lower your ability to grow as a director because you will have little time for the kind of reflection which results in growth.

  • CareyCarey | March 19, 2014 4:04 AM

    @TroubleMaker

    NO NO NO, in this case the devil is definitely in the details. That said, you'll have to show me the time-line of a film/filmmaker (several films) you're referencing. Granted, with some films the development and pre/post-production time is consuming, however, many films ARE in the production phase for MONTHS! This is not a "one size fits all" issue.

    Also, YOU are only assuming (you have no knowledge) on how much time Tyler spends on any aspect of his films. Having said that, I did say the films he adapted from his stage plays do not require "as much time" as a film developed from the ground up. So yes, he's able to move them relatively faster than average. But that's not to say he is not a filmmaker. Listen, as we agree, with his resources (and established brand) he's able to do what others only wish they could. Not to mention the fact that he's the HNIC (the buck stops and starts at his doorstep) consequently, many steps and hoop-jumping are eliminated. So yeah, in a back-door sort of way we're agreeing, Tyler produces films faster than anyone, but again, as I said, you can bet your last dollar that if they could make 2 films a year they certainly would. But the elephant is still in the room. If someone (filmmaker/director) did whip'em out like Mr. Perry, would they then lose their title of filmmaker? See my point?

    I believe filmmakers should try to emulate his success, not try to find ways to marginalize it. Really, the man's story and road less traveled should be a college course.

  • TROUBLEMAKER | March 19, 2014 3:01 AM

    @CareyCarey
    Yes, I agree that most filmmakers don't have Tyler's resources but a filmmaker usually take time to make their movies. Most filmmakers spend a lot of time in development, pre-production and post production and not a lot of time is spent in production. A businessman like Tyler spends little or no time in development, pre-production, production and post production that's why he able to churn out film after film at break neck speed every year consecutively for almost 10 years!

  • CC | March 18, 2014 10:54 PM

    Dubious... you've ushered in a very interesting point. You say they were paid less than scale - SO? You also claimed they were overworked? Man, show me an employee who doesn't believe their work load is... too heavy, and I'll show you a company man. Anyway, you do know there are many non-union states in America - right? In fact, I live in one. Everyone who lives in this state does not have to belong to a union. Don't get me wrong, I am a union type of guy (card carrying member) but millions work without them and I am yet to see chained doors or workers quitting their jobs because they receive less-than their union counterparts.

  • CareyCarey | March 18, 2014 10:46 PM

    ... are you saying Tyler is NOT a decent human being simply because he didn't pay a union wage? Think about that... you'll have to find another angle to express your dislike of a man who millions hold at a high esteem. The fact is, the man is a good person. I mean, you may not enjoy his body of work but please re-think your assault on his character.

  • CareyCarey | March 18, 2014 10:42 PM

    @Mark, so now the man is a buffoon? Really?! How in the heck did you come to that conclusion? What interview did you see? Anyway, I cannot even begin to address that type of garden variety hatin' so I'll pass you by. Plus, I've been told that if one talks to a fool, there will soon be 2 fools talking... **waving my hand as I show you my back**

  • arythmitic | March 18, 2014 11:27 AM

    @MARK

    What a pathetic idiot you are. You're the buffoon of course.

  • Dubious | March 18, 2014 7:00 AM

    Tyler Perry also hired non-Union writers and paid them well below scale, and overworked them. You probably think the Negroes should be thankful to work for the Almighty Tyler Perry but I think it's a gross disadvantage taken on our people. Definitely not "his" people.

    He's a businessman, not a filmmaker, writer, actor, or decent human being.

  • CC | March 18, 2014 3:09 AM

    MORE FROM THE SILLY NONSENSE BLEACHERS-->" it is too bad that he can't see the forest for the trees and isn't interested in helping truly talented black indie filmmakers make something good."

    WHAT... where did you get that mess? Do you know Tyler Perry has assisted the careers of more poc than any filmmaker. Besides, reference those good and talented black indie filmmakers, what "rank and file" are lining up to see that "something good"? And what might that be? Please, don't hate Tyler because he gives people what they want. Heck, most didn't bust down the door to see Fruitvale, nor Pariah... nor Middle Of Nowhere... or even the film from arguably the best new filmmaker on the scene, Steve McQueen, most poc didn't pay to see that "something good". So get your ducks in a roll and just stop the madness and the hatin'. Tyler is a good filmmaker and a good business man - the last time I checked my Webster.

  • Toublemaker | March 17, 2014 10:05 PMReply

    Tyler Perry is a businessman not a filmmaker! Only a businessman like Perry will churn out 2 or 3 movies a year. Whereas a filmmaker will make a movie every 2 or 3 years.

  • Kevin | March 17, 2014 9:40 PMReply

    Don't forget his role in the upcoming film "Gone Girl," with David Fincher directing. I think that's proof that he does want to explore new territory.

    As for his empire, his success with OWN means that he still has his fans. But maybe they're not so willing anymore to pay for his movies.

  • Alias | March 17, 2014 8:48 PMReply

    I have to say I was surprised by the paltry numbers for "Single Moms," as I thought a lot of single black mothers would go out and support this film. But I guess the price of admission, literally, is too much these days, even for Perry's rank and file.

    I do wish he'd man-up, take Tambay's call and answer some REAL tough questions about his work. I mean other than Oprah has anyone with any serious knowledge and understanding of the medium of film EVER interviewed him?

    It will be interesting to see if -- and when -- his lack of creativity and storytelling abilities on the small screen will, also, begin to wear on his audience, and erode as much as they have for his non-Madea projects.

    As someone else mentioned it is too bad that he can't see the forest for the trees and isn't interested in helping truly talented black indie filmmakers make something good. ...

  • Ghost | March 17, 2014 8:10 PMReply

    Look at teh casts of his last two films. You are now seeing more whites in the cast. What Tyler is doing is trying to expand and get another set of folks interested in his product. While it works for the Haves & Have Nots-it's a slow burn with his films. I look at the Single Moms Club-I would have expected to see every ghetto version of black single mothers not a film with a mixed race of single mothers.

  • Gigi Young | March 17, 2014 6:33 PMReply

    He's spoken about his influences on the DVDs of his early plays when he comes out at the end to say hello and tell the audience why he wrote that particular script. I haven't watched a play since Madea Goes to Jail, so I have no idea what he's said on DVDs after that. I think Tyler Perry's issue is that he no longer has anything to say--Madea and his early plays were from a laugh-at-my-pain, black Christian perspective. Now that he's prosperous and (I hope) overcome his demons, what else does he have to speak on?

    And who is he speaking to these days? My family would ride or die for Tyler, but I haven't heard any of them mention going to see a TP film in theaters in about three years. They've all pretty much moved on from the point in our lives where his productions spoke to them, which means Tyler isn't growing because he still thinks his audience is who they were between 2005-2010.

  • CareyCarey | March 17, 2014 6:27 PMReply

    Don't Cry For Argentina!!! I mean, Tambay could have limited this post to the following 40 words:

    "After several years of peak performance, with more than a few box office hits, even the best of us have our *misses* every now and then. Shit happens, as the saying goes. There'll be peaks and valleys along the way."

    There it is in a nutshell, so why are some folks so quick to write Tyler's eulogy? Come on now, I am more than sure most filmmakers would trade their hands for Tyler Perry's. AND... even though some are quick to poo-poo his return on his investment in his non-Medea films, most would take that "small" lump of money and sing " I am so SATISFIED!"

    In short, referring back to the song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" it's important to note the lead character, Eva Paron (played by Madonna in the 1996 film Evita) exhorts the people of Argentina not to mourn her -- "The truth is I never left you". And later she finally says – "The truth is I shall not leave you".

    Well, Tyler is not Madonna nor is he dead, so pick-up your lips because he's in a good spot and ain't going nowhere - TOO SOON! Believe that!!!

    But wait, it just kills me how some folks have their hands all up in Tyler's pockets, telling that man how he should spend HIS DAMN MONEY. Pleeeeaaaaase, that man is not the black Salvation Army. Come on now, I believe it's time for some folks to stop crying and stop looking at his bundle of money... and then, get behind the following song:

    Lately i'm so tired of waiting for you
    To say that it's ok, but tell me
    Please, would you one time
    Let me be myself
    So i can shine with my own light
    And let me be myself
    For a while, if you don't mind
    Let me be myself
    So i can shine with my own light
    Let me kick down the door and get it for myself

  • Bread-Free | March 17, 2014 5:57 PMReply

    Some people are creatives while others merely have ideas. Perry is a guy with ideas. Not necessarily a creative with an everlasting well of intuition and passionate purpose. He found a dodge as a playwright for the black church circuit. That audience is looking to be entertained and affirmed. Not challenged or provoked. Of course when he was able to get a film off the ground and it was a hit with his core audience showing up. He didn't have to adjust or learn a thing because the doubters, deniers, and haters can't stop "God's plan" and his audience from enjoying his product and making him famous on a national level and very rich.

  • ChgoSista | March 17, 2014 5:56 PMReply

    Just gonna sit back and see what he does next. He most certainly needs a "shot of newness"--we've all BEEN bored with his movies.

  • @JayTeeDee | March 17, 2014 5:29 PMReply

    I wonder if this is a sign that Tyler Perry can't branch out and change or evolve his approach to film making because the dollars he invest won't get returned. He never struck me as the type of filmmaker to take risks and he allowed his audience to pigeonholed him to this one problematic character that has garnered him just as many critics as it has fans. I think he does want to branch out and do different things and continue his craft but will the Madea fans turn out to support is the question.

  • Dankwa Brooks | March 17, 2014 5:16 PMReply

    "Every filmmaker I’ve ever had a conversation with (myself included) have their 4 or 5 absolute favorite directors; those whose storytelling styles, and visual presentations we adore and even try to mimic; those who have had a direct/indirect influence on the films that we make. And I’d like to know who those filmmakers are for Tyler Perry."

    I'd be curious about that my damn self! I'm one of the people who DID study film in college so I HAD to watch a ton of films, but as Tambay stated autodidacts like Quentin Tarantino have immersed themselves in cinema to learn the craft. I’m generally a fan of Tyler Perry’s work, but I too don’t see much progression in his direction beyond that it has gotten better since his first couple of films.

    In the media , while promoting this movie, Tyler Perry even said himself that "With this movie, I just thought this was a subject that needed to be addressed. It is the last film I'm going to be doing for a couple of years so I can focus on television. So I wanted to take a break with something that I hoped would be inspiring and encouraging to a lot of people."

    I said on Facebook last weekend
    "I think like anything else, especially to his core audience black folks, Tyler has just gone "out of style"."

  • Beemooree | March 17, 2014 5:11 PMReply

    Mr brown

  • Beemooree | March 17, 2014 5:10 PMReply

    Of course it's time to reassess. People can only tolerate the same thing over and over. I like perry but I tend to like his films without madea such as why did I get married and family that preys. other than that, his other work is coonery such as me brown. He does too much. He needs to focus on more in depth drama IMO

  • JulieB | March 17, 2014 4:47 PMReply

    I would love for Tyler Perry to start putting his money behind very talented black directors with amazingly written stories. There's no reason Perry couldn't be a Harvey Weinstein type. Perry is just not good at making movies, but he has a lot of money. He can still make his crappy movies, but at least help produce good movies!

  • Lauren | March 17, 2014 4:21 PMReply

    One can only drink Kool-Aid and dine on Twinkies for so long...

  • Sergio | March 17, 2014 4:19 PMReply

    I've never been convinced that Perry is or was really all that interested in being a filmmaker. Just an opportunity that came along and he took it. I think his goal has always been to make a ton of money and to show all those people you told him he was nothing growing up that he became something after all. If he had made his money in real estate or the stock market that would have been just as good for him. Where does he go from here I would tell him to stick to TV for now. He'll still make a ton of money and I don't think he'll really miss making films

  • Daryl | March 17, 2014 4:16 PMReply

    This is just another example if you don't love or respect the craft of filmmaking sooner or later it's going to catch up with you. This is not going to put him in the poor house but if he doesn't make a serious attempt to improve his craft he will be marginalized. He will be one of those guys that made a tone of money back in the days but none of his new stuff does nowhere near that. I think his best bet is to start partnering up with great filmmakers to produce their films, he might even learn how to be a better filmmaker in the process if he does this or just do most of his stuff on tv, but sooner or later people are going to get tired of that if he doesn't change up.

  • Lynn | March 17, 2014 3:59 PMReply

    "I can only imagine how frustrating it is...(for audiences who have grown tired of Madea, and who want to see Tyler Perry grow as a filmmaker).

    This right here is my issue. I was a fan since 2002, watching his plays on VHS. His writing, directing, and acting have not gotten better in over 10 years it is VERY frustrating. So much so that I stopped going to see his films years ago because the quality was lacking and his so-called "messages" were redundant. Even his best film lacks sufficient quality. He must step back and educate himself, find a writing coach, or something. I thought maybe Oprah would help raise his quality while they're partners at OWN, nope. The Haves & The Have Nots is just as wonderful as it's title implies. The other two sitcoms.... It's very frustrating to see someone with such massive potential be so stagnant.

  • Carl | March 17, 2014 3:55 PMReply

    Tyler Perry apologists arrive to save in 5, 4, 3, 2...

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