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Weekend B.O. Dec. 13-15 (What Happened To 'Madea'?)

Box Office
by Sergio
December 15, 2013 12:24 PM
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Both The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug and A Madea Christmas did not live up to expectations this holiday movie season.

Smaug was projected to earn something near $82 million, but instead made some $73.7 million this weekend, which is a slight comedown and not a disaster by any means. But it’s below what the first Hobbit movie which earned just under $85 million its first weekend last year. But who’s crying?

However, some people are saying that, stretching out J.R.R. Tolkien’s slim 300 page book into a mammoth, extended three part tentpole movie franchise was obviously too much, especially since done simply for greed. It would have been much simpler and cheaper just to make one movie.

However A Madea Christmas, despite predictions that it was going to be the biggest opening ever, not only for any of Madea film, but for any Perry film ever, also fell short of the mark. Way short.

The film grossed $16 million which makes it the third lowest weekend opening ever for any film that Perry directed. Only 2007’s Daddy Little Girls which opened with $11 million, and the $15.6 million that last year’s Good Deeds made on its opening weekend were lower.

(Yes Alex Cross did poorly as well, opening with just over $11 million and making just over $25 million total, but that was a project he did not produce or direct and was simply a hired actor cast in the lead role which practically everyone thought he was miscast for.)

The biggest opening for any Perry film still remains his 2009’s Madea Goes to Jail which opened with $41 million, so opening with $16 million, which is almost half of The Best Man Holiday’s weekend opening, is a big comedown. Yes, of course, it will still be successful. He makes his films relatively very cheaply, so a profit is almost always guaranteed, but it may be getting harder to do that.

And keep in mind that over the holidays, closer to Christmas and past New Year’s, the film’s box office could keep steady or even improve, eventually putting it in line with other Madea films. Though the competition is going to get even tougher during the next two weeks with several high profile films scheduled to come out.

Still $16 million is surprising for a Madea film - movies that have never done less than a $21 million opening. So what happened? 

A few guesses:

Too late - Some say the film opened too late during the Xmas season to take advantage of it, and should have opened a couple of weeks earlier in November. However Best Man Holiday had that already locked up and Madea Christmas would have likely suffered badly in competition if it opened around the same time as that film.

Weather – It’s still pretty bad out there. That won’t stop the hard core fanboys who would brave anything to see The Hobbit, but Perry’s audience, which skews older and female, might have decided to stay home.

TP fatigue – Are people getting tired of him? There comes a point when even the most devoted fans, get bored with what he’s putting out and long for something else.

Bad reviews – Yeah I know what you’re saying. What Perry film doesn’t get bad reviews? But Madea Christmas got maybe the single worst reviews ever for any of his films and all of them focused on a few things: that, remarkably, not only has Perry not improved as a filmmaker, but he seems to have gotten even worse. Even more noteworthy is that all the reviews brought up the fact that there is an increasing carelessness and lack of real enthusiasm in all his films. He’s just content to continue repeating himself by rote and not interested in finding new and more creative ways of expressing himself.

Not that he’s some Scorsese. He never was, never will be, nor claimed he is, but there’s this obvious sense that he’s bored and is just barely going through the motions. So why does he keep making them? Why not move on to something else? What happened, for example, to that 1920’s jazz film he once talked about making a few years ago? Maybe just simply because what he’s doing now still makes money regardless, and he’s too afraid to take risks. Who knows? Do you?

Among other films David O. Russell's (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) widely acclaimed new film American Hustle,  which opened in a limited engagement before opening wider this Friday, made a very impressive $690,000 in just six screens and 12 Years A Slave’s total is now just over $36.3 million.

1) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug WB $73,675,000 
2) Frozen  BV $22,184,000 Total: $164,388,000 
3) Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas LGF $16,000,000 
4) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire LGF $13,150,000  Total: $356,982,000 
5) Thor: The Dark World BV $2,700,000 Total: $198,125,000 
6) Out of the Furnace Rela. $2,320,000 Total: $9,468,000 
7) Delivery Man BV $1,872,000 Total: $27,995,000 
8) Philomena Wein. $1,756,000 Total: $11,019,000 
9) The Book Thief Fox $1,675,000  Total: $14,877,000 
10) Homefront ORF $1,637,000 Total: $18,438,000
11) Dallas Buyers Club Focus $1,130,000 Total: $14,257,000 
12) The Best Man Holiday Uni. $1,005,000 Total: $68,969,000
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  • CoolIAmMe40 | December 16, 2013 1:33 PMReply

    I went this weekend and it was hilarious too me! Tyler knows his movies are NOT Oscar material, he just want to make us laugh and he did that! I respect him as a Director, Writer and Actor. Everybody entitled to their own opinion concerning his work. I feel he has come along way and I will ALWAYS support Tyler/Madea!

  • The Ladies Man | December 16, 2013 12:46 PMReply

    "Madea Christmas" got worse reviews than "TP's Temptation?" Not sure about that. (I would have thought that impossible.)

  • Miles Maker | December 16, 2013 11:52 AMReply

    This was a beautiful year for Black film--in theaters and on DVD/VOD and the choices and diversity of subjects, themes and characters undoubtedly played a role at year's end after watching films like THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER AND PETE, FRUITVALE STATION, BEST MAN HOLIDAY, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, BLACK NATIVITY and many many more.

    Tyler's place in the spectrum of Black film is where it should be in any given year: among many to choose from. There is no obligation to support this particular Black film because it's not the only Black film on the market--hence the complacency. TP still has a long illustrious moviemaking career ahead of him, but I suspect he'll be a sub-$20M opening man from here on out:

    DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN $10M cost $50M gross ALL media/distributor ROI 1145%
    MADEA'S FAMILY REUNION $12M cost $63M gross ALL media/distributor ROI 880%
    MADEA GOES TO JAIL $29M cost $90M gross ALL media/distributor ROI 332%
    MADEA'S WITNESS PROTECTION $32M cost $65M gross ALL media/distributor ROI 157%
    MEET THE BROWNS $32M cost $42M gross ALL media/distributor ROI 140%
    I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF $22M cost $51M gross ALL media/distributor ROI 192%
    MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY $40M cost $53M gross ALL media/distributor ROI 79%

    ROI Insight: Why Tyler Perry and Lionsgate will Continue to Make Madea Films ‹ Studio System News

  • MJ | December 16, 2013 10:28 AMReply

    I am not part of Tyler Perry's core audience, yet I do not think he'll stop the Madea movies. His core audience is very loyal to him and forgiving of his missteps.

  • Aaron | December 16, 2013 7:28 AMReply

    Unless he makes a "Madea Suffers A Coronary" to end the character he will probably try one more then move on to something else. That 1920s Jazz film would have even more churchianity propaganda in it with some kinda Hattie McDaniel "Mammy" type character. It's time to move on to something else, something that can motivate people. Television and Movies are tools of propaganda so why not push something more positive besides churchish stuff.

  • Reelblack | December 16, 2013 1:54 AMReply

    I wouldn't worry about Tyler. He'll still be able to buy Gail and Oprah Bentleys if he wants. I think a lot of people are going to wait until Christmas Day to see this one. The weather kept a lot of people away. There was some publicity but a lot of people I talked to just assumed it was going to open on the 25th.

  • CareyCarey | December 16, 2013 12:25 AMReply

    Well Sergio, I think you've just about covered it. In fact, I live with a TP fanboy and she said if this movie came out the same weekend as "Best Man Holiday", TP's would not have gotten her money.

    But to be fair to Tyler and his fans, is there any producer/actor/director who can deliver the same ol' same ol' and expect the same enthusiasm/results? You've been predicting his decline but I can't remember exactly what you based that on? I don't think it had anything to do with his directing skills or writing, did it?

    One more thing, in reference to his films being made relatively very cheaply, do you know if he takes a salary (director's and actor's)? And, what is the average pay for the lead actors in his films?

  • Adam Scott Thompson | December 15, 2013 10:34 PMReply

    1920s jazz film? LMBAO

  • Wanita | December 15, 2013 7:01 PMReply

    I think bad weather played a major role. The snow was pretty bad.

  • Miles Ellison | December 15, 2013 3:58 PMReply

    Any film with Tyler Perry and Larry The Cable Guy is going to be unwatchable hot garbage, and yet this still made 16 million. Mr. Perry has nothing to worry about.

  • Miles Ellison | December 15, 2013 11:50 PM

    Hopefully, he stops making movies. But he won't, because there will always be an audience for this. I'll continue to believe that until one of these films actually flops.

  • sergio | December 15, 2013 4:53 PM

    Yes he does. Will he make another Madea film after this? And suppose that film opens even lower than this one, what will he do then? He always says that he wants to to bury Madea once and for all, but what if he did and his other films don't attract the same sort of interest? What does he do then?

  • Donella | December 15, 2013 3:15 PMReply

    Diminishing returns.

  • beemooree | December 15, 2013 2:52 PMReply

    This film was not advertised as much as his previous films. Also the trailers didn't do much justice. I feel like TP work value is decreasing. Why did I get married and the Fam tha preys are his best work IMO. Not really into madea

  • Sergio | December 15, 2013 4:48 PM

    On the contrary they heavily promoted for flm for weeks. I can't rmember how many times i saw TV ads for it more so than usual. And they even had a press junket for the film in N.Y. the week before it opened for the media with Perry available for interviews. With the exception some advance media screenings for For Colored Girls (and only because they thought the film had some Oscar potentioal) never before have they screened a Perry flm in advance to the media. Clearly they thought that they had a real winner on their hands

  • alana | December 15, 2013 2:20 PMReply

    i think that it is very awesome that tyler perry is doing i love that he is doing this and god blessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu(:

  • Carl | December 15, 2013 2:47 PM

    And this mindless babble is the average Tyler fan. Point further proved.

  • Bebe | December 15, 2013 1:23 PMReply

    Some of the jokes in the tv spots were recycled from past stuff he's done. And, I don't know, the trailer was especially lame and flat this time around. Madea is so obvious that if you've seen one, you've seen them all. And if the situations around her don't seem interesting, people are not going to rush out in the cold to see the same "The Virgin Mary....J Blige" jokes.

  • wdj | December 15, 2013 12:43 PMReply

    In my city the weather is still below freezing with the windchill. We ventured out last night, to see an indie film's last showing, that I really wanted to see, but that was the only reason we made it out in those temperatures when we didn't otherwise have to go out.

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