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Why The Box Office Performance Of 'Temptation' Might Be Most Crucial For Tyler Perry...

by Tambay A. Obenson
March 29, 2013 12:41 PM
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As I told my colleagues privately, I'm really curious to see how well Tyler Perry's Temptation does this opening weekend. 


It's the first Tyler Perry film since 2010 that he doesn't appear in. The last film he wrote and directed that he didn't star in was For Colored Girls which was released in November 2010. Since then, he's starred in every Tyler Perry-stamped film - a total of 4 films over that 3-year time period (including Alex Cross, which he didn't write or direct).

And that's key because Tyler Perry films that don't star Tyler Perry have been his weakest films overall (there really haven't been that many in which he didn't star). And drilling even further, average box office for Tyler Perry movies WITH Madea are a lot higher than average box office for Tyler Perry movies WITHOUT Madea.

So, history isn't exactly on his side with Temptation because, first, as noted, he's not in the film, and films in which he doesn't appear (whether as Madea, or some other character) haven't been his strongest performers; and secondly, there's no Madea in this one, and his non-Madea films just haven't been as big a draw, as his Madea movies, on average, have.

Will that trend continue with Temptation? I dunno. We'll just have to wait to see when the weekend results are posted on Sunday.

Might its casting bring in audiences that usually don't see Tyler Perry films? And I'm not only thinking of Kim Kardashian, whom I hear isn't in the film all that much anyway. But, from previous posts on this site on Jurnee Smollett (who stars in the film), reader reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, not only within the comments here, but also on Facebook and Twitter. She appears to have a solid fan-base who want to see her succeed. So they might support her in this.

And while I'm not particularly sold on Lance Gross as an actor, he's also a draw in some audience circles - especially among young black women, and gay men. 

Brandy and Vanessa Williams as well as in supporting roles.

There's also the seemingly salacious sell, with Perry and some of the film's marketing emphasizing how provocative it is - although it's rated PG13. But maybe provocative is relative here - so it's provocative for a Tyler Perry film. And thus one question in reaction to that would be whether his usual pious fan-base will be turned off by the idea of a, dare I say, *sinful* and *sexy* Tyler Perry movie. Or will they be enticed for those same reasons?

Perry said he showed the film to 100 pastors in a private screening, for their approval, and it seems like they gave the film their blessings, based on what he told his readers on his blog a few days ago. And I'm sure Perry encouraged the pastors to spread the "good word" about the film to their various congregations, encouraging them to see the film, which Perry has also urged troubled couples to see, because he believes the film "has the power to save relationships."

And I'll even add that the trailer for the film doesn't entirely turn me off as the trailers for past Tyler Perry films have done. This one actually looks like it has some *atmosphere* to it.

So, in summary, if Temptation doesn't perform in-line with past Tyler Perry films in which Tyler Perry doesn't star (although preferably, I'm sure Lionsgate and Perry would love to see it outperform those previous films), it might affect the choices Tyler Perry makes on future projects; because it'll essentially further cement the unfortunate truth that the only kind of Tyler Perry movie with real box office potential is the Tyler Perry movie in which he stars as Madea.

Perry himself has stated several times over the years that he'd love to hang up the Madea fat suit and wig, but strong fan support and box office continues to suggest that he'd be foolish to let that cash-cow (no pun intended) go.

However, I can only imagine how frustrating that 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 stretch himself, and 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. 

The only Tyler Perry films in which he starred (or co-starred), but NOT as Madea, that have done good box office, are the Why Did I Get Married movies. But in those, he wasn't THE star. Both were ensemble cast dramas, with actors who have their own fans; so one can say, based on evidence, that the audience draw for each film, unfortunately wasn't Tyler Perry. He was a piece of a much larger pie, so to speak.

The subject matter for both films (marriage and relationships) also likely contributed to their success.

Audiences don't show up when he plays leading men (Good Deeds and Alex Cross most recently demonstrate that). It's as if even his loyal fan-base (the rest of us aside) isn't entirely sold on Tyler Perry playing a romantic lead or action hero.

They also don't show up when he's not in his films. 

They only truly support him when he's wearing that fat-suit, wig, glasses, long dress etc, speaking with that higher-pitched voice.

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, as well as embrace him as something/someone else that doesn't immediately engender ridicule at the thought?

His next two films support my above arguments about box office, and suggest that Perry himself may also be paying attention to these trends: One is a Madea movie (Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas); the other is an ensemble dramedy in which he's a piece of a larger pie (Single Moms Club).

Both being the two kinds of Tyler Perry movies that have performed strongest at the box office.

As with his past movies, Temptation didn't screen for press, although its key cast and Tyler Perry have done some interviews with a few major outlets.

But maybe that's where to begin on this road towards a perception shift - he should start screening his films for the press, before they are released, just like the majority of other studio-backed movies.

They'll likely be crucified by much of the press, but at least he won't appear to be shielding himself from criticism, which I think actually hurts how those of us who cover him in the press, see him. 

If his audience is critic-proof - as we hear often - then bad reviews from critics prior to the release of any of his films shouldn't affect box office, should it? At this point, given how long he's been in the business, and the number of films he's made, I think most audiences are familiar enough with his work to have some idea of what to expect, and whether you'll appreciate whatever he's offering on any given weekend, or not. 

But let's see how audiences react to Temptation this weekend. It's opening on over 2000 screens, however, it has some competition in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Host. The target audiences for each film might vary, but Temptation's cast is younger, which is actually unusual for a Tyler Perry film (another key point). Its star (Smollett) is 26; Gross is 31. Of its main starring cast, Robbie Jones is the oldest, at 35. Yes, Vanessa Williams is a lot older than all of them, but she in a supporting role. 

It's a *younger* film we could say - add Brandy, Kim Kardashian in the mix as well, and you have a cast of actors with fan-bases that skew younger.

All that to say that both the audiences for G.I. Joe and The Host, also skew younger. So it'll be an interesting weekend at the box office. 

It should be a no-brainer that it'll come down to G.I. Joe and The Host at the top; but let's see how much of a spoiler Temptation can be, if at all.

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  • Ghost | April 2, 2013 12:38 AMReply

    I ma tired of the uneducated statement-that Tyler puts black people to work. Last time I checked there are tons of blacks before Tyler was ever heard of and even after he blew up. So can we stop with that statement?

    NOBODY is jealous of Mr Perry. It's funny that is the first thing his minions will scream out. His film make more money than YOU. This is what uneducated folks will scream out. Twilight was crap and made money-doesn't excuse it being crap. All it means you will see more crap in that format.

    With Tyler films- it fill a void of the lack of black films in theaters. So of course folks so desperate to see themselves on the screen will rush to it. Especially the ones with the fear that if they don't you won't see any more black films.

    There is a price that comes with success-studios start looking for Tyler Perry copycats (ie-dumb black women gets done wrong by dark skinned black male and saved by Latino/light skin/white guy).

    That's why you don't hear from other black filmmakers-they don't want to continue producing the type of films Tyler does and thus they struggle-go ask Mario Van Peebles-he went through it as have others.

    Notice when Tyler tries to veer from his format-it struggles or flops-Alex Cross, Good Deeds and even Daddy Girls. Notice films with "strong" black male leads. Notice any black film with a black male in the lead struggles.

    This isn't so much about Tyler but about a black audience that refuses to believe in variety. As long as there is a Tyler film about dumb black women, we flock to it. The MOMENT we try to counter it-we run and hide. Or we will trash it-see Milestone Media (Static Shock) & Boondocks & Red Tails.

    One final thing for the Tyler minions-if I CHOOSE not to watch a Tyler film does NOT make me a hater. I am not nor will I ever be a dumb sheep that supports something because its black face. That is why we are is so many messes as a race and represent so many negative stats in this country. We can't demand better if all we do is support crap because it's made by us.

  • CC | April 2, 2013 5:25 AM

    1. " Notice any black film with a black male in the lead struggles." Reply: And that's Tyler Perry's fault, right?
    2. " Twilight was crap and made money." Reply: And that too is Tyler's fault, right?
    3. " That is why we are is so many messes as a race and represent so many negative stats in this country" Reply: And again, are you implying Tyler is somehow responsible for those alleged "negative stats"?
    4. " That's why you don't hear from other black filmmakers-they don't want to continue producing the type of films Tyler does and thus they struggle". Reply: Seriously?! The main reason why black filmmakers struggle is because of Tyler Perry!?
    5. " I am not nor will I ever be a dumb sheep that supports something because its black face". Reply: Now that may be true but based on all your comments (this posting) you appear to be a very dangerous person because you're showing the signs of a fool.

  • Truth | April 2, 2013 12:02 AMReply

    Look at Danny Boy all butt hurt because folks aren't feeling his boy. You mad? LOL

  • Danny | April 1, 2013 11:21 PMReply

    A lot of hate against Tyler Perry on this site is about jealousy which is sad. Black people who aren't successful in the film industry attack a black man who made it from scratch and became a superstar all on his own. If Tyler Perry is so terrible as people say why does he have such a loyal fanbase? Why aren't other black directors besides the usual suspects doing well? Why is it that Tyler is the only black director who hires black actors gives them work yet people still complain? If people on this site can do a better job prove it or shut up.

  • Fellow Tyler Perry Stan | April 1, 2013 11:56 PM

    You tell em!

  • LOL | April 1, 2013 1:50 AMReply

    CC is a moron and a hypocrite. One minute he's calling Jurnee luscious (he got a thing for light skin) the next he's saying she's unsexy with no booty. And that's just this weekend. Go ahead and ban him, he will not be missed.

  • mike | March 31, 2013 10:26 PMReply

    Lance Gross draws young women and gay men. Can you back up that claim. NO ! Who every wrote this article is a clown, and inexperience as a journalists.

  • David | March 30, 2013 9:32 PMReply

    15 million budget. 23 million opening. 45-5o million total. You do the math. Tyler Perry =$$$$$$$$$

  • Fellow Tyler Perry Stan | March 31, 2013 2:19 PM

    It made $22 million! Your math is flawed God damn it!

  • Nadia | March 30, 2013 8:00 PMReply

    I don't get the excitement over the weekend numbers because. This isn't a sprint. There are still weeks after the opening weekend that you have to think about. Tyler Perry's films usually open well, and then they drop like a rock the second week and continue to drop after that. So it'll open well which is typical for a Tyler Perry film but like all his past films, it'll end up making around $40 million, which is nothing special. On to the next.

  • Danny | April 1, 2013 11:23 PM

    Obviously you don't get it Nadia because you aren't successful like Tyler Perry. Perry's movies don't just make money from box office his films also make money from DVD sales ect. Can you do a better job? Instead of running your mouth bitch.

  • STFU | March 31, 2013 10:33 PM

    Shut the fuck up MIKE! You don't know what folk got! Punk ass bitch! Get back on your knees, TP is waiting!

  • Mike | March 31, 2013 10:29 PM

    Its more money than what your broke a#! got. Stop hating.

  • alexander anthony | March 31, 2013 2:32 PM

    It's because opening weekend is a strong predictor for a film's overall box office tally.

    box office tally is a great predictor of how well a film will do in the film aftermarket (a movie is a startup business that sees the bulk of its revenue in a 5-10 year term after its release, from box office to VOD, streaming and DVD, to premium cable, to basic cable, on downward, with revenue payout every step of the way)... so the numbers are an early way for distributors and film companies to develop a strategy for the movie's continued revenue generation going forward.

    For example, if this movies did $50 million opening week, the distributors and exhibitors would agree that they underestimated demand, so they'd likely expand onto more screens in more pertinent markets. If it did $5 million opening week, movie theaters would start dumping the movie (theaters make almost nothing on first weekend tickets - all their first week money comes from concessions so an empty theater is lost money).

    Tyler Perry's film in particular experience a bigger than usual drop because he has a loyal fanbase and little reach beyond his base. The base supports aggressively opening weekend and the stragglers come in the ensuing weeks. Tyler cares about these numbers because people tend to go to the movies less as they get older - not more, so he needs to develop a wider base to offset the inevitable aging of his base - a base that is not young by moviegoing standards.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | March 31, 2013 1:11 PM

    As far as return on investment, it's another coup for Mr. Perry. Studios love anyone who can bring in a film under twenty million and reap a return of 300% or more. That said, you are correct, Nadia. The true test of a film's "legs" is the percentage drop -- or lack thereof -- for a film in subsequent weeks, Week 2 being a strong indicator of long-term success. Of course, positive word-of-mouth and/or Oscar buzz can alter the trajectory.

  • Fellow Tyler Perry Stan | March 30, 2013 3:43 PMReply

    I completely agree!

  • Kerry | March 30, 2013 1:43 PMReply

    Boxoffice mojo is reporting that Temptation opened to a very strong 9.4 million on Friday and looking at 22-25 million weekend. So to answer the question no Tyler Has nothing to worry about. His fans came out big time last night.

  • James | March 30, 2013 1:29 PMReply

    Temptation made 9.4 million on Friday. One of his best opening days ever. It is looking at a 23-24 million weekend. When will this site learn. This is Tyler Perry not Spike Lee. People go see Tyler's films. Anyway Temptation will be the first of 3 hits for perry this year. It also got an A- Cinamascore so it's clear his fanbase is happy with the film.

  • ALM | March 30, 2013 12:52 PMReply

    Time will tell on Monday.......

  • CC | March 30, 2013 7:52 AMReply

    Tsk-tsk-tsk, another attempt to throw shade Tyler Perry's way, so lets put this in the proper context. But first, I can safely assume y'all know how this goes, so help me with the ending to this popular song. Join in: If loving you is wrong....

    Yep... "I don't wanna be right.... if being right means being without you I'd rather live a wrong doing life"

    Did y'all catch the gist of that song? Well, there he was, a black man trapped in throngs of wrong. He knew he had a wife and two little children but he was trying to hold on to -- as he claims -- the best thing he ever had, which was, a hot chick on the side.

    Now I have no way of knowing if any of you are creepin', aka slippin' and slidin' to the hideaway hotel, but you're sure holding on to a whole lotta wrong. Listen, the "problem" as I see it, is not Tyler Perry. Granted, venting on him makes some folks feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but their motivation/reasoning is dead wrong. What black-male-actors (outside the top 3) puts butts in the seats? Exactly! Regardless of Madea's absence, Tyler is well above the curve.

    Consequently, many of you are trying to hold on to the best thing we've NEVER had. Most of the films the "critical" film watchers rave about and promote like they're all that, are really, well... not-all-that. Not to mention their dismal results at the box office. But that's Tyler Perry's fault, right?

    Anyway, y'all can hold on to silliness like this--> Tyler Perry's films will be required viewing in the halls of academia in the future, much like Birth Of A Nation is now" ...

    But you're dead wrong!

  • Lol | April 1, 2013 1:53 AM

    Aye you dumb bitch, why you sucking TP's peen so hard here, but trashing the flick in the next post? Like his movies aren't garbage ALL the time. You senile, stupid, or just a trolling coon?

  • CC | March 30, 2013 12:43 PM

    NO-NO Satan, get thee behind me. No scrapes on these knees because I'm STANDING UP for right. On the other hand, the french bread, cheese and red wine crowd have the real problem, because it's not wise to kick bricks.

    That's right, church folks and other Tyler Perry supporters have strong foundations and are content in their convictions. So kicking them reaps no rewards, but is akin to a fool's errand.

  • Fellow Tyler Perry Stan | March 30, 2013 11:58 AM

    You tell em Carey! I thought I was a Tyler whore but you got the bruises on the knees to show it!

    You tell all them smart folk!!! We love coonin and ain't nothing they can do about it!!!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | March 29, 2013 10:13 PMReply

    "Fatal Attraction" saved relationships. This will go down, essentially, as a BET Arabesque film with a wide theatrical release (and minus Kadeem Hardison [I think]).

  • Adam Scott Thompson | April 1, 2013 9:09 PM

    So it's two people then, LOL?

  • Lol | April 1, 2013 1:56 AM

    Well, Crumbs ain't very good, but Mark & Darla are fucktards, so let's call it a draw.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | March 31, 2013 1:19 PM

    And by I you mean "Mark"? Or "Darla"?

  • Mark & Darla | March 31, 2013 12:16 AM

    Adam of course I watch, no need to thank me, like so many videos presented on this site I watch, I believe that is the purpose.

    Fact still remaine you are an untalented hack who don't have room to critics Tyler work or anyone else. Maybe if you look between the crack of your ass, you might find something exciting to write.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | March 30, 2013 7:34 PM

    So you watched it! Thanks, Mark... or Darla, or... idk

  • Mark & Darla | March 30, 2013 7:20 PM

    Truth the truth is Adam is an untalented screenwriter, you can continue calling me name.

  • Truth | March 30, 2013 4:38 PM

    Mark and Darla...are both of you stupid or does one type stupid shit for the other? Or, do you guys switch off typing stupidity? lol

  • Mark & Darla | March 30, 2013 4:00 PM

    You Adam STFU, untalented prick 'Crumbs in the bed' shit.

  • ALM | March 30, 2013 12:56 PM

    Adam, you went ALLLLL the way back. Arabesque?

  • DJP | March 29, 2013 8:48 PMReply

    Movie is on pace to gross $17-20 million this weekend.

  • Urban Actors | March 29, 2013 6:31 PMReply

    We saw a screener of the film and, as we expected, it isn't all that great, but it doesn't matter because Tyler Perry comes with a build in audience and his films (written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry) never lose money. Temptation probably won't be a breakout hit, but it'll do just fine.

  • Daryl | March 29, 2013 3:46 PMReply

    Temptations will do well at the box office because of the subject matter even if Tyler Perry is not in it. This is the type of film that has done well for black filmmakers at the box. If it's not a comedy or a film with a lot over the top drama with no real substance it does well. With all his success, Tyler Perry has boxed himself into a corner now because when he tries and grow as a filmmaker with more complex story lines. The audience is not going to come out because they have been fed this run of the mill entertainment for so long that he help contribute to that it is foreign to them when he does something different and force him to be Madea for the millionth time.. Just looking at some of the comments in support of Tyler Perry, this is the problem with black entertainment today, as long as a black person is get paid or they working it's great, that's why a lot of these movies coming out now is going to be forgotten about because they lack good direction, good stories, and good acting, it's not enough black filmmakers telling personal stories or stories for the love of the art of filmmaking anymore. It's stories that are stereotypes that have been forced on black people for too long that continue to be the box office hits. I would love for Tyler Perry to finance films by black filmmakers that have different stories to tell than his like sci fi and are different directors than him, instead of financing films that are just Tyler Perry clones. Box office success of bad films will never measure up to great films that were not box office successes, great films stay with you, bad box office success films just get your money and you forget about them once you leave the theater. This is the thing too many black folks don't understand you got to have filmmakers in the marketplace that love the art of filmmaking instead of just getting paid. This is what moves culture foward, a lot of money with no soul does nothing for black film and black people in the long run. It keeps a stereotype alive that says black people will accept anything and have no standards or value of culture while at the same time spilling over into other facets of society that's not entertainment because the tv and silver screen is a very powerful tool that can be used for good and evil things.

  • Tiffany | April 1, 2013 2:45 PM

    "I would love for Tyler Perry to finance films by black filmmakers that have different stories to tell than his like sci fi and are different directors than him, instead of financing films that are just Tyler Perry clones."

    I'm with you, Daryl. I'd love to see that happen too. And I am also tired of Black folks getting so hung up on how much money a film (or album or other work of art) makes instead of its artistic merit.

  • Traci R. | March 29, 2013 3:42 PMReply

    Shoot, now I'm not as interested after reading this review by Mike Ryan on HuffPost...I feel like I already know how the story is gonna play out. Oh brother...Tyler still can't write for films.

  • Danny | April 1, 2013 11:24 PM

    Why should Tyler Perry finance other black filmmakers? Why don't other blacks help themselves. So typical of black people always looking for a handout instead of working hard.

  • richard | March 29, 2013 3:07 PMReply

    Uncredited Re write, you crack me up! I think those "100 pastors" emailed me this week about sending some money and my credit card info to Nigeria and then they promised I would get back $5,000.00. I cant wait for my money!

  • richard | March 29, 2013 3:05 PMReply

    No way this film hits 20 Million, mark my sweet words! Are you kidding, the worst trailer I have ever seen starts with Kim Kardashian? Really? Tyler, you couldn't find a real actress to play that part?

  • other song | March 29, 2013 2:54 PMReply

    coon ass n*g continues to peddle religion to the Black community. And religious robots swallow it up. it's cool - he certainly aint taking any of my money. nor the money of progressive Black folks who aren't sucking on the Jesus cock. And there are more of us every day... slowly but surely, this Tyler Perry bullshit will end.

  • FactChecker | March 29, 2013 2:29 PMReply

    This movie will open strong, probably around $20 mil, but it won't be No. 1, which in the past has been part of the so-called TP midas touch, and that does make a difference. Also, it's Easter weekend, and for a large chunk of his audience that means a weekend filled with church activities, so they won't see it this weekend.

    And while no one's worried about TP going broke anytime soon, if he wants to reach the billionaire club he'd be wise to NEVER hang up his wig and fat suit. Because he's not an
    actor and he's certainly NOT leading man material, as everyone knows.

  • donnadara | March 29, 2013 1:29 PMReply

    the film "has the power to save relationships." - wow, he sure thinks highly of his work, huh? I hate it when filmmakers try to make their films into something other than entertainment. It's not like it's a documentary or a biopic. It's not that deep.

  • NO BRAINER | April 2, 2013 2:42 PM

    It's comments like "the film 'has the power to save relationships'" that make me dislike Tyler Perry's work even more. Why not try to be a better filmmaker first? Don't make your films seem more important than they are, because if that were true you would truly try to make them better.

  • Miles Ellison | March 29, 2013 9:38 PM

    Tyler Perry's films will be required viewing in the halls of academia in the future, much like Birth Of A Nation is now.

  • Fellow Tyler Perry Stan | March 29, 2013 3:29 PM

    You tell em CC!

  • CC | March 29, 2013 2:11 PM

    WHAT... surely you're kidding? Tyler's films are mainly focused on ENTERTAINMENT?! Don't tell that to the anti-Tyler Perry suck-butt crowd. They believe his films are propaganda designed to warp the minds of the masses. So, are you sure his products are not must "viewing" in all halls of higher learning?


  • Max | March 29, 2013 1:26 PMReply

    The only thing Tyler needs to worry about is this what to do with all the money he is about to make with Temptation, Peeples. A Madea Xmas and his 3 tv sitcoms.

  • Fellow Tyler Perry Stan | March 29, 2013 1:02 PMReply

    I agree with my fellow Tyler apologists. Tyler has not a thing to worry about. We will support him no matter what he puts out.

  • Dj | March 29, 2013 12:57 PMReply

    Good write up but we all know Tyler Perry has nothing to worry about. You forgot to add that in history his movies based off his plays makes 20+ million opening million. The only movies of his to make less than 2o million was FCG, The Family That Preys, Good Deeds and Daddy little girls. All of those was not based on his plays. Also this is Good Friday and Tyler perry fans are off of work. Based on tracking from MTC, BTC, The Hollywood Reporter, Varity and LA times Temptation is looking at 19-24 million this weekend. That is around what most of his non madea movies make.

  • Uncredited Rewrite | March 29, 2013 12:52 PMReply

    100 Pastors approve!!!! Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

  • Niko | March 29, 2013 12:49 PMReply

    Based on the 12:30 sold out show of this movie I am sure Tyler Perry has nothing to worry. I sure Temptation will open around 20 million were tracking has it and make around 45 million. With a budget less than 20 million it will be yet another hit.

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