Sunday, February 22, 2009

‘Madea’ Goes to Town

Madea under lockdown put the smackdown on the weekend box office, once again demonstrating the allure of a man cross-dressing as a big, fat granny. Collectively, all movies playing grossed an estimated $142 million plus, up 29 percent over the comparable timeframe last year and making this the biggest post-President's Day weekend on record.

Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail busted out of the gates with an estimated $41.1 million on approximately 2,800 screens at 2,032 theaters, nearly matching the initial attendance of The Nutty Professor (1996) and beating Norbit's debut among similar movies. The latest adventure of Tyler Perry's popular gun-toting, straight-talking granny character also served up the third biggest-grossing start at less than 2,500 theaters (without factoring inflation).

The last Madea-centered picture, Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion, packed a $30 million opening on this same weekend in 2006 and was the highest-grossing movie of the Tyler Perry franchise with a final tally of $63.3 million. Fat-suit comedy seems to have perennial appeal, at least on opening weekend, from Mrs. Doubtfire to Big Momma's House.

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