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Why Do We Underestimate Tyler Perry?

October 15th, 2007

October is turning into a nightmare at the box office as all but one new release failed to reach modest expectations. The overall box office did take in $100 million, which was a health 19% increase from the last week. However, that was still 10% lower than the same weekend last year. 2007 is still up 7% from last year, but the fall season is down 5% and if things don't turn around, and soon, it could cast a gloom on the important holiday box office market.

Why Did I Get Married topped the charts and become the third Tyler Perry film to open in first place, earning $21.25 million over the weekend. This was a huge jump from the opening of Daddy's Little Girls and almost up to the level of Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It also nearly managed a feat no other film from the writer / actor / director has managed in the past: it earned nearly 50% positive reviews. After the weekend, it had a Tomatometer score of 45% positive, which is above average for the four wide releases this week. However, while his films have started fast, they have fallen even faster and I expect the film to earn more during its first full week than it will earn during the rest of its run.

It wasn't a new release but a holdover that secured second place as The Game Plan earned $11.04 million, which was close to Thursday's predictions. It's running total hit $58.98 million, making it the biggest hit of September and the biggest hit for Dwayne Johnson since The Scorpion King. Given the film's performance so far, $75 million is all but assured at this point while it could creep close to the $90 million The Scorpion King, which is his biggest starring role.

We Own the Night placed third with $10.83 million over the weekend. This was softer than expected, and much lower than the recent wide releases for both Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg. Even with the best reviews of the wide releases this week, the film could have trouble matching its $28 million production budget. On the other hand, it might do well enough on the home market to eventually show a profit.

Michael Clayton's expansion didn't go as planned as the film only placed fourth with $10.37 million in 2511 theaters for a per theater average of $4,131. This is simply not enough to convince many other theater owners to add the movie to their marquee, but with critical praise, the word of mouth should at least help it last long enough to still be in theaters when award-season starts to heat up in November. This is further evidence that the prestige release before a massive expansion is not a safe bet at the moment.

The Heartbreak Kid just missed the 50% drop-off milestone, adding $7.28 million over the weekend to its $25.86 million running tally. It's hard to be enthusiastic about these numbers, but it's not too a massive bomb either.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age also opened even weaker than expected, but at least it was close, with $6.15 million. Terrible reviews and a low per theater average will result in a short theatrical stay, even though its target audience usually helps a film's legs.

The final wide release of the week was The Final Season, but it barely made the top 20, earning just $664,000 in 1,011 screens over the weekend. I expect it to completely disappear by next Friday.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Seeker: The Dark is Rising didn't do as badly as some expected, down just 41% to $2.21 million over the weekend for a total of $7.17 million. However, this was a case of way too little, way too late. Feel the Noise, on the other hand, can't even take that small comfort as it fell 58% to just $1.34 million over the weekend for a 10-day total of just $5.11 million.


Filed under: The Game Plan, Why Did I Get Married?, Michael Clayton, The Heartbreak Kid, We Own the Night, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, Feel the Noise, The Final Season