Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail locked up the top spot this weekend
Dade Hayes of Variety.
Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail" took in $41.1 million, giving Lionsgate its biggest opening weekend during a time of instability for the company.
The Tyler Perry bow far surpassed the previous Lionsgate high of $33.6 million on "Saw III" in 2006. Perry and Lionsgate have been a potent combo, with the multihyphenate's seven pics grossing $300 million to date at the domestic B.O.
Overall B.O. continued its remarkable hot streak, gaining about 30% thanks to strong carryover frames for "Taken" and "Coraline," which finished No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. "Madea's" per-screen average of $20,236 was the highest for any pic since last November's "Twilight" phenom.
The only other wide bow on Oscar weekend, Screen Gems comedy "Fired Up," collected $6 million from 1,810 locations. Fox's Liam Neeson thriller "Taken" notched another $11.4 million, dipping just 40% to reach a cue of $95.2 million.
The "Madea" numbers, coupled with January low-budget 3-D release "Bloody Valentine" hitting $50 million, gave Lionsgate a positive finish to a bumpy February.
The company reported a quarterly loss, badly missing Wall Street estimates, and also announced significant cuts in production spending and release output for fiscal 2010. As its stock price spiraled downward, activist investor Carl Icahn upped his stake in the company by scooping up bargain-priced shares.
"To have the second biggest hit of the year after less than two months is really a good feeling," said distrib chief Steve Rothenberg.
Joshua Rich of EW:
If anybody had a reason to doubt whether Tyler Perry has become one of the most bankable brands in all of movies, be skeptical no longer.
To beat poorly reviewed Fired Up is not a shock--but to break the company record holder of Saw III--Wow!