*For two weekends in a row Tyler Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” has beat out formidable competition from the likes of Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks to score #1 at the box office. Although the industry has registered surprise by this latest accomplishment, the truth of the matter is that Perry has been proving industry naysayers wrong for over two decades.
With a portfolio that includes hit plays, TV Shows (“The Have & The Have Nots”), plus an inventory of films that have collectively grossed over half a billion dollars, Perry is the owner of a proven formula that has yield bottom line results for the industry. An long established commodity in Black America, Taylor’s latest film has successfully crossed over to other demos, with early reports showing his latest audience to be 60% black and 40% percent white and Hispanic.
Shot in a little over a week, “Boo” stars a cast of unknowns, (with the exception of Tyler as Madea). The simple plot is driven by what happens when Madea is asked to watch two teenagers on Halloween night. Of course, hilarity ensures, as Tyler and his cohorts encounter plot lines lifted from some of the all-time Halloween movies. Expectations at the time of its national release were modest, given that it would be opening alongside box office champ, Tom Cruise’s hit “Jack Reacher” franchise. However, when the dust settled, “Boo” open with nearly 30 million at the box office. During its second weekend, it pounced the competition again (including the highly coveted, “Inferno,” starring Oscar winner Tom Hanks). Needless to say, folks are taking notice.
Of course, the implications for how a black man in a dress could be Hollywood’s biggest black star, is something that we will tackle later, but for the time being, we are celebrating this brother’s success and speaking with him to get a clue about Madea’s lasting appeal.