a madea family funeral
a madea family funeral

Tyler Perry has spent over 15 years in heavy make-up and padding, doling out tough love as the title character of the “Madea” movies. With “A Madea Family Funeral,” the gun-toting grandmother is going out with a bang. The 11th and final installment in the long-running franchise beat box office expectations when it opened last weekend, generating a solid $27 million when it hit 2,442 North American theaters.

“Family Funeral” may not have racked up the best start in the “Madea” series — that distinction belongs to “Madea Goes to Jail” ($41 million) — but it ranks as the franchise’s second biggest debut in nearly a decade. It’s a rare feat for any franchise to keep cranking out films that are actually making money after so many installments. Tastes change, audiences move on, but Madea seems to have retained her hold on a devoted fanbase. To put the opening weekend of “A Madea Family Funeral” into perspective, it launched with just $1 million less than Fox’s “Alita: Battle Angel” ($28 million), a sci-fi epic that cost over $170 million to produce. Perry, who stars in, produces, and directs the low-cost “Madea” movies, typically makes his films for roughly $20 million.

“You have to put Madea in the pantheon of successful long-running franchises,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analysts with Comscore. “This character has resonated for over a decade and a half.”

Even without critical support (reviews for “Madea” are dismissive, at best), the series has become a dependable hit for Lionsgate, the studio that distributes most of Perry’s films. Since the partnership between Perry and Lionsgate began in 2005 with “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” the filmmaker has made 21 movies with the studio. Those films, including not just “Madea”  have generated over $1 billion in ticket sales, according to Comscore. But now that Perry announced his plans to retire Madea, that relationship might look a little different. Perry’s pact with Lionsgate has unofficially ended as Paramount Pictures now has a first-look deal with the creator. The rights for Madea still belong to Lionsgate, and the studio can hypothetically decide to churn out more installments. Likewise, Perry can still make movies with Lionsgate if he chooses.

Tyler Perry is an incomparable talent, and our door is always open to him,” a spokesperson for Lionsgate told Variety. “We look forward to doing more projects with him in the future.”

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Tyler Perry Ends Franchise on a High Note


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