Box Office Guru Preview: Madea Aims to Slaughter Jason

Fired Up! the only other new film opening wide.

by | February 19, 2009 | Comments

Jason Voorhees may have met his match in Madea. Tyler Perry‘s latest comedy Madea Goes to Jail from Lionsgate leads a light weekend when eyes will be on the Academy Awards and aims to give the filmmaker yet another top spot debut. The only other film debuting in wide release is Sony’s teen comedy Fired Up! which will offer up a different style of laughter. Coming off of a record Presidents’ Day holiday frame, the North American marketplace should easily beat year-ago levels once again.

Three years ago this month, Perry stunned the film industry with a $30M bow and $13,688 average for his hit comedy Madea’s Family Reunion setting a career high he still hasn’t topped. Now, the foul-mouthed matriarch is back in Madea Goes to Jail which puts the spotlight back on the favorite character of his fans. The PG-13 film should play to the filmmaker’s core audience of African-American women but should do well with males too. Perry has been a consistent draw at the box office with powerful openings for recent films like Why Did I Get Married? ($21.4M opening, $10,618 average), Meet the Browns ($20.1M opening, $10,011 average), and The Family That Preys ($17.4M opening, $8,397 average). But with two movies per year in theaters and two hit sitcoms on TBS, he does run the risk of oversaturating the marketplace.

Lionsgate has been pushing the Madea brand big time with posters featuring the title character’s mugshot. The built-in audience is huge and the debut figure should exceed what Perry has been seeing with his last few films. Competition is weak as no current hit comedy is catering to the same demographic. Perry should be on top, something he missed out on with his pair of films from last year. Opening in 2,032 locations, Madea Goes to Jail could gross about $25M this weekend.

Madea Goes to Jail

For those looking for laughs, but not from cross-dressing movie moguls, Sony offers the teen comedy Fired Up! The PG-13 pic finds two high school football players attending cheerleading camp in order to meet some ladies. Teens and young adults are the target audience here so expect most of the business to come from the under-30 set. With no major stars, the studio has focused its campaign on the jokes and the overall humor of the story. The marketing has been commendable so look for a decent showing before the eventual DVD which will reach an even bigger crowd. Jumping into more than 1,800 locations, Fired Up! could take in about $8M this weekend.

Fired Up!

Last weekend’s top draw Friday the 13th pulled in an enormous chunk of business over the long holiday frame so there isn’t much left of the total audience for the remake. The Warner Bros. release looks to crumble by around 60% which would give the slasher redo about $17M for the weekend and a stellar $64M in ten days.

Liam Neeson‘s surprising action smash Taken will flirt with the century club over Oscar weekend. The film’s legs have been just amazing and another strong performance is on tap given that the two new wide openers will not compete for the Fox release’s core audience. A 20% decline would give the kidnapping thriller around $15M for the weekend and a cume of $98M after 24 days.

The romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You has been yet another overachiever at the box office and is gunning for a decent figure this weekend. Coming off of Valentine’s Day weekend, the Warner Bros. title may fall by 45% to about $11M boosting the 17-day total to $71M.

LAST YEAR: The presidential assassination thriller Vantage Point gunned down a number one opening with $22.9M over Oscar weekend. Sony went on to collect $72.3M with the ensemble pic. Holdovers filled out the rest of the top five with the fantasy adventure The Spiderwick Chronicles grossing $13.1M for Paramount and Jumper taking in $12.7M for Fox, both in their second weekends. Fellow sophomore Step Up 2 the Streets followed with $9.6M for Buena Vista while Fool’s Gold rounded out the top five with $6.6M for Warner Bros. Three films opened with smaller numbers and ended up in lower positions. New Line’s Be Kind Rewind bowed to $4.1M on its way to $11.2M. Debuting outside the top ten with dismal results were the Lionsgate comedy Witless Protection with $2.1M and the MGM drama Charlie Bartlett with $1.8M. Final grosses were $4.2M and $4M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya:

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