Weekend Report: Tyler Perry ‘Can Do’ Good at the Box Office

Tyler Perry's Madea swung her weight at the box office again, handily topping a modest weekend at the box office with her latest appearance in Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself. The weekend also saw a passable start for the animated 9 and the failures of two thrillers, Sorority Row and Whiteout. Overall business was off nine percent from the same weekend last year, when Burn After Reading and Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys opened.

I Can Do Bad All By Myself yanked $23.4 million out of approximately 3,200 screens at 2,255 sites. It was the third highest-grossing debut for a Tyler Perry movie, though slightly below average in terms of attendance, and a new high for one of his Fall releases, topping The Family That Preys ($17.4 million) and Why Did I Get Married? ($21.4 million). Though not named in the title like Perry's biggest hits, Madea was front and center in I Can Do Bad's marketing, suggesting the character's continued popularity with Perry's audience.

At this point, a new Perry movie delivering a sizable opening is the norm, so the more interesting happenings lied below I Can Do Bad All By Myself on the weekend chart. Sold on its striking visuals and post-apocalyptic storyline, 9 posted $10.7 million on around 1,700 screens at 1,661 sites for a $15.2 million total in five days. By computer animation standards alone, the debut was below par, but for a science-fiction or action-oriented cartoon it was decent, surpassing such titles as The Iron Giant and Battle for Terra. This type of picture typically disappoints, from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and, while initial turn-out was smaller those two pictures, 9 coasted by on considerably less hype.

The latest horror remake, Sorority Row, was perhaps the most startling failure of the weekend, due to how consistent horror pictures may have appeared lately. Heavily promoted, the picture grabbed a mere $5.1 million at 2,665 sites, which was a fraction of recent remakes like Prom Night (2008) and When a Stranger Calls, not to mention the like-minded I Know What You Did Last Summer movies. The original, The House on Sorority Row from 1983, made $10.6 million in its entire run, or the equivalent of around $25 million adjusted for ticket price inflation, which the new version will fall far short of. More in line with Black Christmas (2006), Sorority Row came off as a generic slasher in its marketing, but the greater issue was the lack of a sympathetic central character for potential moviegoers to relate to.

Weakest of the new releases, Whiteout nabbed a chilly $4.9 million at 2,745 sites. The advertising for the picture focused on two things: the movie's Antarctic setting and the presence of Kate Beckinsale. The setting might have been compelling if the storyline was, but all that was presented was a blur of thriller action that could have been a murder mystery or a creature feature. The poster artwork was particularly nondescript and unattractive, showing a frosted closeup of Beckinsale's face. The ads also made the mistake of assuming that Beckinsale was a draw herself, presumably because she has appeared in some popular movies.

Marching past the $100 million mark in 23 days, Inglourious Basterds grossed $6.1 million, down 47 percent. All About Steve had a standard drop of 50 percent, making $5.6 million for a $21.7 million tally in ten days. With the sharpest third weekend decline of its franchise, The Final Destination fell to fifth place, drawing $5.5 million for a $58.3 million total in 17 days. However, it did eclipse Final Destination 3 to become the franchise's highest grosser.

Meanwhile, it was practically game over for Gamer, which had the steepest slide among nationwide releases. Mustering $3.3 million for a $16.3 million ten-day tally, its 64 percent plummet was worse than most similar movies at the same point.

Last Weekend

'Final Destination' Clings to Labor Day Lead

This Timeframe in Past Years:

• 2008 - 'Burn After Reading' Tops the Box Office

• 2007 - 'Brave One' Leads Slow Weekend

• 2006 - 'Gridiron Gang' Tops Flabby Weekend

• 2005 - 'Just Like Heaven' No Cure for Box Office Blahs

Related Charts

Weekend Box Office Results

• All Time September Opening Weekends