Tyler Perry Apologizes For Not Opening as Wide as Titans, Miley Cyrus


Tyler Perry returned to his message board Tuesday to thank his fans for making Why Did I Get Married Too? the nation's second highest-grossing film of Easter weekend -- a distant second, alas, behind Clash of the Titans. It wasn't supposed to go that way, of course; Married once upon a time had April 2 all to itself (despite formidable-ish competition Miley Cyrus) before Warners required an extra week to release the Kraken in underwhelming 3D. That move ended Perry's No. 1-opening streak at two films, thus prompting the mogul to passive-aggressively contemplate what could have been.

Taking pains to emphasize that he was neither complaining nor looking out for any interests besides those of his fans, Perry thanked his loyal supporters for yet another excellent turnout. And then he, well, complained:

It was sold out practically everywhere opening weekend. I want you know that there is a reason for that...being sold out is a good thing, don't get me wrong, but from the first movie to this one I have been fighting for more screens. For some reason, I have never been able to get my movies to play in more than 2,150 theaters. I have fought until I'm blue in the face and nobody can give me a clear cut answer. To put this in perspective, when most movies open, take for instance Clash of the Titans, it was on 3,800 screens, or the Miley Cyrus movie, which was on 3,100. Most movies open on between 3,000 to 5,000 screens.

Anyway, if I keep fighting, maybe one day I'll get enough screens so that you won't have to be packed on top of each other, as well as be turned away time and time again after driving all the way to the theater. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I just want there to be adequate seating for the demand. That's all I'm saying. Trust me, I still know

that this is a blessing.

So, sorry for the inconvenience, but thank you for sticking with it, and me. Hollywood was blown away by this opening weekend and I was too!

Look, I get this -- I'm an unabashed, unapologetic Perry fan who has seen first-hand what some of those opening-weekend crowds look like. But if it's perspective he's after, let's be honest: Only 27 films have ever opened on more than 4,000 screens domestically (the record, held by The Dark Knight, is 4,366 -- well shy of 5,000). Moreover, Perry's all-important per-screen average looks a lot better staying consistent at $13,000-plus than at the $7,000 range in saturation-level wide release.

Moreover, Perry's films drop an average of 57 percent in their second weeks of release. If you are a theater-chain owner knowing this, the incentive to book Why Did I Get Married Too? or any other Perry effort on any more screens than you already allot is about zero; AMC or Regal doesn't need a few hundred quarter-full auditoriums when it can spread Date Night, The Last Song or whatever else around those extra screens. (It's not as though Lionsgate needs a $2,500-per-screen grossing film on its hands either.)

Anyway, love him as I do, when Perry says he'll "keep fighting," what I think he really means is, "I will copy and paste this same lament here when I catch up with you after the next film, and the next, and the next." Whatever -- that's his prerogative. But the "thank you" part? That's genuine. Believe it.

· Tyler Perry Message Board [TylerPerry.com]


  • Old No.7 says:

    Nothing opens as successfully as Miley Cyrus.
    Oh, you were talking about movies?

  • stretch65 says:

    Cry Madea River

  • Jose Lafaurie says:

    What bothers me is that whenever some company, agency, or other producer makes a comment about their less-than-#1 film not having enough publicity, the story is often *reported* and not editorialized like this. Sure, you can dredge up some example to the contrary. But you HAVE to dredge it. A story about Tyler Perry being "passive-aggressive" written as an editorial shouldn't make front page of imdb.com or any other medium. Same shit happens to Spike Lee when he decides to pipe up about his productions... which is only half the time. Keep in mind that Lee was so resigned about the business even when he was young (much more now) that he wouldn't even comment about his "lack of success" half the time. He knew any backlashing would only help the attention starved industry while it would basically continue to bury him.
    So why the hell should Perry's film takes be scrutinized? "...drop 57% in their second week..." What about all the silly Adam Sandler/SNL spawn #1's that flake in their second week? Why haven't I seen an editorial about their averages? Because he never "lamented" about them? Also, is the issue of whether distributors for those films would fight (or have fought) against other films bumrushing their opening weekends even brought to light? No. No comparisons, just veiled disparages. Who gives a shit if you're an "unabashed, unapologetic Perry fan"?
    You, like the rest of the industry just continue to sit there and block the success he might achieve with nothing but the figurative (and in your case, literal) pushing of buttons. He said between 3K and 5K... and you're throwing the measly number 27 at your readers for perspective? "Above four thousand theaters" alone is misrepresentative of what he said. In fact, it cuts the group he mentioned (the 2K between 3 and 5K theaters) in half. Why even bring up how many theaters open above 4K (let alone that no movie has ever hit 5K)? Perry's claim that Miley Cyrus opens up on 3,100 theaters (vs. his 2,150) is maddening enough... *even though* his claim may be false! According to http://www.boxofficemojo.com, her film opened up on some 2,600 theaters... her first leading film... versus 2,100 from a producer that has so many original number ones to his name that it isn't even funny! BOTH of them have prior experience in different mediums (he stage/video productions, she tv/music productions), but only he had succeeded in film before this past weekend.
    If what he says isn't exact, I can still see the gist of it. Whereas the gist of what you're saying, with all your exactitude, is that "the only color that matters is green," an old argument that has worn out its welcome and never really held much water in the first place... but of course one that both rich/deluded/highly visible people of color and white folks that are tired of being on the short end of the "race discussion stick" love to keep referring to.
    Rich/Deluded/Highly visible people of color: "Ignore all the hype! Get that paper... I'm was never that smart... if I did it... anyone can!"
    White folks: "Yeah... the only color that matters is green! Michael Jackson, Wyclef, Sean "P-Diddy" Combs, Colin Powell, and Barack Obama worked hard their whole lives... Why can't Tyler Perry or Spike Lee work just a little bit harder? Oh, and Dave Chappelle... I don't even KNOW what happened with him... he just went crazy."
    Like I said, this "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" bullshit is just tired. White folks are born into this culture without all the unspoken pressures people of color have to endure.
    I allow a person of color that's trying to stay equal in the movie industry to make some errors here and there. He's probably run into so many obstacles on a day to day basis (not to mention this recent setback) that I expect him to be a tad emotional... What I don't allow is some movie industry writer making some crackpot industrial criticism to influence me in the slightest. Who's closer to the distributors, by the way? You? boxofficemojo.com? Or him? So maybe *his* numbers are right. I'm actually sorry I ever cross checked his facts.
    The fact that his movies haven't been as successful as others is something Perry thinks there's more to than just good reasons. You talk about Perry like he's some pet: "Anyway, love him as I do, when Perry says he’ll 'keep fighting,' what I think he really means is," ...then you go on to say his thank yous are heartfelt? Give me a break! Your whole article is an insult couched in words that themselves go on to make yet another man of color seem like just a another lazy Stepin Fetchit.
    While I doubt you are jealous of his success, I might venture to guess that you, like most folks, are tired of hearing people of color complain about being a person of color... or even alluding to the fact that discrimination based on color continues to exist. But the fact is that when somebody who is truly competing says something emotional in the heat of business, and someone like you who compartively has little output (or a production team to worry about) has the opportunity to coldly bury the truth behind that emotion with a bunch of research that the other doesn't have the time to do, that discrimination lives on.

  • Adam Jones says:

    S.T. VanAirsdale, you are comments reek of paternalism and typical white Hollywood racism. Perry knows a lot more about distribution and the film business than you do. Also, so what if Perry's movies box ofifce drop in the second week? All movies box office drop in the second week!
    The point Perry is making is despite the fact this powerful black man has made over $400 million at the box office in five years he still encounters racism!
    Miley Cyrus a white teen actress her film gets more screens than Perry despite Perry's track record that's absurd and offensive!
    Perry is saying if his movies got MORE screens his movie would have a HIGHER OPENING than it did the first weekend.

  • mfan says:

    I don't think Tyler Perry is stupid. This is just an act to play to his conspiracy minded fans. I'm reminded of a Saturday Night Live skit about the top five reasons why the cops beat up Rodney King. Why five? Because "The Man" wouldn't let them have ten.

  • Jose Lafaurie says:

    Adam Jones: No shit, man. Fucking A.
    MFAN (and you're lucky I'm even addressing this), people throw out the word conspiracy with such emotion and "skeptical gusto" that the minute you read the word, you remember that context and forget the meaning of the word. But nobody said the word, so relax.
    Racism is more of a complication (the act of forming a unified idea or impression from a number of sense data, memories, etc.) than a conspiracy, something everyone (including many people of color these days) is complicit in. White folks are very defensive about it most of the time, because the minute a person of color even suggests it (let alone brings it up), they fly off the handle thinking that they were just accussed of being Klan, a neo-nazi, or a slave owner! ...and the truth is nobody said any of that shit. Most of the time people can't talk about racism it's because they become accusative/defensive and just don't know what it is.
    Chris Rock did the Nat Turner X skits for the same reason Eddie Murphy did the "Kill the White People" skit... because there are so many messages with illicit racism out there that they felt the only thing they could really do to combat it was create something in the opposite extreme... not to play to conspiracy minded fans. The police's actual beating of Rodney King (and their subsequent acquittal) did more to play to a "conspiracy" than anything their ass said. =

  • chris says:

    Why should Perry's films open in as many theatres as other movies? Other movies have a broad base audiences....blacks/whites/hispanics/men/women/children, whereas Tyler's films are for an audience of blacks. Just as a lot of jewish films never make it to mass market, because the target audience is just a segment of the population, Perry's target audience is for a segment of the population and not the population as a whole.

  • mfan says:

    @Jose Lafaurie
    That all sounds very reasonable, but there are actually african americans who will go to white neighborhoods to buy lottery tickets because they honestly believe it's being rigged against black neighborhoods. A conspiracy motivated by racism. The word conspiracy is meant to highlight that the racism is all in their minds, though you may respecfully disagree.
    If Tyler Perry is truly unhappy (which he isn't, he's lying to you), there are other distributors besides Lionsgate who would be ecstatic to distribute his guaranteed moneymakers.
    And since I am a big fan of Miley Cyrus, I would like to point out that this is not her first movie. She has two previous movies based on Hannah Montana that broke records which still stand. This is her first non-Hannah Montana movie, and is noteworthy in that it will do very well for a drama. It's opening weekend of $16 million was about twice what Angelina Jolie's last drama opened with, and almost the entire total gross of Robert Pattinson's drama. Without exception, every single project she has been involved with has made money. Miley is it!

  • Jose Lafaurie says:

    Why should Perry's films open in as many theaters as others? Because it's unequal, that's why. As to the issue of whether his films have a narrower audience than others, I'm going to answer this in two parts:
    1) First of all, the majority of people in movies are white men. Nobody coined the terms "chick flick" and "black film" for nothing. So you're wrong about other movies having a broad base.
    The distributors determine this "base" by determining how widely the film is released... not the other way around. The other way around, which you suggest, is that the base is how the distributors determine what to put out, or what has more "universal appeal"... but no matter what people argue about who's counted in a census, poll, survey, etc.—in other words, no matter what statistics are out there—nobody can or will agree on who is the majority in this country. So by that, it shouldn't matter what is chosen for its mass appeal. The only thing the business owners can fall back on then, is the "logic of safety". If something sold once, it'll sell again.
    So because distributors don't know how many people are going to see a movie BEFORE they release it, they're going by numbers. Numbers from the past. Republicans are often privileged for the same reason: they want to preserve the current functions and practices in our country, (including their lifestyles at the expense of real workers, but that's a class issue) which, as we all know historically, have been white (British colonialists originally created our government and infrastructure, remember?), and have only changed with struggles from the underprivileged, who are usually not white men. Change in this country happens only as a response to pressure. Little revolutions, so to speak.
    But I'm not talking revolution here. I'm talking about equality and inequality. This is unequal, so it's wrong. You know, like kids say: "It's not fair." Pretty plain. Now, what somebody in your position that's even less aware of inequality in the U.S. would say at this point is: well, then he should become a distributor! But then I'd have to give you another damn lesson about capital, inheritance, the historical establishment of the U.S. economy (which got a pretty good head start internationally from slave labor), and the list goes on. In other words, even though you might think the playing is level, it ain't, homie.
    2) Wow... the second part! I almost forgot! If a broad base is what is desired, and that base is supposed to be as inclusive as possible, then how is it that a *difference* between it and a "target audience" gets drawn in the first place? Because what you mean by "broad base" is restricted to a specific film, and not universally applicable to the box office itself.
    Arguments that are only particularly applicable are subjective; only given to the person that makes them. I don't care if you are black, white, hispanic, a man, a woman, a child, or Jewish! Arguing this and only applying it to one part of the whole is unequal... and if you are anything other than a white capitalist male, you might want to step back and look at who's benefitting from that unequal situation. Cuz if you aren't one, it damn sure ain't you.
    It wouldn't be new though... plenty of oreos, coconuts, bananas, and penis enviers out there to go around. You wouldn't be the first person to collude in inequality.

  • Jose Lafaurie says:

    I'd say it's easy for black folks to believe that lottery tickets are rigged when cops barely ever cruise their neighborhoods... and stop black folks that cruise into white areas! Easy as HELL to believe when you're black and don't own anything.
    And I do disagree. Racism is institutional, and I much prefer to call it white supremacism, because as I said, people of color collude in it all the time. Why? Because the more you become established in this country, the more and more the folks around you become white. Just as Spanish speaking people in the U.S. begin to speak Spanish with a different accent depending on where they are (Mexican in L.A., Puerto Rican in N.Y., and Cuban in Miami), a person of color approaching the establish will become more and more whitewashed. It's not their fault... it's a unconscious thing... but then again, letting go of and ignoring their heritage is... when you consider the original fact: the established group is mostly white, who also unconsciously cater to people within their group. If you forget who you are, you begin to cater to the same group, just like them. Thus, misrepresentation, unequal distribution... inequality.
    All these unconscious mechanisms (that must be countered consciously) unfortunately trickle down to people that don't even approach the establishment or (in other words) attempt to own things in this country.
    Even in an unestablished group of color, the lighter skinned you are, the better... what's more (as far as black folks are concerned), if you're light skinned and trying to establish yourself, darker black folks trust you less because "you might use your lighter skin to get more goodies than me!" Again, nobody would ever cop to this because when you lay it all out, it sounds ridiculous... but that's the premise behind it. As far Spanish speaking people in the U.S. go, turn on Telemundo or Univision at practically any time of the day and tell me that the run of the mill villian isn't the darker one with black hair... and that the innocent good guy ain't blonde or lighter. Ugly Betty is the only one, and the reason the show was a landmark was because it was the first one to counter that message. Too bad it still perpetuates the "female beauty" myth. e_e Look at Shakira, too... or any other one of the Paulina Rubio/Jennifer Lopez cross overs. Look at Beyonce! All previously more burnette than now.
    So while the term "white supremacy" may dredge up all kinds of uncomfortable feelings (puts white folks on the defensive saying shit like "I AM NOT A WHITE SUPREMACIST!!"), the reason I prefer to use that term instead of racism is because the term "racism" keeps people of color at the center of the discussion. Every fucking time people talk about (or like I said, even allude to) racism, people like you come out of the woodwork to say that it's imaginary and a person of colors problem... and it's NOT. It (white supremacy/racism/whatever) is a white problem... something that they as the owners of production in this country have to own up to and fix. You may also respectfully disagree.
    Shit... even asian people come to this fucking country and "fix" their eyes! When Chinese people are the fucking WORLD MAJORITY!! And you're tyring to tell me that the white folks that own the media over here aren't perpetuating shit? Just because someone or some people do something unconsciously doesn't mean it isn't their responsibility to correct it, and just because the victims of that unconscious behavior complain about it doesn't make it a conscious conspiracy. Both sides have it wrong, and if you're taking one, you're *part* of that pool, my man. That's God's honest word.
    Notice I try to avoid labels and generalizations except when it comes to the establishment. But it's true. The majority of CEOs and the politicans who mostly back them up are white men... and you or any other survey/census/statistic or poll will not convince me because all I have to do is to read Fortune or watch C-Span to back it up. Are you going to tell me there's something wrong with them, too?
    "If Tyler Perry is truly unhappy (which he isn't, he's lying to you), there are other distributors besides Lionsgate who would be ecstatic to distribute his guaranteed moneymakers."
    Yeah, but that would make him stupid... and you said he isn't stupid.
    He's lying to me, huh? So if he's lying, what's he lying about?
    "And since I am a big fan of Miley Cyrus, I would like to point out that this is not her first movie. She has two previous movies based on Hannah Montana that broke records which still stand. This is her first non-Hannah Montana movie, and is noteworthy in that it will do very well for a drama. It's opening weekend of $16 million was about twice what Angelina Jolie's last drama opened with, and almost the entire total gross of Robert Pattinson's drama. Without exception, every single project she has been involved with has made money. Miley is it!"
    =| I acknowledge what you said about Miley Cyrus (I should have researched better), but Mr. Perry's movies still have the better win record. So as he says, the decisions the distributors have made still don't make any sense.

  • mfan says:

    @Jose Lafaurie
    What is stupid about changing distributors to get a better deal?
    When I said Tyler Perry is lying to you, it's that he doesn't believe what he's saying to you. I believe he's a good businessman, and knows he can easily go to other distributors, and might even have their telephone numbers in his Rollodex. I believe he is simply trying to whip up business for his movies by pandering to his base, just as a politician would try to whip up votes. While Why Did I Get Married Too should make about $66 million, a very respectable number, that is less than the average of his last two films. He is just trying to build his business, and he doesn't mind bending the truth to do it. Or maybe we'll go easier on him and decide this is just a negotiating tactic with Lionsgate to bring political pressure to bear on their decision on how many theaters to release his next film in. That would still be deceitful to his public.
    I'm sure Tyler Perry is a pleasant man to be around and a good family man. Nothing personal.

  • mfan says:

    P.S. I also thought Miley Cyrus' movie should have opened in more theaters, as Hannah Montana: The Movie opened 3,118 instead of The Last Songs 2,673 But the studio turned out to be right. Fans and the people who make films always want as big of a theater count as possible.
    And I just realized from scanning the comments that no one has given you the clearcut answer that I'm 100% sure they have already given Tyler Perry. How many theaters you can keep is actually more important than how many theaters you open with, for total dollar gross. To keep theaters you need a) a good dollar per theater average, or no competition for your movie e.g. the only kids movie available, even if it has a low PTA (per theater average), as theaters like a variety of offerings for their customers. Because Tyler Perry's movies are so frontloaded, that is, they do good business up front but then drop off quickly, the way to maintain a good PTA is to open with less theaters. *If* Why2 opened with over 3,000 theaters (perhaps Lionsgate could have threatened theaters with not getting the next Twilight movie if the theaters didn't coooperate), and *If* that resulted in an even bigger rush out to see Why2, then the movie would lose almost all of it's theaters after week 2 because of it's low PTA, and would gross less overall because it would miss out on more weekday viewings. I'm sure Tyler Perry has heard this analysis, so what's up with his "no clearcut answer" remark? That's something you are going to have to decide for yourself.

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  • vikki says:

    movies open well when they dont have an air of suck already drifting out before they hit the big screen.