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]