Just Call It Tyler Perry's Box Office

Why Did I Get Married dominates another lackluster movie weekend; Michael Clayton, Elizabeth: The Golden Age fail to make much of an impression

By Joal Ryan Oct 15, 2007 10:57 PMTags

Maybe The Heartbreak Kid should have been called Tyler Perry's The Heartbreak Kid.

While the Ben Stiller remake continued to sink at the box office, the Perry brand delivered again, with $21.4 million for the opening weekend of Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?, per final studio figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations Monday.

The Perry comedy, starring Perry, directed by Perry, produced by Perry and probably catered by Perry, easily ended The Game Plan's two-week run atop the weekend box office. The latter comedy, a vehicle for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, slipped to second but collected another $11 million, for a three-week haul of $59 million.

Stiller's Heartbreak Kid, meanwhile, caused more heartburn for its studio, with the Paramount release falling to fifth in its second week, with a lackluster $7.3 million. Through its first 10 days, the movie has grossed just under $26 million, about $90 million shy of what Stiller's last movie, Night at the Museum, grossed during its first 10 days.

Perry, for one, enjoyed a big box-office improvement over his last film, Tyler Perry's Daddy Little Girls, which opened with a decent but less showy $11.2 million in February. Daddy's Little Girls was Perry's first theatrical release not to star Perry. Why Did I Get Married? not only returned Perry to the forefront (as a married guy named Terry and not as his signature drag character, Madea—another first) but teamed him with brand-name performers Janet Jackson and Jill Scott.

The opening for Why Did I Get Married? was in line with Perry's original hit, 2005's Diary of a Mad Black Woman ($21.9 million) but a step down from 2006's Madea's Family Reunion ($30 million).

The 38-year-old Perry is also a director, writer, occasional performer and the executive producer of the top-rated TBS comedy Tyler Perry's House of Payne. He is currently inquiring about naming rights to planet Earth.

Elsewhere, George Clooney proved less than half the draw of Perry, with the Oscar winner's Michael Clayton bringing in $10.8 million (fourth place; $11.5 million overall) in its first weekend in wide release. No word if Warner Bros. intends to stop making movies with male leads as a result of the so-so launch.

Universal, which did make a movie with a female lead, was not financially rewarded for the venture Elizabeth: The Golden Age. The royal biopic, returning Oscar winner Cate Blanchett to the throne of Elizabeth I for the first time since 1998's Elizabeth, bowed in the sixth spot with $6.2 million. Its per-screen average was an unimpressive $3,090.

We Own the Night, the new crime drama starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg, didn't quite own the box office, with a third-place debut of $10.8 million.

In its fifth week, the trippy-dippy Across the Universe (eighth place, $3.8 million), meanwhile, returned to the top 10 and moved past a $12 million total ($12.7 million).

Overall, it was a weekend of transition for the top 10. Falling from the penthouse to parts elsewhere were Good Luck Chuck ($2 million; $32.8 million overall); 3:10 to Yuma ($1.5 million; $51.5 million overall); The Brave One ($686,300; $36 million overall); Mr. Woodcock ($1.1 million; $24.4 million overall); and Feel the Noise ($1.3 million; $5.1 million overall).

In limited release, Control, the biopic about doomed Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, starred, taking in $27,674 at just one theater. No other film, including Why Did I Get Married?, came close to that per-screen average. (The latter averaged $10,618 per site.)

The Ryan Gosling love-doll comedy, Lars and the Real Girl, scored $90,418 at seven theaters, for the weekend's second best per-screen average ($12,917). Wes Anderson's Darjeeling Limited, now at 95 theaters, rolled to its best take yet, $1.1 million ($2.2 million overall).

It was the fourth straight down weekend, with the total box office registering $100 milliion in ticket sales, down from $109 million for the same weekend in 2006.

Here's a rundown of the top 10 films, based on Friday-Sunday figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

1. Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?, $21.4 million
2. The Game Plan, $11 million
3. We Own the Night, $10.8 million
4. Michael Clayton, $10.4 million
5. The Heartbreak Kid, $7.3 million
6. Elizabeth: The Golden Age, $6.2 million
7. The Kingdom, $4.6 million
8. Across the Universe, $3.8 million
9. Resident Evil: Extinction, $2.6 million
10. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, $2.2 million

(Originally published Oct. 14, 2007 at 5:55 p.m. PT.)