'Madea' Locks Up Top Spot at Weekend Box Office
March 2, 2009 - 2:57 PM"Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail" locked up $16.5 million in ticket sales to claim the top spot at the box office for a second straight weekend, beating out "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience."
The Jonas Brothers film, featuring the band on stage and off, took in $12.7 million, the second-biggest opening for a concert film behind 2008's "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert." That 3-D film, chronicling fellow Disney idol Miley Cyrus, premiered at the top of the charts after playing in just 683 theaters. "Jonas Brothers" opened in 1,271 theaters.
"'Hannah Montana' set a bar so high it's going to take forever to knock it off," said Chuck Viane, president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. "Everything about it worked. She was coming off a great album and tour and three years on the Disney Channel. I don't think any set of circumstances will ever be quite what 'Hannah' had."
Feisty, pistol-packin' granny Madea remained unstoppable at the box office. The two previous films centering on Perry's foul-mouthed character - 2005's "Diary of Mad Black Woman" and 2006's "Madea's Family Reunion" - also debuted at No. 1, and they grossed more than $150 million total.
"We've been talking a lot lately about people going to the movies to escape," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers. "Usually, people want to escape from jail, but people keep wanting to escape to jail with Madea. That character has made a huge mark. If you've got 'Tyler Perry' or 'Madea' in the title, you've got a hit."
"Slumdog Millionaire," riding high after collecting eight Oscars last week, finished third with $12.1 million, bringing its total to $115 million and giving it the biggest post-Academy Awards weekend for a best picture Oscar winner in 10 years.
"I still run into people who haven't seen it," said Sheila DeLoach, senior vice president of distribution at Fox Searchlight. "I'm like 'Hello? Do you live on the planet?' But obviously, there were a lot of people who hadn't seen it yet or we wouldn't have gone up 45 percent this weekend, so it's really terrific."
The week's other new wide release, the video game adaptation "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" distributed by 20th Century Fox, opened at No. 8 with $4.6 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail," $16.5 million.
2. "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience," $12.7 million.
3. "Slumdog Millionaire," $12.1 million.
4. "Taken," $9.9 million.
5. "He's Just Not That Into You," $5.8 million.
6. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," $5.6 million.
7. "Coraline," $5.2 million.
8. "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li," $4.6 million.
9. "Confessions of a Shopaholic," $4.4 million.
10. "Fired Up," 3.8 million.
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