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Box Office: ‘Madea Halloween’ Edges Out ‘Jack Reacher 2’ With $27.6 Million

Box Office: ‘Madea Halloween’ Edges Out ‘Jack Reacher 2’ With $27.6 Million

By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – It was a battle of the sequels at the multiplexes this weekend, as “Boo! A Madea Halloween” narrowly edged out “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” to claim first place at the domestic box office.

The latest film in the long-running Madea series racked up $27.6 million. Comedian Chris Rock may be entitled to a percentage of the gross. Creator Tyler Perry was inspired to take his pistol-packing grandma trick-or-treating after Rock’s comedian character in 2014’s “Top Five” joked that his latest movie, a passion project about a slave revolt, was going head-to-head at the box office with “Boo! A Madea Halloween.” What was once intended as satire eventually became a seasonally appropriate reality.

“This isn’t the end of the series, it’s just the beginning,” said Jeff Bock, box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, who noted that Perry also scored with 2013’s “A Madea Christmas.” “There are so many holidays left. There’s Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and he hasn’t even done a Thanksgiving one yet.”

Don’t look for “Boo!” to end up in the Oscar race or on many reviewers’ “ten best” lists, but the Halloween comedy is a hit for distributor Lionsgate and reaffirms Perry’s star power. Despite being routinely derided by critics, the film series has an extremely loyal fan base. Collectively they’ve earned nearly $380 million, enjoying capacious profit margins given that most of the movies cost less than a Papa John’s Super Bowl spot to produce. The latest Madea cost $20 million to make, and attracted a more diverse crowd. Typically the films have an audience that’s between 80% and 90% African-American, but this installment’s crowd was only 60% African-American, with the rest of ticket buyers made up largely of Caucasians and Hispanic movie-goers.

“The film crossed over and it expanded the audience,” said David Spitz, co-president of domestic distribution at Lionsgate. “Madea is such a beloved character and the timing helped. There are not many comedies in the marketplace right now and Halloween is right around the corner.”

“Never Go Back” was right behind, with the action sequel earning a solid $23 million. The film brought back Tom Cruise as Reacher, an ex-military investigator with a penchant for ass-kicking. The films are based on a popular series of books by Lee Childs, but despite their best-selling pedigree, a sequel to “Jack Reacher” wasn’t exactly a given. The first film ended up making money for Paramount in 2012, grossing $218.3 million worldwide on a production budget of $60 million, but it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster. The film did, however, have a healthy after-life on home entertainment platforms.

“It felt for awhile like every time I’d go on a plane, it was the movie every person was watching,” said Megan Colligan, Paramount’s president of worldwide distribution and marketing. “It was a movie that expanded its audience.” Read more here

GiGi Capone

October 24th, 2016

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