SATURDAY AM: Cross-dressing Tyler Perry’s alter ego grandma may be reviled by movie critics and those who think Madea represents the worst in racial stereotyping. (“A life sentence…” and “Throw away the key…” were just some of the insulting headlines about the film Friday.) But the public sure loves her. So writer/director/actor/producer Perry is heading for his biggest branded film ever as Lionsgate’s Madea Goes To Jail opened #1 Friday to $14.7 million domestic from 2,032 theaters. Tracking showed really even numbers across the board in awareness and interest, with first choice weighted on the older female side. The PG-13 laffer could come close to $40M for this Oscar weekend. Overall, Hollywood has a lot to celebrate Sunday because of what’s shaping up to be another huge weekend at the North American box office with total grosses around $135M-$140M, up 35% from last year. The only other new film debuting was Screen Gems/Sony’s PG-13 cheerleader comedy Fired Up! which eked out $3 million Friday from 1,810 venues for no more than an $8M weekend. “Don’t know who is ‘fired up’ to see this one beyond knucklehead males and females under 25,” a rival studio exec told me. Meanwhile, Best Picture Oscar shoo-in Slumdog Millionaire from Fox Searchlight could easily cross $100 million this Sunday at the same time it’s picking up its award after starting its 15th week in release.
Friday’s Top 10
1. Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes To Jail (Lionsgate) OPENER $14.7M Fri [2,032 Theaters], $40M Wkd
2. Taken (20th Century Fox) $3.4M Fri [3,102], $11M Wkd
3. He’s Just Not That Into You (New Line/Warner Bros) $2.9M Fri [3,050], $10M Wkd
4. Friday The 13th (New Line/Warner Bros) $2.7M (-85%) Fri [3,105], $9M Wkd
5. Coraline 3-D (Focus Features) $2.6M Fri [2,155], $14M Wkd
6. Confessions Of A Shopaholic (Disney) $2.4M (-45%) Fri [2,507], $8M Wkd
7. Fired Up (Screen Gems/Sony) OPENER $2.2M Fri [1,810], $8M Wkd
8. Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) $2.1M Fri [2,244], $9M Wkd
9. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Columbia/Sony) $1.9M Fri [2,835], $8.5M Wkd
10. The International (Sony) $1.4M (-46%) Fri [2,364], $4.5M
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