Showing America's fascination with cross-dressing comedians has no limit, Tyler Perry's "Madea Goes to Jail" stormed into theaters on Friday with $14.85 million in receipts.
The melodrama whose marketing campaign smartly focused on Perry as the wise-talking and, in this case, out of control Madea, is on track to be the filmmaker's biggest opening. If estimates hold, "Madea" could hit anywhere from $37-40 million dollars. Perry's movies are usually front loaded because of his loyal audience heads straight to the theaters opening weekend, but this comedy has a shot at being the entrepreneur's first $100 million hit.
Perry's previous top performer was his directorial debut, "Madea's Family Reunion," which opened to $30 million and finished with $63 million. Perry will be seen later this year as the head of Starfleet Academy in J.J. Abram's "Star Trek" reboot.
At this point, Liam Neeson's "Taken" isn't just a surprise, it's a phenomenon. The Luc Besson-produced thriller pulled in another $3.45 million on Friday and is looking an estimated $11 million for the weekend which would put it's total at $94 million by end of day Sunday and well on its way to crossing the $100 million mark.
Coming in third was the romantic comedy ensemble "He's Just Not That Into You" which pulled in $2.9 million on Friday and could make another $8-10 million for the frame. The New Line release should be over the $70 million mark by Monday morning. The question is whether this Sunday's Academy Awards will dampen it's box office a bit.
Fourth place is for "Coraline" as it brought in $2.79 million, but the 3D stop motion release could leap front into second place for the weekend depending on the strength of weekend matinees. Henry Selick's comeback could make between $11-13 million for the weekend and drive it's overall receipts past $50 million.
Taking a larger drop than expected, even for a horror film, was "Friday the 13th." The relaunch of the Jason franchise fell 85% Friday to Friday to $2.75 million. If lucky, the thriller could make $8-9 million this weekend. This has to be somewhat disturbing news for Warner Bros. and Paramount who hoped to have a new franchise on their hands after a $42 million opening (not that this will stop a sequel). This "Friday" may not get to $80 million.
Also debuting was the "It's not a cheerleader movie" "Fired Up." Able to secure only 1,800 theaters, the comedy brought in $2.29 million and will hope for $8-9 million by Monday.
Predicting finally tallys for Oscar weekend is always touch and go as a majority of moviegoers stay home on Sunday night to watch the Academy Awards. Look for full coverage tomorrow here on HitFix.
According to Box Office Mojo, here are the estimates for Friday's top ten performers.
1. "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail," $14.8 million
2. "Taken," $3.45 million, $87 million to date
3. "He's Just Not That Into You," $2.9 million, $64 million to date
4. "Coraline," $2.79 million, $45 million to date
5. "Friday the 13th," $2.75 million, $49.9 million to date
6. "Confessions of a Shopaholic," $2.3 million, $22.9 million to date
7. "Fired Up," $2.29 million
8. "Slumdog Millionaire," $2 million, $92 million to date
9. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," $1.8 million, $116 million to date
10. "The International," $1.35 million, $13.9 million to date
Look for final results tomorrow.