Within the last week or so I’ve seen four movies (Death at a Funeral, Michael Clayton, The really terribly Heartbreak Kid, and something else that couldn’t have been that good). Within any given year, I see well over 100 movies in the theatre alone. On the AFI top 100 I’ve seen somewhere in the mid 90’s and I’ve seen well over 90% of the IMDb top 250. I’ve even seen a lot of the bottom 100.
Anyhow, I was watching TBS or Peachtree TV or whatever the eff it is (I know, I feel pretty bad about it too) and I kept seeing commercials for some Tyler Perry TV show and some new movie that he has recently released. I then went and checked the box office results and I’ll be damned if he isn’t number one with some movie called Why did I get married?!
I don’t know either, all I know is at my local urban theatre Friday night there were charter buses in the parking lot bringing people to see that film, something I haven’t seen since that movie about the evil Jews who killed Christ.
Wee Bairn - After The Passion of the Christ was released, South Park did an episode called The Passion of the Jew that featured an Eric Cartman that had a desire to finish Hitlers Work. An idea that he got from Passion.
From The NY Times article, I can tell that his movies clearly are not for me. Strictly from the article, I get an image of Seventh Heaven with Crack.
Speaking directly out of my ass from a vantage point of never having seen more than a minute or two of his work, my WAG is that he appeals to a demographic that isn’t interested in seeing gangsta entertainment but has enough of that vibe in the work to appeal to those who’re interested in that as well. Couple it with the general lack of African American-majority mainstream entertainment and he’s tapping a market where he has few contenders.
Tyler Perry makes entertainment for black people. Not that he doesn’t want white people to enjoy his work or anything like that.
He makes and markets his stuff for a black audience. He started with plays that grossed far more than broadway shows, but since he didn’t have them in a broadway theatre, it’s not reported in the entertainment news.
His films target a black audience. They play in theatres that have black audience support. The advertising is done mostly on places like BET or on TV shows that have a predominatly black audience. His films are generally ‘nice’. People don’t shoot each other and become rap singers. They go to church and try to be good people. Not your typical Hollywood fare for people of any race.
And now for the upteenth time, box office analysts are ‘suprised’ by his film being number 1 over the weekend.
Like his product or not, he is quietly making a fortune. He connects with his audience. Just because you aren’t his audience doesn’t matter, just as the fact that I’m not Michale Bay’s audience doen’t matter to him. Really if he keeps this up, he will deserve the Irving Thalberg Award.
I like the other stories in the couple of movies I’ve seen; I just don’t care for the drag performance. But it is funny he always has to say “Tyler Perry’s…”, leading to the The Soup spoof “Tyler Perry presents Tyler Perry’s Tyler Perry featuring Tyler Perry.”
Perry’s specialty is angsty-soap opera stuff, with very good looking, good black women done wrong by a man who is mean and arrogant, who nevertheless struggle on, make do and carry-on with the strength of the Lord along with a better, stronger, sensitive beafcakey, black man than the one who originally did her wrong, leavened with a number of excellent one-line zingers thrown in along the way.
His Medea character is himself in drag, and he usually gives himself the best one liners. In his currently released film though, the character played by Tasha Smith got the best lines.
From the really bad play I saw of his (and the people with whom I watched it) - I’d guess 45-80.
He marketed his work to a demographic that is entirely ignored by the entertainment industry. As it turns out, they’ve got money and are willing to spend it on movies and dvds. Even bad movies. Really, really bad movies.