Turns out there are no exceptions to screenwriter WIlliam Goldman’s famous adage about Hollywood: “Nobody knows anything.” Even the supposed Madea exception — that any Tyler Perry movie in which he puts the name of his gun-toting granny character in the title is guaranteed an opening of at least $25 million — is no longer a sure thing.
The new “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas” should have been a sure-fire smash. It has Perry’s drag diva in the title, it’s seasonally appropriate, and it’s clearly targeted at the Christian, African-American audience that makes up Perry’s faithful fanbase. Plus, it seemed smart counter-programming to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” an adventure set in mythical Middle-earth and featuring some very pale protagonists. Which also sounds like a summary of Disney’s four-week-old hit, “Frozen,” for that matter, a movie that “A Madea Christmas” was expected to beat.
Yet the Perry comedy opened in third place, behind “Frozen,” with just an estimated $16.0 million, the lowest opening for any of the eight Madea movies to date, except the first one. Has Madea lost her magic? Has Perry’s luck finally run out?
Actually, there are a number of reasons why “A Madea Christmas” wasn’t the stocking stuffer everyone expected. Such as: