“Madea Goes to Jail” racked up at the weekend box office

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“Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes to Jail” racked up at the weekend box office, opening with $41.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. “Madea Goes To Jail,” Perry’s first film starring the pistol holding grandma since “Madea’s Family Reunion,” became the director’s highest grossing film beating the $30 million grossing “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”.

According to published reports, Perry’s box office clout has lessened recently, but the success of “Madea Goes to Jail” reinforces the notion that Perry draws the largest audience when he dons a frumpy dress as his trademark grandmother character, Madea.

Steve Rothenberg, president of distribution at Lionsgate said the debut of “Madea” was the studio’s best opening in its 14-year history. The studio’s previous top opening was the $33.6 million debut of 2006’s “Saw III.”

“You could argue that Madea is now the top female box office star in Hollywood,” said Rothenberg, whose studio has distributed all seven of Perry’s films, several of which were released straight to DVD. “The character is one of the great screen creations of the last decade.”

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