Never underestimate the power of Madea.
Tyler Perry’s popular franchise heroine returned in a big way for Boo! A Madea Halloween, the seventh installment of the wildly successful film series that he created, directs, and stars in as the eponymous Madea. The comedy took the top spot at the box office over the weekend with a $27.6 million debut — the third-best opening weekend for the series so far — beating a trio of new releases that includes Tom Cruise’s action sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Over the course of seven films, Perry’s Madea series has been one of the more successful comedy franchises of the modern era, with the films collectively raking in $403.5 million domestically for an average of $57.6 million per film. Given that most of the films have cost less than $10 million to make, it’s no surprise that Perry — and studio Lionsgate — is willing to keep churning them out.
|#||Title||Weekend||U.S. Total||Worldwide Total|
|1.||Boo! A Madea Halloween||$27.6M||$27.6M||$27.6M|
|2.||Jack Reacher: Never Go Back||$23M||$23M||$54M|
|3.||Ouija: Origin of Evil||$14M||$14M||$21.9M|
|5.||The Girl on the Train||$7.2M||$58.9M||$104M|
|6.||Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children||$6M||$74.4M||$224.4M|
|7.||Keeping Up With the Joneses||$5.6M||$5.6M||$8M|
|8.||Kevin Hart: What Now?||$4.1M||$18.9M||$18.9M|
Coming in second for the weekend was Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Cruise’s sequel to the 2012 thriller Jack Reacher, based on Lee Child’s series of novels about the titular former military police investigator. Neither A Madea Halloween nor Never Go Back won over critics, but A Madea Halloween fared a little better with the loyal audiences that made the previous six films so successful.
Another Halloween movie ended up in third place, with the scary (as opposed to scary-funny, like A Madea Halloween) sequel film Ouija: Origin of Evil bringing in a modest $14 million and earning generally positive reviews from professional critics — a feat that even its 2014 predecessor didn’t achieve. It will be interesting to see if the film can stretch out its run over the upcoming Halloween weekend and benefit from those good reviews and its decent debut, particularly since there aren’t any other horror movies arriving in theaters that weekend.
The only other new release over the weekend was the ensemble comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses, starring Isla Fisher, Gal Gadot, Zach Galifianakis, and Jon Hamm. The film — which follows a bumbling suburban couple who become a little too curious about their new, seemingly perfect neighbors — ended up falling into box-office bomb territory with a meager $5.6 million premiere. Its opening weekend gave it the tenth worst debut of all time for a film that screened in more than 3,000 theaters, despite featuring an extremely marketable cast directed by Superbad filmmaker Greg Mottola.
This upcoming Halloween weekend isn’t a busy one for new films, with only Ron Howard’s Inferno — which brings Tom Hanks back as Robert Langdon for the third film in the franchise that started with 2006’s The Da Vinci Code — arriving in theaters as a major release. The sequel has already done big business overseas and is expected to continue that trend when it premieres domestically.