Tyler Perry Says He “Still Has Issues” Getting His Films Into “White Neighborhoods”

     October 24, 2016

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Tyler Perry’s latest Madea movie, Boo! A Madea Halloween, hit theaters this past weekend and topped the box office, even beating the Tom Cruise-led Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. But Perry believes his film couldn’t performed even better than its $27.6 million takeaway if he could’ve gotten his film into more predominantly white neighborhoods.

During an interview with The Wrap, he remarked:

I still have issues getting screens in white neighborhoods believe it or not. I think the numbers could have been bigger had people who are in the white suburbs had the option to go to their own theaters to see it. It’s something I’ve been dealing with for many many years…All I know is, I have 1,500 less screens than Jack Reacher.

According to Box Office Mojo, A Madea Halloween opened in 2,260 theaters across the country, while the Jack Reacher sequel screened in 3,780 theaters. Lionsgate told the site that they stand by the decision to release the film in less theaters, noting how 60% of people who saw it were African American.

Perry’s account of the theatrical situation is the opposite of what some other filmmakers have attested to in the past. Ava DuVernay, director of the upcoming A Wrinkle in Time, discussed the lack of access to indie and arthouse films within neighborhoods of color. She explained to Collider during an interview:

I just remember not having access to films as a young person who loved films but living in Compton. In order to see the film, I had to get on the bus and travel quite a ways to get to an arthouse theater — none of which you’re gonna find in black and brown communities — to see anything that was outside of what the studios fed me, and that’s not the case anymore. The kids and anyone can see films from all around the world at the touch of a button.

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