Audiences show the love to 'Married'
LOS ANGELES - Academy Awards heavyweights such as George Clooney and Cate Blanchett were no match for another of Tyler Perry's populist tales.
The Lionsgate release "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?," a marital yarn whose ensemble cast includes Janet Jackson, Malik Yoba, Jill Scott, and writer-director Perry, debuted as the No. 1 weekend movie with $21.5 million, according to studio estimates yesterday.
Perry's flick came in well ahead of Clooney's legal drama "Michael Clayton," Blanchett's historical pageant "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," and Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg's crime saga "We Own the Night," which all pulled in modest crowds.
"The Game Plan," which had been No. 1 the previous two weekends, tied with "Michael Clayton" and "We Own the Night" for second place. Exact rankings awaited final studio numbers today.
Disney reported an $11.5 million haul for "The Game Plan," Warner Bros. reported $11.01 million for "Michael Clayton," and
Universal's "The Golden Age," a follow-up to 1998's "Elizabeth," was No. 6 with $6.2 million.
Despite the rush of movies featuring top stars, overall business continued to slide. Revenues were down for the fourth straight weekend, with the top 12 films taking in $85.5 million, off 14 percent from the same weekend last year, when "The Grudge 2" and "The Departed" led the box office.
Though "Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls" had a so-so opening earlier this year, "Why Did I Get Married?" joined his previous hits "Madea's Family Reunion" and "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," which also opened at No. 1.
"Why Did I Get Married?" follows the domestic trials of couples re-evaluating their relationships during an annual reunion.
"Michael Clayton," which went into nationwide release after opening in a handful of theaters a week earlier, stars Clooney as an attorney in moral crisis over a class-action lawsuit.
"We Own the Night" features Phoenix and Wahlberg in the story of a black-sheep brother who makes amends with his family of cops to take on Russian drug dealers.
In limited release, the oddball romance "Lars and the Real Girl," starring Ryan Gosling, took in a healthy $85,000 in seven theaters; "Sleuth," with Michael Caine and Jude Law in an update of Caine and Laurence Olivier's 1972 battle of wits, opened with $50,090 in nine theaters; and "Control" - a drama about Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, who killed himself at age 23, debuted strongly with $26,500 in one theater.