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There's still a lot of life left in Madea, even if Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral is meant to be the final film in the franchise.
It's been a roller coaster few days at the box office, with Madea's opening going up against How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World's second weekend. At first, it seemed obvious that Dragons would prevail. Then Madea made $1.1 million in Thursday night previews, which was a record for the franchise. A strong Friday showing of $9.2 million surprised a lot of prognosticators, who then thought Madea might squeak out a victory over Dragons after all.
Madea's opening weekend predictions were initially from $17M-$21M. After the early success on Thursday and Friday, that was boosted to $25-26+ million.
The results are now in from Box Office Mojo, and A Madea Family Funeral opened to $27,050,000.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World did still manage to squeak out a victory with $30,046,000, but it played in 4,286 theaters, vs. Madea's 2,442 theaters. That gave Madea a higher per-screen average of $11,077 vs. $7,010 for How to Train Your Dragon 3.
So Tyler Perry's final (or is it?) film in the Madea franchise is already off to a stronger-than-expected start. This is despite bad reviews from critics and a low Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score. It still got an A- CinemaScore from opening day moviegoers. All previous Madea films have also polled to an A or A-, showing that the franchise is critic-proof and also immune to scorn from non-franchise fans.
The fact that A Madea Family Funeral was billed as the final film had to have helped the box office. But this isn't actually a record weekend opening overall for Madea. That honor goes to Madea Goes to Jail, which opened to $41 million in 2009. Second best is still Madea's Family Reunion, which had a $30 million opening in 2006.
Madea Goes to Jail ended up making $90.5 million, with Madea's Family Reunion picking up $63.2 million. If Madea Family Funeral had the third best opening after those two, does that mean it will have the third best total gross, or will more fans turn up later to see the final film on the big screen?
A Madea Family Funeral marks the 11th onscreen appearance of Madea, and it's also meant to be her swan song. Tyler Perry told CinemaBlend the character of Madea is always very alive in his head all the time. So you never really know what the future might hold. He even suggested two of the characters head to Vegas, so maybe he's already planning something down the road.
Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral is now playing in theaters. Keep track of what is headed to theaters with our 2019 movie schedule.