Weekend Predictions: 'Fired Up!' and 'Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail'

Featured Stories - on February 18, 2009 by Phil Contrino

A cheerleading comedy and the latest installment of the Madea series will try to topple Friday the 13th this weekend.

After the release of such high profile films as He's Just Not That Into You and Friday the 13th, this weekend will seem relatively calm at the box office. Two new wide releases, Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail and Fired Up!, will try to knock some of February's box office champs out of their spots at the top of the box office.

Over the last several years, Tyler Perry has become a very reliable box office draw. It all began in 2005 with Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which grossed $21.9 million domestically ($24.5 million when adjusted for inflation) during its first weekend of release. The following year, Perry recorded his strongest opening weekend to date with Madea's Family Reunion, which brought in $30 million during its debut frame (nearly $33 million when adjusted for inflation). Now, with Madea Goes to Jail, Perry and his distributor Lionsgate will be banking on the fact that his loyal fans will turn out once again.

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The important thing to remember with Perry's films is that the ones that are based on a play always perform better at the box office. Perry's weakest openings have been with 2007's Daddy's Little Girls ($11.2 million) and 2008's The Family That Preys ($17.4 million), both of which were not based on one of his plays. Luckily, Jail is based on an earlier play, so it already comes with a built-in audience. Plus, while final theatre counts won't be released until tomorrow, the film is expected to play at approximately 2,100 locations, which is consistent with the multihyphenate's other releases. Expect Perry's latest work to grab the top spot away from Friday the 13th with an opening weekend haul of around $25 million.

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Sony will be releasing Fired Up! to about 1,800 locations starting on Friday. The cheerleading comedy is rated PG-13, which means that it will be an appealing choice for teenage crowds that are too young to see Friday the 13th. Although, as strange as it may sound, the whole cheerleader comedy niche has probably been worn thin by a barrage of Bring it On spinoffs that have been released straight to DVD. Fired Up! also boasts no major stars, so it will most likely post an opening weekend haul of around $9.5 million.

Friday the 13th should drop as much as 60% during its sophomore frame, which means that it will likely bring in around $16 million. The fresh take on the classic horror series should reach the $80 million mark by the end of its domestic theatrical run.

Check back tomorrow for official theatre counts as well as our complete Top 10 Predictions.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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