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First look: Tyler Perry shines again, '9' has a mixed debut

September 13, 2009 |  8:52 am

CanDoBad Tyler Perry keeps on performing for Lions Gate, as his latest low-cost production, "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," sold a studio-estimated $24 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada this weekend.

That's 37% more than Perry's "The Family That Preys" opened to on the same weekend last year. It's also the biggest opening for any movie from the director, writer and actor that doesn't feature his hugely popular stage character Madea in the title.

"I Can Do Bad," which stars Taraji P. Henson, is Perry's seventh film for Lions Gate in the last 3 1/2 years, all of which have been very popular with African American audiences, particularly women.

Focus Features had a so-so start for its stop-motion animated film "9," which earned $10.9 million for the weekend. Combined with solid ticket sales on Wednesday and Thursday after the movie opened on Sept. 9 as a marketing gimmick, it has grossed $15.3 million domestically in its first five days.

That's $1.6 million behind Focus' February animated feature "Coraline," which went on to collect an impressive $75.3 million domestically. If "9," which cost $30 million to produce, holds anywhere close to that well, Focus will have another animated hit on its hands. The new film has the disadvantage of not playing in 3-D, however.

Two new thriller/horror films both came in at the low end of expectations based on pre-release audience polling. Summit Entertainment's "Sorority Row" sold $5.3 million worth of tickets over the weekend, while Dark Castle Entertainment's "Whiteout," which was distributed by Warner Bros., grossed $5.1 million.

That's a bigger disappointment for Dark Castle, however, as "Whiteout" cost $35 million to make. "Sorority Row" cost only $12.5 million.

None of last weekend's new films demonstrated more than decent staying power. Fox's Sandra Bullock romantic comedy "All About Steve" declined 48% to $5.8 million. The Mike Judge-directed comedy "Extract" fell 49%, grossing $2.2 million. Lions Gate's action comedy "Gamer" completely collapsed, falling 66% to $3.2 million.

Weinstein Co.'s "Inglourious Basterds" remains consistent, however. The Quentin Tarantino-directed action drama finished  third on its fourth weekend, dropping 44% to $6.5 million and bringing its domestic total to $104.3 million. Overseas, where Universal Pictures is distributing the movie, it has sold almost $100 million worth of tickets.

[Updated 12:30 p.m.: For more details on the weekend box office, read this follow-up post.]

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Taraji P. Henson in "I Can Do Bad All By Myself." Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert, Lionsgate.