Box-Office Champ Tyler Perry Helps the ‘Times’ Learn About Black People

Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? won the weekend box-office race, with the Janet Jackson–starring romantic comedy taking in $21.5 million, easily beating out new movies starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, and Joaquin Phoenix. ("Tyler Perry is a mogul," Paul Dergarabedian helpfully explained.) For a change, the New York Times was prepared for a Perry-led onslaught on the box office, as they flooded the zone this weekend on the writer-director. A "Sunday Styles" profile revealed that Perry feels his movies are becoming more spiritual and also that he is hoping to buy an island soon. And on Saturday, the "Arts" section ran a review of the movie and a news piece that both discovered something revelatory: Black people like to shout at the movie screen.

From John Eligon's news story:

As afternoon gave way to evening yesterday at the Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 movie theaters in Times Square, the hollers of audience members during a showing of “Why Did I Get Married?” rang loud and clear at certain points.

“Slap her,” one person said.

“You better take that man,” another shouted.

“That’s right,” yelled yet another.

And from Jeanette Catsoulis's review:

More than anything, a Tyler Perry movie is an interactive experience, and “Why Did I Get Married?” is no exception. At the screening I attended, it was often difficult to hear the dialogue between bouts of enthusiastic applause and shouts of “You go, girl!”

This reflected pleasure is crucial to understanding Mr. Perry’s appeal; it’s also extremely seductive. If you can make it through a viewing without at least one outburst of “Right on!,” then you’re a better woman than I am.

Audiences Get 'Married' at Box Office [Variety]
Sometimes Piety Isn’t Squeaky Clean [NYT]
A New Movie Brings Out Throngs of Black Women [NYT]
Four Couples Gather to Ask One Question: Can’t We All Just Get Along? [NYT]