'Madea' Locks Up Top Spot At Weekend Box Office

"Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail" locked up $16.5 million in ticket sales to claim the top spot at the box office for a second straight weekend, beating out "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience."

The Jonas Brothers film, featuring the band on stage and off, took in $12.7 million, the second-biggest opening for a concert film behind 2008's "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert." That 3-D film, chronicling fellow Disney idol Miley Cyrus, premiered at the top of the charts after playing in just 683 theaters. "Jonas Brothers" opened in 1,271 theaters.

"'Hannah Montana' set a bar so high it's going to take forever to knock it off," said Chuck Viane, president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. "Everything about it worked. She was coming off a great album and tour and three years on the Disney Channel. I don't think any set of circumstances will ever be quite what 'Hannah' had."

Feisty, pistol-packin' granny Madea remained unstoppable at the box office. The two previous films centering on Perry's foul-mouthed character — 2005's "Diary of Mad Black Woman" and 2006's "Madea's Family Reunion" — also debuted at No. 1, and they grossed more than $150 million total.

"We've been talking a lot lately about people going to the movies to escape," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers. "Usually, people want to escape from jail, but people keep wanting to escape to jail with Madea. That character has made a huge mark. If you've got 'Tyler Perry' or 'Madea' in the title, you've got a hit."

"Slumdog Millionaire," riding high after collecting eight Oscars last week, finished third with $12.1 million, bringing its total to $115 million and giving it the biggest post-Academy Awards weekend for a best picture Oscar winner in 10 years.

"I still run into people who haven't seen it," said Sheila DeLoach, senior vice president of distribution at Fox Searchlight. "I'm like 'Hello? Do you live on the planet?' But obviously, there were a lot of people who hadn't seen it yet or we wouldn't have gone up 45 percent this weekend, so it's really terrific."

The week's other new wide release, the video game adaptation "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" distributed by 20th Century Fox, opened at No. 8 with $4.6 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail," $16.5 million.

2. "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience," $12.7 million.

3. "Slumdog Millionaire," $12.1 million.

4. "Taken," $9.9 million.

5. "He's Just Not That Into You," $5.8 million.

6. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," $5.6 million.

7. "Coraline," $5.2 million.

8. "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li," $4.6 million.

9. "Confessions of a Shopaholic," $4.4 million.

10. "Fired Up," 3.8 million.

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 5, 2009 at 11:04 AM
    To Rob: how could you possibly say that he is a welfare warrior? He is a man who is doing very well for himself and hurting no one in the process.
  • by Madea Rocks Location: Kinton on Mar 4, 2009 at 08:27 PM
    C'mon folks! Lighten up, will you? You just got to love Madea. Thanks Tyler Perry for bringing pistol packing Madea back to the big screen again. I've got all the Madea movies and I love them all! If I ever want to forget my problems and escape from the everyday stress, I just pop Madea in the DVD payer and laugh until my sides hurt. It's what we need more of these days.
  • by GBHB on Mar 4, 2009 at 03:32 PM
    I actually agree with Tab on the fact that Tyler Perry is a hack, but to say Fox News offers stimulating entertainment is laughable.
  • by Tad Location: Jamesville on Mar 2, 2009 at 10:42 PM
    This demonstrates just how stupid people have become. What an inane way to spend a couple of hours. I wouldn't because I would feel I had wasted time that I could have used for something constructive or spent enjoying something of true artistic value. Oh, hey The Unwise one, not surprised to find you here with positive reaction. This kind of mindless drivel is right up your alley. One day, when you are older and more mature, you will spend less time getting your news and entertainment from Comedy Central and move on to more intellectually stimulating entertainment and discussion on A&E or maybe Fox News.
  • by Rob Location: NC on Mar 2, 2009 at 09:05 PM
    What a rousing way to end the so-called black history month. Perry is just another welfare warrior.
  • by The Wise One Location: NC on Mar 2, 2009 at 09:23 AM
    "Madea goes to Jail" is an excellent movie. It's really funny just like the other "Madea" movies.

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