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‘Madea’ tops Cruise’s ‘Jack Reacher’ sequel

Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” opened in the top spot with an estimated US$27.6 million, edging Cruise’s “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” into second place, according to studio estimates Sunday.

It’s the third best opening for a “Madea” movie, behind “Madea Goes to Jail” and “Madea’s Family Reunion” and a sign of the character’s longstanding appeal to audiences.

To market the film, which reportedly cost US$20 million to produce, Lionsgate leveraged the social media audiences of Perry and his cast as well as promotional videos like one featuring Jimmy Fallon as Trump alongside Madea that ended up going viral.

“Tyler Perry is a movie star. Tyler Perry is a mogul. The Madea character has provided box office dividends for years. It’s a perfect combination, Madea and Halloween right before Halloween,” said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

That timing, along with the promising A CinemaScore, should bode well for the film’s second weekend over Halloween.

“A Madea Halloween” proved to be the strongest of the slew of sequels this weekend, topping even the star power of Tom Cruise, whose “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” took in US$23 million for Paramount Pictures.

It’s a far cry from Cruise’s successes with the “Mission: Impossible” movies for Paramount, but it did do significantly better than the first “Jack Reacher,” which opened right before Christmas in 2012 to US$15.2 million. That film went on to gross US$80.1 million domestically and US$218.3 globally. The sequel, directed by Edward Zwick and costing US$60 million, will also likely be making the bulk of its money from international audiences.

Coming in third this weekend was the horror prequel “Ouija: Origin of Evil” with US$14.1 million — just the latest in a string of highly fruitful and modestly budgeted horror pics this year, including “The Conjuring 2,” “Don’t Breathe” and “Light’s Out.”