Matrimonial moviegoers walked down the aisle in droves last weekend, propelling Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married to the top of the U.S. box office list. Lionsgate's ensemble release pulled in $21.5 million, according to October 14 studio estimates.
Perry's comedy-drama outdrew such big-ticket entries as George Clooney's Michael Clayton; Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and the Joaquin Phoenix-Mark Wahlberg crime drama We Own The Night.
Overall tallies slumped for the fourth consecutive week, with the top 12 films taking in $85.5 million.
That's a 14 percent dropoff from the same weekend in 2006, when The Grudge 2 and The Departed led the box office. Why Did I Get Married, which stars Janet Jackson, Malik Yoba, Jill Scott, and writer-director Perry, follows the domestic travails of several couples re-evaluating their relationships during a domestic reunion. It is the third film Perry has directed and the fourth he has written.
"Tyler Perry is a mogul," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers. "There is a built-in audience base for Tyler Perry's movies, no matter what time of year, no matter what the subject matter."
A native of Louisiana, Perry was a successful playwright and actor before moving into films.