Lions Gate Home Entertainment, a division of Lions Gate Entertainment, has acquired the home video distribution rights for the works of Tyler Perry, it was announced today by Lions Gate Entertainment President Steve Beeks. The seven-DVD deal comes on the heels of the powerful $21.9 million opening weekend gross of the
first-ever feature film adaptation of one of Mr. Perry’s works, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, as well as Lions Gate Films’ recent announcement to produce and distribute Perry’s second adaptation for the big screen, Madea’s Family Reunion, slated for a February 2006 theatrical release.
The deal is part of Lions Gate’s combined feature film and home video initiative to bring the works of Tyler Perry, already established as the leading force in American urban theatre, to a broader national audience.
Lions Gate will continue to grow the Tyler Perry franchise with a year-long celebration of Perry’s incredibly popular plays, which have resulted in a huge following among African-American theatre communities. The agreement reflects Lions Gate’s overall strategy of allying itself with world-class, brand name partners in all of its businesses.
The deal is designed to create long-term brand value for Mr. Perry’s works, which combine comedy and gospel music and take on the core issues in the human condition portrayed within the rich context of African-American cultures and experiences. This agreement, combined with Lions Gate’s home video release of Diary of a Mad Black Woman later this year, brings to the retail DVD market for the first time a highly successful slate of plays that will have generated more than $100 million in theatre box office and merchandise sales by the end of 2005. The plays include: “Madea’s Class Reunion,” “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” “Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Meet the Browns,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and “Madea Goes to Jail.” One additional title will be named later. Four of the DVD’s in the agreement will be released in conjunction with Lions Gate’s early summer 2005 home video release of Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
“Tyler Perry is a huge talent with an enormous grass roots following who, until last weekend’s release of our theatrical box office hit ‘Dairy of a Mad Black Woman’, was largely unknown outside the African-American community,” said Beeks. “We believe that the DVD releases of these seven plays will complement our feature films in bringing Tyler Perry’s humor, faith, compassion and popularity to a greatly expanded national audience, building a remarkable new franchise in the process. Tyler’s work, which has already made him an icon among African-American theatregoers, embodies universal themes that we are confident will resonate with consumers of all ages and backgrounds.”
Beeks noted that Peter Block, Lions Gate President of Acquisitions, Television and Co-productions, “has played his usual integral role in bringing the Tyler Perry franchise to Lions Gate overall and negotiating this DVD deal in particular.”
Perry added, “While I am well aware of my core audience and how they want me to tell a story, I have also always been mindful to keep each play universal, so that no matter where you come from, or what your race is, you can relate to it. I am appreciative of Lions Gate’s support and feel lucky to have them working with me to deliver my message to a broader audience through our continued partnership.”
Thirty-five-year-old playwright, director, producer and actor Tyler Perry is a New Orleans native who, within the span of only six years, went from being homeless to selling out theaters with his seriocomic productions which detail the African-American experience. With seven shows, beginning with the landmark “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” having successfully toured the nation, Perry has made history, becoming the first urban theater actor to be nominated for the prestigious Helen Hayes Award. His works have received rave reviews and have sold out houses across the nation, including his most recent, “Madea Goes to Jail” and “Madea’s Class Reunion.” Although Perry plays multiple characters in many of his plays in addition to writing, producing and directing, his most popular creation is Madea, the 68-year-old grandmother who speaks her mind and doesn’t hold back.