Tyler Perry has learnt the hard way, no Good Deed goes unpunished.
One hot question has lingered in the black community for years since Tyler Perry first shook up the Hollywood machine with his irreverent Madea film persona. Ask any film buff amongst us what the question is, he or she will reply – without pause.
Is Tyler Perry bad for black cinema?
So far, no one has a definitive answer; In part because the writer/director and actor, Perry keeps reinventing himself and his movies.
Take Perry’s latest flick, which is still in theatres, Good Deeds – with himself in the title role nonetheless – this film is a total departure from his Madea creation. His critics though, many amongst the black intelligentsia, should be happy and support the film, right?
The film is floundering at the boxoffice, it’s failed to find an audience and as of April 16, 2012, it’s grossed just $34 million US. Perry’s films are usually produced on shoe string budgets – by Hollywood standards – (est. range $20 to $35 million US) but they usually make tons of cash.
With or without merit, stalwarts such as Spike Lee have heaped only disdain on his most massive boxoffice triumph yet, the Madea films. Are his critics too harsh on him?
Yes, and no, because while his comedic Madea movies have been proven earners, his purely dramatic films don’t perform as well. He has released quiet a few dramatic flicks, such as, Daddy little Girls (starring Idris Elba and Gabriel Union), The family that preys (Angela Basset) and For Colored Girls (Janet Jackson). All of which grossed between $32 to $37 million US.
Maybe the director should stay away from dramatic projects. One thing’s for sure, without him, a lot of very talented, good looking, black actors and actresses would be unemployed or not discovered at all –Sharon Leal, Lamman Rucker et al.
Can The question ever be answered? Is Perry hurting black films?
Only time will tell. Rappers were blamed for taking away movie roles from so-called “legitimate” actors; then Will Smith got nominated for an Oscar, twice.