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Lions Gate Expands on ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman'

4 Mar, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The $21.9 million box office-topping opening weekend for Diary Of a Mad Black Woman appears to have catapulted Tyler Perry from the ranks of anonymous African-American actor and playwright to budding DVD overachiever.

Lions Gate Home Entertainment has signed the 35-year-old New Orleans native to a seven-DVD agreement it believes will top $100 million in box office and merchandise sales by the end of the year.

Four of the DVDs will be based on Perry's stage plays — Medea's Class Reunion, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Meet the Browns and Medea Goes to Jail — and are scheduled to be released in late June concurrent with the DVD launch of Black Woman ($28.98 SRP).

Separately, Medea's Family Reunion is slated for theatrical release in February 2006.

“It's amazing how quickly retailers are believers,” said Anne Parducci, EVP of Family Entertainment and marketing with Lions Gate. “By June, everybody will know who he is, so the opportunity to have his plays out there merchandised with Black Woman [is unique].”

Parducci said she wasn't surprised by the success of Black Woman after seeing one of Perry's plays in January at the 3,000-seat Kodak Theatre (home of the Academy Awards) in Los Angeles.

Unlike most curtain calls where actors and audience members head in opposite directions, Perry returned on stage out of costume to engage with the crowd and showed a trailer for the film.

“He was doing this for a couple months,” Parducci said. “I saw him in action with his fans and talking to them as [an ordinary] person. You don't see that really happen very often. I think there is an avid base for his films.”

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