September 13, 2009 / 5:00 PM / 9 years ago

Tyler Perry leads box office for 2nd time in 2009

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prolific filmmaker Tyler Perry scored his second No. 1 movie of the year at the North American box office on Sunday, leading a weak field of newcomers in what is traditionally one of the industry’s slowest weekends.

Singer Mary J. Blige, actors Kwesi Boakye, Taraji P. Henson, writer/director/producer/actor Tyler Perry and actor Frederick Siglar (L-R) arrive at the premiere of "I Can Do Bad All by Myself" in New York September 8, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Perry’s latest family comedy, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” sold $24 million worth of tickets during the three days beginning Friday, distributor Lionsgate said.

The writer-producer-director-actor, whose low-budget films are popular among black women, did better in February with “Madea Goes to Jail,” which opened to a personal best of $41 million. But exactly a year ago, Perry’s “The Family That Preys” opened to $17 million. The two most recent films starred Perry’s alter ego Madea, a pistol-packing granny.

Also new was the animated film “9” at No. 2 with $10.9 million, in line with expectations. The film got an early start on the competition by opening on Wednesday, and its total stands at $15.3 million.

The horror movie “Sorority Row” debuted at No. 6 with $5.3 million, and English actress Kate Beckinsale’s icy thriller “Whiteout” came in at No. 7 with $5.1 million. Both films, targeting younger moviegoers, were expected to open in the high-single-digit range.

Business usually drops sharply in the first weekend following the U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend, as children return to school and football season kicks in. The studios respond in kind by clearing out their summer leftovers.

The top 12 films grossed $78 million, according to tracking firm Box-Office. This represents a 3 percent drop from last weekend, and a 9 percent fall from the year-ago period, the company said.

After two weekends at No. 1, the horror film “The Final Destination” fell to No. 5 with $5.5 million, taking its total to $58.3 million.

Quentin Tarantino’s Nazi revenge fantasy “Inglourious Basterds” slipped one place to No. 3 with $6.5 million in its fourth weekend. The film has now earned $104.4 million, and needs just $4 million more to become his biggest film in North America. The title is currently held by “Pulp Fiction,” which earned $108 million in 1994.

Lionsgate is a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. “9” was released by Focus Features, a unit of General Electric Co’s Universal Pictures. “Inglourious Basterds” was released by Weinstein Co. The closely held firm co-financed “Inglourious Basterds” with Universal Pictures.

“Sorority Row” was released by Summit Entertainment, which is closely held. “Whiteout” and “The Final Destination” were released by Warner Bros Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc.

Editing by Eric Beech

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