Tyler Perry's "Madea's Witness Protection" will aim to appeal to an ethnically diverse audience.
Denise Richards, left, stars with Tyler Perry in "Madea's Witness Protection." (Lionsgate / June 27, 2012)


When "Madea's Witness Protection" opens this weekend, Hollywood observers may think they know exactly what to expect. The film is the 13th released by Lionsgate and written, produced, directed by and/or starring Tyler Perry, and the seventh featuring his trademark cross-dressing Madea character.

But "Witness Protection" marks a first: Never before has a Tyler Perry movie been released during the high-stakes summer movie season, which is traditionally packed with big-budget tent poles. The brand-name filmmaker has consistently found success during the "off season" for Hollywood's biggest-budget pictures, typically between February and April or between September and November.

There are plenty of examples of low-budget pictures that succeed as "counter-programming," like the recent adult drama "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and last year's comedy smash "Bridesmaids."

Perry's "Madea" movies have been consistent box-office performers no matter what time of the year they've premiered. Movies starring the character -- a loud-mouthed grandmother played by Perry -- have all debuted with at least $25 million and typically grossed between $50 million and $60 million. (One exception was 2009's "Madea Goes to Jail," which launched with $41 million and ultimately collected $90.5 million.) To continue reading in the LA Times click More..