Tyler Perry, Lionsgate End Long-Term Relationship (Exclusive)
Lionsgate has not renewed its deal with Tyler Perry, who has been associated with the studio since the release of 2005's Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which Perry wrote, produced and starred in as his popular Madea character. The first-look agreement with Tyler and his 34th Street Films was last renewed in March, 2011 but concluded at the end of 2013.
Additionally, the prolific writer, director, producer and actor is closing the Los Angeles office of 34th Street and consolidating its operations at his Atlanta, Georgia, headquarters. Some loss of jobs is expected, although Matt Moore, executive vp of 34th Street is staying on, according to sources.
Despite the loss of the first-look deal, which was first signed in 2008, and his new "free agent" status, Perry isn't cutting ties with Lionsgate just yet. The company is releasing The Single Moms Club, written and directed by Perry, on March 14. There also may be a few more Madea movies that are already in the development pipeline.
Sources say the parting was a mutual affair after common ground failed to be found. Both Lionsgate and Perry have evolved considerably since first signing that deal.
34th Street was created in 2008 with the goal of creating projects written and directed by filmmakers other than the very busy Perry, but it has also handled a few of Perry's own films. The first movie from the label was For Colored Girls, the adaptation of the Ntozake Shange play, which Perry wrote and directed. However, most of Perry's films have been produced through his Atlanta-based Tyler Perry Company.
The label also produced 2013's Peeples, which was written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism, starring Craig Robinson and Kerry Washington, and the upcoming Single Moms.
Perry's last release through Lionsgate, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas was released in December and grossed $52.5 million domestically, which is a fairly typically box office take for one of the filmmaker's features.