'Madea' walks her own red carpet

Perry's latest looks to break out in a frame usually locked up by the Academy Awards

Oscar weekend tends to be a bit iffy at the boxoffice, but a strategically targeted release can open solidly.

This year, that movie is Lionsgate's Tyler Perry comedy "Madea Goes to Jail," which baits a well-established fan base for the actor in urban markets.

Perry pics almost never cross over significantly to broader audiences, but most of his recent releases have rung up $20 million during their opening weekends.

By that measure, the multihyphenate's previous film represented something of a misfire. "The Family That Preys" bowed with $17.4 million in September and grossed only $37.1 million domestically.

Perry's "Meet the Browns" unspooled in March with $20.1 million and rang up $42 million domestically. And his "Why Did I Get Married?" opened in October 2007 with $21.4 million and logged $55.2 million overall.

Elsewhere, this weekend is more of a crapshoot. Sony Screen Gems has the only other wide opener, the PG-13 teen comedy "Fired Up!" and early reviews have been less than kind.

But with a negative cost of less than $20 million," "Fired Up!" would be firing on all cylinders if it can climb into the upper-single-digit millions this weekend — a feat by no means assured from limp prerelease tracking data. As such, it is unlikely to finish high among the session's rankings.

"Friday the 13th" should grab the frame's silver medal. After slicing off $43.6 million during the four-day Presidents Day weekend, a hefty second-session drop could see the horror remake gross somewhere in the teen millions this weekend.

Distributed by Warner Bros. domestically and Paramount internationally, "Friday" was produced by Warners' corporate kin New Line for an estimated cost of $19 million. So while last week's debuts for Disney's "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and Sony's "The International" were disappointments, "Friday"

— a remake of the franchise-launching 1980 original — offered further evidence of a robust domestic boxoffice, recession or no recession.

This session will be compared with a 2008 Oscar weekend in which the industry rang up a collective $110 million during a frame topped by the $22.8 million bow of Sony's thriller "Vantage Point." (partialdiff)