Oscar weekend is usually fairly quiet at the box office, but in what now seems like a pretty genius stroke of counter-programming, Lions Gate released Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman last Friday to $22 million dollars in receipts. In response to the film's surprise success, the studio has closed a deal with Perry to distribute seven of the writer/producer/actor's plays on DVD. The plays, including Meet the Browns and Madea Goes to Jail, have already been available for purchase on Perry's website, but as the playwrite told Reuters, the "piracy issue has reached a point where I can no longer distribute on my own." Lions Gate is hoping that Diary's opening grosses suggest that Perry's work can expand beyond its already fiercely devoted, largely African-American following. Perry says he's recieved other distribution offers from studios, but,
I am deathly afraid of big studios … Most of the studio offers were so offensive that I didn't even entertain them.