A couple weeks ago I pondered the question: does the opinion of a bunch of white film critics matter when it comes to a film like Madea's Family Reunion? Three weeks of box office later, the numbers tell me the answer is a resounding, "Hell, no!" To date, Madea has raked in an impressive $60 mill at the box office (although this week there was a serious drop off - the film only made $5 million in the last week), off an estimated budget of $6 million. Pretty darn impressive take for a film that has a less-than-impressive 30% over at Rotten Tomatoes. The film's success pretty much guarantees we'll be seeing a lot more Madea, and Tyler Perry, no doubt, is chuckling all the way to the bank. Big Momma's House and Big Momma's House 2, which also targeted primarily African-American audiences, also ripped up the box office in spite of being panned by critics. The original Big Momma, with an RT score of 30%, took in $117.5 million off a $30 million budget. Big Momma 2, with a dismal 6% over at RT, still managed to make a $27 million profit ($67 million on a $40 million budget).
If the success of Madea and the Big Momma films are flukes, it would be one thing, but they aren't. Year after year critics and movie fans alike bitch and moan about how much crap comes out of Hollywood, and year after year the critics try their darndest to point audiences to what they consider to be good, even great films, only to watch, befuddled, as audiences flock to the dreck with relentless tenacity. Hollywood, meanwhile, continues to churn out heaps of mediocre (or worse) films, because all too often, mediocrity is what brings in the bank, and it takes lots of cash to support Hollywood in the opulent lifestyle to which it's become accustomed.