Tyler Perry Presents Peeples hasn’t been bringing in the peeples to buy tickets, but let’s not celebrate about that. The fact is, it’s actually a challenging work that breaks new ground for Perry in that it doesn’t pander to conservative church values.
Writes Stephen Schaefer in the Boston Herald:
“Boxofficemojo.com, which tracks and predicts movies, was surprised at the spectacular failure this past weekend of Tyler Perry Presents Peeples, a well reviewed comedy that teamed Craig Robinson of The Office in his first starring role and red-hot Kerry Washington of Scandal in a dysfunctional family comedy.
“But Peeples was made over two years ago and one reason I believe it was held up and why it failed is that it is the first Perry production to challenge his traditional church-going audience. Tyler Perry became rich and famous by mining an audience who didn’t go to movies because there were no movies in theaters that appealed to them as a conservative faith-based congregation–at least until he came along.
“So while dysfunction raised its head and women were bad and men were hunky and everyone might be undressed, Tyler Perry movies remained strictly adherent to conservative religious orthodoxy onscreen. Until Peeples, which presents for the very first time–as if this were 1968–a happy lesbian couple who come out to the domineering Peeples’ daddy, an aptly named Judge played by David Alan Grier.
“I believe instinctively the Perry audience knew something was different here and disapproved (in the same way moviegoers can instinctively smell a flop before it opens). They didn’t come, as Peeples landed in fourth place with less than $5 million for its opening weekend. I think Lionsgate and Perry knew this might be a problem and thus waited until the time was right. It seems, for his Madea-loving audience, the time is still not right.”
And that’s so sad, peeples–but kudos to Perry for trying.