What’s In A Name? Especially When That Name Is Tyler Perry (Survey)

What's In A Name? Especially When That Name Is Tyler Perry (Survey)

A survey on a slow news day (although I’m also tied up with some other business right now).

Given the heavy debate over the lackluster performance of Tina Gordon Chism’s Peeples over the weekend (read all 100+ comments and counting that followed Sergio’s box office post HERE), I thought I’d follow that up with a related question for all you filmmakers reading this.

In short, the debate has centered primarily on whether Tyler Perry’s attachment (in name only) is largely to blame for the film’s surprisingly lukewarm opening weekend box office performance.

Essentially, it all came down to, which is more attractive, or maybe I should say, less risky? Tyler Perry Presents Peeples, or Tina Gordon Chism’s Peeples, or maybe just Peeples.

The question to you filmmakers is this: hypothetically, if you were approached by Tyler Perry with interest in backing your feature film project (financing it and acting as producer), would you accept, with the caveat that the film’s title, upon release, is preceded by “Tyler Perry Presents…,” and, as he did with Tina Gordon Chism, he’ll be very involved in the marketing of the film (for example, I recall the Huffington Post Live interview I posted a couple of days ago, with both Perry and Chism, that was about 35 minutes long, and was dominated by conversation with and about Tyler Perry, instead of Chism and the film they were both there to push).

Makes sense?

There are some who still don’t know who Tina Gordon Chism is, that she directed the film (which she also wrote); they still think it’s a Tyler Perry movie, which is unfortunate for Chism, I think. Although she does have another project in development currently, so I wouldn’t necessarily be too worried about where she’s going.

So, if you were presented with this option, what would your reply be, considering the pros and cons of the debate I referenced above? Before you reply, I’d add that you may want to consider what your long-term outlook as a filmmaker is; do you want to get your film made, and into the marketplace by any means necessary, which actually may (or may not) open more doors for you to continue on as a filmmaker within the industry? Or does your immediate concern for what “Tyler Perry Presents…” might mean for your film trump everything else (assuming you are one of those filmmakers who despises the Tyler Perry brand and what it has come to stand for in the marketplace)?

So while I go handle some other business, and dig up some other items to post, dig in with your responses below.

This Article is related to: Features


Comments

branno gord

hey i am your fan!!!!

Stealth Ninja

Listen folks, Ms Tina Gordon Chism is a fraud, two Federal Lawsuit regarding criminal infringement, and RICO Act. Research Lassiter vs. Fox, Drumline, Ledford vs Dallas Austin and ATL. She was hired by the movie companies to and Dallas Austin to rewrite these artist stories, and take the credit for it. This is why the movie failed, it wasn't Perry for he was con, and was the pen of Tina Chism Gordon…You reap what you sowed, and Ms. Chism will never be a successful writer…Period!!

Justin D.

I'd have to find another way to get my film produced. I would hate for anyone else to get the credit for my work (especially if that "someone else" is Perry). I'm not out to perpetuate the fueling of his ego, I'm out to tell a story.

Producer Unknown Yet But It Is Coming

The casting wasn't bad it was the timing of films release

Donella

I don't remember the marketing efforts too clearly (which speaks to one problem), but I did not catch the fact that Tina Gordon Chism was the screenwriter of ATL and Drumline during the Peeples pre-opening publicity efforts. Drumline earned $56 million and ATL earned $21 million at the box office which speaks well to Chism's writing. These two movies are known within the Black community and maybe Drumline known more by the mainstream. Maybe the association with these two movies should have been acknowledged more as a reference for people on the fence on whether or not to put money on Peeples. The movie title might also have thrown people off? Drumline and ATL are pretty descriptive. Peeples? You might not know for sure what that movie's about. What a tough opening weekend and I wonder who chose the date? Shall I look at the executive producer with influence at Lionsgate for that decision? Those consumers not interested in drama and romance turned to Iron Man. Those consumers not interested in flash bang action turned to The Great Gatsby. Two powerhouse movies… and then Peeples. Early winter, Jan or Feb might have served better as a release date. Perhaps even March on a slow boring weekend at the movies. Finally, the Tyler Perry brand started strong mid-2000s but has revealed diminishing returns lately for various reasons. Possibly, conveyor belt over-saturation of the marketplace with his own productions (film, television, stage). However, I believe Tina Gordon Chism, as well as Craig Robinson, will survive this bump in the road. For instance, Robinson has several other projects lined up for wide release and the benefit of many positive relationships in the comedy world. The long gap between ATL and Peeples (seven years) makes me wonder whether Chism had a hard time of it getting financing and mainstream distribution for her projects. If this is the case, if she had no wide array of options, then she was likely right to make the hard business box office decision to trade for publicity–Tyler Perry's producer gravitas versus Tina Gordon Chism's screenwriter gravitas. And… well… learning experience… hindsight… 20/20… But I congratulate Chism on her body of work and I hope she continues to write and direct. You don't win if you don't play. As Meatloaf said, honey 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Beezdablock

Good film! I liked it! I will be watching out for this director/writer from now on.

Mark and Darla

Hate typing on a laptop.

Just like other groups of movies goers or television watchers in other races, black people likes varieties. There are black people who love the Cosby Show and black people who love Good Times and then some who love both, me.

Baskin Robbins sell thirty one favors of ice cream last I check, think their on-going success would be what it is today selling three favors chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

Nature gives human different colors to look at, green grass and trees, blue sky, black and brown dirt, different shades of sand and the biggest gift of all birds of many color and shapes.

Human comes in skin colors, hair texture and eye shape.

We wear different color clothes, shoes and shoe shapes, why because we love varieties.

It is impossible and goes against human nature for every black person dislike Tyler Perry movies.

Encouraging black person to dislike Tyler Perry is like trying to stop an earthquake from hitting Japan in the future.

My dad loved Good Times because he was a James Evans, WW2 vet, uneducated, painter, carpenter, builder and janitor. He did what he had to to feed seven children from 1953 to 1970, life got better in 1970 when my mother became a teacher. I lived the Good Times show, did I appreciated Cosby, Family Matter and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, yes.

Mark and Darla

,,Just like other groups of movies goers or television watchers in other races, black people likes varieties. There are black people who love the Cosby Show and black people who love Good Times and then some who love both, me.

My dad loved Good Times because he was a James Evans, born

C

.

TAZ

…fell asleep, now awake……and another thing….

I am glad TP tried to help Ms. Tina. Thanks to him, she is on my radar. Very decent movie it was….glad I ignored all you haters. What he did for her was more than anyone has probably done for another upcoming artist or him for that matter. I don't buy Essence much anymore but I did this months because TP and Oprah were on the front. I am GLAD for the title of the article alone……"THE POWER OF TWO.' My imagination makes me wonder what we could get with TP, Oprah, Spike, Rees, Singleton, Dash, Cosby, Hamilton, McQueen…..What would the collective power of many bring? But no. We do not encourage, inspire or elevate with our mouths, dollars or sense. But we expect to be fed better meals? We don't respect the spam we have…..why would we deserve a smorgasbord of filet mignon, grilled shrimp and lobster?

Oprah: [Tyler's] studio took my breath away. He can do multiple television shows and movies. He has sound stages, back lots and stage sets. He brings his strengths and I bring mine.

Damn, what we can do if the majority of us thought along the same lines, instead of tearing our culture to shreds.

Tyler: Our other brothers and sisters do it all the time, but there is something about our culture that stays divided.

….and you should seek the rest. Especially the end. I'm not going to tell you. Support your brothers and sisters that work for the magazine and buy the magazine every once and a while, then disperse the knowledge.

But let me now answer the original question – Did our favorite whipping boy TP drive people away?

Truth is, black folk do not support most black folk simply because they…..black or because the fact is that NOT ENOUGH Black Peeps go the movies often enough or consistently enough. We are fickle. And TP base did not see the movie because they knew it was not a TP/Madea movie. Duh. See we support black folk that do what we like, say what we would say, look like we would look, feel like we would feel, stand like we stand, lie like we lie, marry who we would marry, and on and on and on. If a black person does "Something New", we feverishly love to say why! And we harp, harp, harp, harp….and write blog after blog after blog and we mention over and over and over again….even if the topics don't match….over and over and over……and joke, joke, joke, joke, joke, joke…..endlessly. If someone didn't know there are people who did not like Morgan Freeman, there is no mistake after reading this webpage, for example. Now if beloved Spike did a movie about the historical foundation, conflicts and defining traits of this culture – true intellectual, in your face study – we know he would get more of…..FLACK than Money or success.

So…..

The bottom line is that if the damn movie was just called Peeples, no one would have seen it.

The middle line is that if the damn movie was called Tina Chism's Peeples, people would have said, who the hell is this Tina girl and why should I see this ish?"……joke, joke and no one would have seen it.

The TOP OF THE LINE is that if the damn movie was called Ordinary People, people would have been intrigued and may have seen the movie because…..TP was not mentioned, it didn't have a title with a 'urban' ring to it and the title sounds more gentile or ___insert any other bougie reason here________.

Its tight and I dare say more right than wrong.

And I am a single upper middle class black woman who goes to the movies to be entertained (action/drama); support my culture (black filmakers, actors); escape and engage my mind (suspense/legal); connect to my inner kid (animation); learn something new (different genres); and to feel good or forget my troubles (spiritual/comedies). Depending on my mood, what is showing, and if there is an installment of a series or director that I like…… (Bourne, New 007, Avengers, Black film or Christopher Nolan) determines what I watch. I go usually no more than 3-4 a year. However I collect DVDs for my continuous enjoyment and support of my peeps.

TAZ

Excuses mooches. We talking pathology of villains, moola, upper class, middle class, ghetto, vision, chitlin' circuit, one note. Just stop it and let me be real.

The top of this page has the title "Shadow and Act: On Cinema of the African Diaspora."

I thought it meant that this would be a place where all types of Cinematic Arts based on the African culture as it has dispersed and realigned – where people of all ages, races, cultures, and backgrounds – could congregate to enjoy, appreciate, create, uplift and discuss meaningfully – the past, current and future history of African Cinematic Arts heritage.

And to be honest, sometimes the sweet spot was hit. Used to be more often a few years ago and now, if I want to know what not to like, who to hate, why I shouldn't care or support, how bad something is doing…..I can definitely find it here. Thank you for nuttin' honey.

Jess

I would have to say no. If you know from the outset that your brand isn't compatible with his audience, it wouldn't be worth it. You'd be better off trying to do a Lifetime TV event and get many more eyeballs than you would at a theater. I think cable events, Hulu and other VOD will be the way for lesser-known black filmmakers to grow an audience right now.

It seems that Tyler's devotees don't like middle-class, intelligent, pathology-free Negroes on-screen unless they're the villains of the story. Just sayin'.

Jeremy M. Jones

If his name "greenlights" my film…absolutely!!! I would just come with a WAYYY grittier story than "Peeples" and follow the Lee Daniels recipe for box office success (i.e. add a more bankable star than Craig Robinson and perhaps sprinkle a few notable names of different races).

Bohemian princess

There needs to be a character limit in the comment section. Some people have a serious case of diarrhea of the pen (or keyboard in this case)

Gigi Young

Um, the problem is the lack of hype. I'd heard one thing about this film back when it was called "We the Peepkes," and was shocked to see a trailer on TV…two weeks before the oremiete. Did Kerry, Craig, and David go on a publicity blitz I missed? I don't even know what the screenwriter/director looks like–she surely did not get a spread in Essence or Ebony. In comparison, everyone knows of Tyler Perry productions: Shadow and Act itself regularly trawks through Tyler Perry's upcoming and announced projects, and there was chatter over a year about his recent relase. And face it: Kerry Washington is not a box office draw despite the success of Scandal, Craig Robinson is touted as the next great black funnyman, but he's on a low rated very "white" comedy (in comparison to Kevin Hart, ), and Davud Alan Grier isn't exactly a buzzed about comeback. Plus, Peeples was up against Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby. Plain and simple, it got lost in the shuffle. Plus, I still don't really know what it's about after watching the trailer a few times!

CBF

Hey Tina. When your "Inheritance" comes out, don't put TYLER PERRY PRESENTS in front of it!

Thank you,
concerned black filmmaker

Adam Scott Thompson

It depends. If I'm helping to produce something that appeals to his hard demo then it makes sense to accept the "Tyler Perry Presents" amendment to the title. However, if the film does not fall within his typical sphere of influence — say, a sci-fi or action-thriller film — then I feel it would not be to my benefit. Of course, as is the case in all Faustian situations, it's hard to say what one would do unless actually confronted with the opportunity and a choice.

Frank

Whether people are happy with it or not the brand of Tyler Perry and his ownership & monopoly on the African- American audience since 2005 cannot be questioned. In many regards he has pivoted Hollywood to his box office average, where many executive's won't green light a movie unless it is guaranteed to make 50 million or more. Tina Gordon Chism's "Peeples" wasn't a a bad movie or poorly written but it was poorly cast (Craig Robinson). It would be ideal to say that because of Tyler Perry the quality of the movie was cheapened but we have to admit that Tyler Perry has been and will continue to be a boost for any movie, let alone one written & produced by a African- American filmmaker that no one has ever heard of (Chism). As the aforementioned statements have said, major distribution from Lionsgate cannot be turned down in the film industry. There are other major factors that contributed to the opening weekend "failure" of this movie. First, Iron Man 3 & The Great Gatsby are going to dominate and pull alot of the members of Tyler Perry's fan base due to the former being an action movie and the latter being a anticipated movie based upon a popular book that many have been waiting to see; myself included. Secondly, the publicity for Peeples & TV appearances with Kerry Washington gave Peeples recognition; but the story did not have a special element that made it stand out & Kerry Washington needs a leading man next to her. Even though Craig Robinson is funny, he wasn't the correct guy. I'm not throwing his chops or appeal under the bus, but the chemistry & name recognition that a new movie with an up & coming Director such as Chism needed wasn't provided with him next to Kerry. The unfortunate reality is that a movie like this (with a formula we have seen before) got lost during a big second weekend for the juggernaut Iron Man 3 & the opening weekend for The Great Gatsby. Peeples could only be blamed on Tyler Perry in a negative way if he had creative control over the movie & its casting; which he did not. The simply provided the platform under 34th street films so that the public would see the project. Chism built the plane, Tyler provided the hanger & Lionsgate gave it gas, the audience gave no wind; which is why it hasn't flown to the expected altitude. After a full month in the theater, I'm sure Peeples will gross maybe 30 million which has shown to be average for alot of movies with African- American casts & familial themes.

willie dynamite

Hate his films or not, he has a money making brand, and if you as a filmmaker respect his work and aspire to emulate him then it makes sense to align yourself with him. As hard as it is to obtain distribution I do not believe most would reject the TP stamp if it garnered their film a distribution situation. TP gets a lot of hate here and most of it is warranted but his audience has shown up to his films consistently! No one saw this poor turn out coming and felt that Peeples would do much better. The film was shot years ago and had been on the shelf for a while so its not like it had a multitude of options. It is easy for any of us that despise TP's brand to say hell no, but when you have a film completed, massive debt, antsy investors wanting to recoup, and very limited distribution possibilities, some decisions become much more difficult then others.

ScriptTease

It's really hard to pin point why people didn't come out to support the movie. TP has a large audience, and they didn't support it. His non fans didn't support the flick because his name was attached to it. I think we will have to wait for another TP movie, written and directed by TP to see how well it does. If it flops, then TP probably needs to take a seat for a while and rethink is position in the film industry.

FactChecker

I heard Chism in an interview on Tell Me More with Michelle Martin on NPR, and nothing about the movie sounded relatively interesting. I definitely wouldn't have SOLD out my vision to work with TP. There are too many better options, in my opinion.

And what does this do for Chism's career in Hollywood? Is TP her only choice now, the next time she wants to make a movie? Does this make her seem like an "untouchable" to white producers and the studios? Instead of helping, have TP, has severely tarnished her brand — in my opinion.

I read that she'd directed (and written, too, I think?) "Drumline," which I didn't see in the theater, but on TV and liked, well enough.

But the casting, lame trailers, and finally the TP name attached to this movie were all a huge turn off. After having a great story — which this wasn't — casting is so crucial to whether or not an audience will bite. And that doesn't mean every actor has to be "a name." They just have to be believeable and right for the part.

Yes, Kerry is a hot commodity right now — because of "Scandal" — but I guess it truly remains to be seen if — given the right material and supporting cast — whether her "hotness" can translate to box office success. … And "Django" doesn't count because — as I understand and have read (I've not seen the movie and have no intentions as I'm not a QT fan) — her role is smaller and supporting, and the movie is not aimed at the female audience.

So while, KW is hot on TV, and has been in some movies, not as the lead, that have done very well at the box office, the question is now whether or not, again, with the right material and cast, she can translate her TV success to the box office.

CareyCarey

"So while I go handle some other business, and dig up some other items to post" ~ Tambay

Hmmm, I think I'll start right there…

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away. I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay wastin' time. I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay watchin' another Tyler Perry post roll my way, whatcha say-say-say… What's In A Name?

Well, in reference to digging up some other items to post, I have a few suggestions.

In light of the numerous articles/posts (here at S&A) on "The Burden Of Representation", "The Alledged Evils Of Hollywood" and Tyler Perry, I believe they're all begging, pleading, screaming for a post titled Why Do YOU Go To The Movies? That suggestion was inspired by something the reader SAADIYAH said:

"It boils down to this, all Black people aren't going to like the same types of film. Seems like TPTB believe and want us to believe that a "Black movie" must uphold a certain set of criteria to be accepted by Black people."

Well hell, speaking of a power that was, I am reminded of something my father would say when I was complaining about something in our home. With a stern look on his face he'd say, "sit down boy and stop running your mouth 'cause you ain't running nothing up in here."

So you know what I did? Yep, I sat my ass down and shut up because I really wasn't running anything. He paid the bills and he had the final vote and he got my full respect. So I am suggesting that if one really seeks some type of control over what appears on the screen, it has to starts from the voice of YOU, not me, she, nor he. Granted, we're a small voice here at S&A but every journey starts with a first step. And maybe somebody will see us doing our thang, and then, copy our flow.

In short, wouldn't it be nice if someone penned an insightful post asking the question "Why Do YOU Go To The Movies?". I can envision multiple comments on the order of…

"I am a 26 yr old black single mother from the southeastern area of America. I go to the movies to___________"

And… "I am an educated mother from upstate New York. I don't understand the significance of the words "low-brow" and "high-brow" humor? When I go to the movies with my husband, we do so in search of_________________. If and when I go with my teenage children______________

And… "I am a black Midwestern woman. And I don't have a lot of expendable cash. So for me, movies have to be__________________

And… "I am a black film-maker, movies_________________

And… "I am a black actress, so needless to say________________. But I do watch movies in my leisure time. When I do, I want___________________________

And… "whatsup S&A, I'm a single stud so movies serve two purposes for me. Chicks like___________

And… "I am a college student, movies give me_______________

And… "My husband and I are black and we're raising 3 children, we go to the movies because_________

And… "I am fool, I'll watch anything because I'm a fool. But when I go to the theater I am looking for___________"

And… "I am a white person from Montana. When I go to the movies to see a "black" movie, I find___________________

So again y'all, I am asking for a post that's far removed for the typical race bait and "divide" induced affair that we've grown accustom to. I think it's time that our individual voices be heard – LOUD, CLEAR and without fear of persecution.

The doors of the church are now open, who's gonna help make that pie… Sergio, Tambay, Courtney, Natasha, Curtis, Jasmin, Masha, Adam, Tonya or YOU?

ALM

It depends. I have a feeling that Perry or his staff may have made some key changes to Chism's original vision. The movie release date kept changing, which allowed plenty of time for edits to be made.

If you are adding your name in exchange for share of the final profits and to help aspiring talent, I understand that. On the other hand, if coming on as a producer means major changes to a completed project and an eventual a drop in the quality of said project, then it's not worth it to add a "name" to your work.

This is similar to having a song 80% written and then hooking up with a producer like The Dream. Once he adds 7 words to make the song complete, he can legally list himself as a songwriter. The law says that all songwriters get an equal cut of the profits, even if one person wrote the vast majority of the song. If The Dream's 7 words don't really make the song pop, then his contribution and the attachment of his "name" to the work are not worth it.

Po broke Acta

Basically this is asking would I sell out or not……..
Yes sir boss!
You my master now!

Katie

I don't know about anyone else, but when I saw the poster for the film on the CTA trains in Chicago, I saw Kerry Washington and I knew I wasn't going to watch it because I don't like her acting (personally). Then when I saw "Tyler Perry Presents…", it was the final nail in the coffin because it meant it was going to be a comedy (and I don't do comedies) and a stereotypical black comedy at that (and I mos def don't do those).

I also think because it looked like Robinson and Washington had no chemistry and Robinson just doesn't do it for me. I didn't even know Chism even directed the film and I wouldn't have known had it not been for Shadow and Act. So yeah, there are my reasons.

saadiyah

One of the reasons that I wasn't interested in Peeples was because of Tyler Perry being attached to it. I gave his films a chance in the past but have come to ABSOLUTELY DESPISE the themes that I SEE are recurring in his non-Madea movies. My assumption is that the work he supports would probably be similar to the work he produces.

Film marketers need to be extremely smart about all he things that go into attracting audiences. I think they missed the mark big time in doing that with Peeples.

Chas

When I saw the trailer, I was kind of down with it on the strength of Craig R0binson. I liked him in "Pineapple Express" and "Hot Tub Time Machine" and thought the movie would be in that vein. The rest of the cast was pretty awesome too.

Then I saw that "Tyler Perry Presents" and was like, "nah…." even though I was aware that he neither wrote nor directed.

Jeff

I actually avoided going to a free sneak preview of Peeples, Turned off by my overwhelmingly negative reaction to having seen Tyler Perry's Temptation (42 was sold out so we took a chance).

In fairness to writer/director Tina Gordon Chism I am about to go pay money to see Peeples while I can. Otherwise, I am just as bad as all those people who ignored my entreaties to go see and support Spike Lee's self-financed indie Red Hook Summer. Their loss.

CJ

Tyler Perry's name does make people kinda stand offish when its attached to a movie ESPECIALLY after the controversy surrounding the previous movie, Temptations. Peeples was a legit good and funny movie and its a shame people didn't come out and support it.

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