Filmgoers Rush to "Get Married" This Weekend


The latest movie from writer/director/actor Tyler Perry crushed some high-powered
competition at the weekend box office in North America, earning more than the combined total of films starring Oscar winners George Clooney and Cate Blanchett.

According to studio estimates issued Sunday, Perry's romantic comedy-drama ``Why Did I Get Married?'' sold $21.5 million worth of tickets. It ended the two-week reign of the family comedy ``The Game Plan,'' which slipped to a distant No. 2 with $11.5 million.

Clooney's legal drama ``Michael Clayton'' jumped 19 places to No. 3 after expanding nationally in its second weekend. It earned $11 million, tying with ``We Own the Night,'' a new crime
drama starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg.

Blanchett took the No. 6 spot with the historical drama ''Elizabeth: The Golden Age,'' which opened to a disappointing $6.2 million. Just ahead of her was the Ben Stiller comedy ``The
Heartbreak Kid'' with $7.4 million in its second weekend.

Perry's ``Why Did I Get Married?'' revolves around the turbulent lives of four married couples, and he is joined in the cast by the likes of Janet Jackson and Jill Scott. Industry
pundits had largely marked down the movie's chances, despite Perry's success with such efforts as ``Diary of a Mad Black Woman'' and ``Madea's Family Reunion.''

``This is the last time that anyone will underestimate Tyler Perry,'' said Tom Ortenberg, head of distribution at the Lions Gate Entertainment-owned studio.

As is the case with Perry movies, the audience was heavily black -- about 90 percent -- and 65 percent of moviegoers were female, Ortenberg said.

``The Game Plan'' was released by Walt Disney Pictures, a unit of Walt Disney. ``We Own the Night'' was released by Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony. ''Michael Clayton'' was released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner. ``Elizabeth: The Golden Age'' was released by Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric's  NBC Universal. ``The Heartbreak Kid'' was released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, both units of Viacom.

Group of Securities

Following are the top 10 films at the North American box office for the weekend beginning Oct. 12, led by the new release "Why Did I Get Married?", according to estimates compiled Sunday by Reuters.

    Final data will be issued Monday.

    1 (+) Why Did I Get Married? ..... $ 21.5 million
    2 (1) The Game Plan .............. $ 11.5 million
    3 (+) We Own the Night ........... $ 11.0 million
    3(22) Michael Clayton ............ $ 11.0 million
    5 (2) The Heartbreak Kid ......... $  7.4 million
    6 (+) Elizabeth: The Golden Age .. $  6.2 million