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Tyler Perry Delivers the Worst-Reviewed Box Office Champ in 10 Years

‘Boo 2!’? More like Boo Hoo! as the latest ‘Madea’ movie opens at #1 despite critical drubbing.
By  · Published on October 23rd, 2017

‘Boo 2!’? More like Boo Hoo! as the latest ‘Madea’ movie opens at #1 despite critical drubbing.

Most of the chatter about this weekend’s horrible crop of new releases seemed to center around two disappointing yet ironically enjoyable movies, The Snowman and Geostorm. But their competitor with an even lower critical reception wound up being the champion at the box office, as Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween won the weekend with a domestic take of only $21.2M.

That’s a 27% drop from last year’s original Boo!, which opened to $29M, but it’s not too bad considering its Rotten Tomato score of 7% is 77% down from the first movie’s 30% (as it was on the Monday after its release, even if since then it’s dropped to 21%) and its Metacritic score of 17 is down 43%. Even more impressive is that it managed to top the box office with such poor reviews, the worst for a number one all year.

Obviously that’s partly because the box office overall was dismal the last few days, and other movies with worse initial reviews made more money. The Emoji Movie, which currently has a 10% on RT, had only a 7% at the time of its $24.5M debut over the summer. And its Metacritic score of 12 remains lower. The distinction of being number one, though, is significant. Enough for there to be charts recognizing the feat, anyway.

We’ve previously gone over and celebrated the fact that for the most part 2017’s biggest box office hits are positively reviewed movies, such as Beauty and the BeastWonder Woman, and It. Of the 27 movies to top the 42 weekends so far this year, only seven titles (accounting for 11 weekends) were deemed rotten by critics :

The Boss Baby (52% on RT, 50 on Metacritic)
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (51% on RT, 44 on Metacritic)
The Hitman’s Bodyguard (38% on RT, 47 on Metacritic)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (29% on RT, 39 on Metacritic)
Transformers: The Last Knight (15% on RT, 28 on Metacritic)
The Dark Tower (15% on RT, 34 on Metacritic)
Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (8% on RT, 17 on Metacritic)

By this time last year, we’d seen 11 rotten number ones (including the first Boo!) over 14 weeks, the closest to Perry’s latest being Ride Along 2 with 14% on RT and 32 on Metacritic. In 2015 by this point of the year, we had 14 rotten number ones over 15 weekends. The worst of them, Taken 3, is only 11% on RT, 26 on Metacritic.

The year prior was about the same for number of weekends with a rotten number one, though only with 11 titles. The worst reviewed movie of 2014, though, came a bit later in the month of October. The first Ouija, which held its position in its second week of release, has a 7% on RT and 38 on Metacritic. A few weeks earlier, No Good Deed had a 10% on RT, 26 on Metacritic.

For a movie with an even worse RT score than Ouija, you have to go back to the first weekend of 2012, when The Devil Inside opened to not just negative reviews — 6% on RT, 18 on Metacritic (the latter still one point better than Boo 2!) — but the anger of moviegoers. The movie is one of the rare releases to garner an ‘F’ grade through CinemaScore polling.

Because that movie has a higher Metacritic score, the search continues and finally lands on the fourth weekend of 2008, almost 10 years ago, which was won by the Friedberg and Seltzer spoof Meet the Spartans with $18.5M ($23M adjusted for inflation). Pummeled by critics, its RT score is only 2% while its Metacritic score is way down at 9. And its CinemaScore grade isn’t great, either: ‘C-‘. Meet the Spartans might just be the worst-reviewed box office champ ever.

The thing about Boo 2!, though, is it only has 14 reviews so far (nine for Metacritic), likely due to the holiday sequel not screening for critics. There’s a chance that in the future its RT and Metacritic scores could go up or, perhaps like the original, down. Regardless, it’s a going to be popular enough given its ‘A-‘ CinemaScore. Perry tends to make movies for his fans, not critics, and even with Boo 2! falling below Boo!‘s ‘A- score, the divide with the sequel is evident of this.

We’ll have to revisit Boo 2!‘s RT and Metacritic scores at the end of the year, or later when its home video release receives more reviews, to see if its critical distinction holds up. For the time being, though, it’s a big blemish on an otherwise good year for reviews and box office matching up fairly well.

Here’s the weekend top 10 (new titles have an asterix):

1. Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween* – $21.2M
2. Geostorm* – $13.7M
3. Happy Death Day – $9.4M
4. Blade Runner 2049 – $7.5M
5. Only the Brave* – $6M
6. The Foreigner – $5.8M
7. IT – $3.5M
8. The Snowman* – $3.4M
9. American Made – $3.1M
10. Kingsman: The Golden Circle – $3M

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.