Perry Trying to Go Global

Tyler Perry has made less than a million overseas. He's looking to change that.

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Tyler Perry has made less than a million overseas. He's looking to change that.

Hit movies like “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and the TBS series “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” have long made Mr. Perry a household name in North America, where his films alone have racked up $450 million in ticket sales.

Overseas is another story. His box office grand total abroad is $728,000. Most of his releases have been given only limited distribution internationally, if that.

Part of the problem is the reality of the movie business. International audiences typically reject movies, especially comedies, with nearly all-black casts. Black stars like Will Smith have cracked the global box office through years of building up fans, in no small part by courting local media outlets.

So Mr. Perry — aware that some movies now make 60 percent of their theatrical revenue abroad — did exactly that last week, making his first prominent media trip through London. He sat for two days of interviews with European press, made an appearance on the popular “Graham Norton Show” and hosted (with Janet Jackson) a screening of “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?”

“This is the beginning of a whole international push,” he told a television reporter at the premiere as a few hundred fans screamed in the background. “I heard there were people who had an appreciation of Tyler Perry stuff, and this is really cool to know.”

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