Listen Live
WRNB HD2 Featured Video

Has Tyler Perry crossed over? Not yet, at least.

The African American media mogul responsible for a string of successful comedies over the last five years that specifically catered to a niche black audience (see “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail”), Perry has made a moderately successful transition to more serious drama with “For Colored Girls,” an adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 classic feminist play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.”

Though the film’s inaugural $20.1 million box office was lower than the openings for Perry’s previous three films, sales were in line with the estimates of distributor Lionsgate, which has released every one of Perry’s films since 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”

Given that “For Colored Girls” was Perry’s first R-rated movie, the only since “Black Woman” not to carry his own name in the title, and deals with provocative issues such as rape and abortion, the opening can actually be seen as outstanding. In fact, the only R-rated dramas this year to break $20 million in their openings were “Shutter Island” and “The Town” (and both had thriller elements and major stars).

“I think it performed very well,” says analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “Also, its appeal to older women and older audiences in general means it will play for the long haul rather than being very front-loaded.”

But even with positive reviews from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times—in contrast to the usual critical lambasting that Perry’s work receives—the audience breakdown of “Colored Girls” remained consistent with his prior films: 81% of the audience was both African American and female, according to exit polling.

But Lionsgate is hoping that other audiences will catch up with the film in subsequent weeks. David Spitz, the company’s head of distribution, acknowledges the good reviews didn’t have an impact on the film’s opening weekend business, but they proved that Perry’s a legitimate director who goes beyond his standard “Madea” drag persona.

Spitz says the studio’s been actively marketing the movie to viewers outside of Perry’s usual demographic. He also cites the film’s “A” rating from Cinemascore as further indication of the film’s playability and suggests the movie’s older audience—87% were over 25—could expand.

“Those type of moviegoers don’t rush out opening weekend,” he says. “So we hope into the holidays, we’re going to get some more recognition and some more cross over.”

RELATED: Tom Joyner Interviews “For Colored Girls” Director Tyler Perry [AUDIO]

RELATED: 10 Things To Know About Ntozake Shange And “For Colored Girls”