Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween Was Born From A Chris Rock Top Five Joke

Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” was the 10th feature film to star the character — there are, as of this writing, 13 Madea movies — and while it was a hit, it wasn’t terribly well-received by critics. According to The Hollywood Reporter, an executive from Lionsgate (the studio behind the Madea movies) saw “Top Five” and felt Rock’s gag movie was just plausible enough to make in real life. That unnamed executive brought the idea to Tyler Perry’s massive entertainment complex in Georgia and proposed the title and the premise. 

Not only did Perry make “Boo!,” but the following year, followed it with “Boo 2!: A Madea Halloween.” Not only did the “Boo!” movies take their titles from “Top Five,” but evidently the fake key art that Rock invented for his film was used wholesale by Lionsgate. The fake movie became a real movie. One might be able to imagine the “Boo!” films as coming from within a fictional universe. In that regard, “Boo!” and Pixar’s “Lightyear” are remarkably similar. 

Legally, this was all on the up and up, and Perry has always been open about using Rock’s idea. Additionally, Rock didn’t seem to resent Perry’s imitation too much. In the Hollywood Reporter article, Rock recalls meeting one of the heads of Lionsgate at the wedding of a mutual friend and playfully — but only kinda playfully — confronted him. Why, Rock asked, wasn’t he paid royalties for the “Boo!” idea? “I don’t even think I got a special thanks,” Rock said. “And I’m not complaining, I’m just saying, I’ve seen a bone thrown for a lot less.”

Perry would eventually cast Rock in his 2018 film “Tyler Perry’s Nobody’s Fool,” so the two seem to be on good terms.

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