Tyler Perry, creator of the Madea franchise, regardless of what one thinks of his work, is the definition of prolific and the filmmaker is, it would seem, just getting started. Perry has just opened his very own studio in Atlanta, Georgia, making him the first African American in history to independently accomplish such a task. And it's not just any studio, as it's bigger than Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount and Sony. Combined.
That's not to say, in terms of output, Tyler Perry Studios will be quite as sizable, but in terms of sheer size? It's no contest. Perry opened the studio on a massive 330-acre lot in Atlanta, which was formerly Fort McPherson Army base, a former Confederate military base at that. For Perry, that brings with it a form of poetic justice. Here's what Perry had to say about it in a recent interview.
"Think about the poetic justice in that. The Confederate Army is fighting to keep Negroes enslaved in America, fighting, strategy, planning on this very ground. And now this very ground is owned by me."
To date, Tyler Perry's movies, be it ones he's directed, produced, wrote, starred in, or any combination thereof, have grossed more than $1.6 billion worldwide. Between his 22 movies, 20 plays and eight TV shows, Perry has certainly made the most of his success. To that point, he invested $30 million to buy the former military base in 2015 and has been transforming it ever since.
In those several years, Tyler Perry and his team invested another $250 million. For that money, they've got 12 sound stages, but there is plenty more to come. Perry intends to do a lot more in the second phase of his expansion, which will include a six-lane highway, a backlot, a small European town and a lake. That will provide quite a few assets for productions to utilize. Perry, speaking about the future of the studio, wants to make it about more than just movies and TV.
"You know, the studio's gonna be what it is. I'll tell you what I'm most excited about next is pulling this next phase off, is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced ... somewhere on these 330 acres, where they're trained in the business and they become self-sufficient. They live in nice apartments. There's daycare. There's all of these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society. And then pay it forward again. So that's what I hope to do soon."
Georgia has been a hotspot for Hollywood production, but the state has come under fire for its controversial "Heartbeat Bill," which strongly restricts abortions. Tyler Perry isn't going to up and leave the millions he's invested, but he does firmly disagree with the bill in question and hopes to help change things via the democratic process in the years to come. Any possible controversy aside, Perry has pulled off something truly impressive. This was previously reported by CBS News.