Despite the failing economy, moviegoers showed up in big numbers last weekend in support of Hollywood titan Tyler Perry. “Madea Goes to Jail” grossed over $41 million during its opening weekend, according to Despite only being in 2,032 theaters, which is notably less than his mainstream counterparts such as “Friday the 13th” (3,105) and “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (2,507), Perry’s flick about the gun-toting, take-no-mess old lady continues to bring fans out in record numbers. Perry, who wrote, directed and coproduced the film, opened his unprecedented film studio in Atlanta last fall. The New Orleans native shared his winning formula with ESSENCE in the February 2009 issue: “I have this connection with my fans. We are the same people.” —BB