Tyler Perry is undeniably an enormous cash cow for Lionsgate. His films are inexpensive to produce (though no doubt Perry himself is commanding a steadily bigger paycheck with every film), and the least of them (the non-Madea-related Daddy's Little Girls) grossed $30 million; Madea's Family Reunion made upwards of $60. As a pure brand-name draw, I thought Perry might be fading a bit; his two 2008 offerings, one of which featured the profane, drag-tastic powerhouse Madea, both ended up toward the bottom of his filmography. Nothing doing. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail made an eye-popping $41 million on a slow weekend, handily toppling the previous Perry opening record held by Family Reunion. Has there ever been another film (or set of films) with such niche popularity (in this case: African-American, Christian) but such minimal crossover appeal?

(By the way: I haven't seen any of Perry's films, but I find the photo that accompanies this post so inexplicably funny I'm almost tempted to go watch this one.)

Screen Gems' Fired Up!, the only other film to go wide this weekend (perhaps as part of a conspiracy to make people watch the Oscars) made $6 million and landed in 9th place, which actually isn't wretched for the cheap, low-expectations release.

The other notable story from the charts is Friday the 13th, which lost an awesome 81% of its opening-weekend gross and dropped from first place to sixth. Horror films with big openings are notoriously susceptible to big second-weekend drops, but 81% is almost unprecedented -- the only wide release this decade to suffer worse is the infamous Gigli. Among horror films, only Captivity (77% in 2007) came close.

Next week, we'll see what kind of "Oscar bump" Slumdog Millionare gets, but it doesn't need much help: with a slight screen count boost, it rose to #5 this weekend and is almost at $100 million.

The full top 10 after the jump.
1 - Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail (Lionsgate) - $40.12 ($20,236) - $40.12
2 - Taken (Fox) - $11.40 ($3,675) - $95.15
3 - Coraline (Focus) - $11.03 ($5,119) - $53.39
4 - He's Just Not That Into You (New Line) - $8.54 ($2,800) - $70.08
5 - Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) - $8.05 ($3,587) - $98.02
6 - Friday the 13th (New Line) - $7.83 ($2,520) - $55.00
7 - Confessions of a Shopaholic (Buena Vista) - $7.02 ($2,800) - $27.65
8 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony) - $7.00 ($2,469) - $121.38
9 - Fired Up (Screen Gems) - $6.00 ($3,315) - $6.00
10 - The International (Sony) - $4.45 ($1,882) - $17.02

Next week is another relative wide release lull, with only Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and the Jonas Brothers 3-D concert flick making wide debuts. Then, of course, Watchmen.