Tyler Perry is Hollywood's newest billionaire: this is how he built his wealth

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Tyler Perry (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Tyler Perry (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

He’s made the billionaires list. Tyler Perry, the man behind the world renowned Madea, has been named one of Forbes newest billionaires.

He’s earned over $1 billion (R16.8 billion) after operating expenses since 2005.  

According to Forbes, the 51-year-old actor, writer, producer and director is ranked number five among some of the most richest entertainers in the world behind Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. This is how he became a billionaire:

Everybody loves Madea

Perry launched his career in 1992 with his first stage production, I Know I’ve Been Changed when he was only 22 years old with his life savings of $12 000. He worked his way up in the business until he was listed by Forbes as the highest-paid man in the industry in 2011 and now as a billionaire. Along the way, Perry raised money from his stage career for his first movie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman in 2005, which would be the beginning of his journey to his billionaire status. He then started the Madea franchise following the success of his first movie, and a series of other movies which make up the most valuable individually owned libraries in the world, worth over $320 million.

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Oprah Winfrey, you get a billion

Perry signed a deal with Oprah Winfrey and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to produce scripted television content for them. This contract, which would last for many years included the revival of Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, the inception of the soap-opera and drama series, The Haves and the Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbour. The partnership continued with the premiere of If Loving You Is Wrong in 2014.


More Collaborations

Ownership was at the top of Perry’s vocabulary when he joined the entertainment industry and it shows. The billionaire kept ownership of full copyrights of all his productions after a partnership with Lions Gate Entertainment to co-produce and distribute his films, with his company’s name, Tyler Perry Films always in the frontlines. He also signed a deal with TBS for a number of years where he produced the sitcoms, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Meet the Browns. His great penning skills also stretch widely into the order of signing deals, with yet another deal with ViacomCBS in 2017 to produce exclusive original content with them on a long-term basis, with Nobody’s Fool, The Oval, Sistas and BET+ in 2019.

 Read more | These are Chadwick Boseman’s last 5 films

Keyword, full ownership

Apart from retaining full ownership of all his content, Perry gave the Black community the true definition of poetic justice in 2019 when he bought a former military base in Atlanta which he converted into studios, becoming the first black American to own a film studio of its calibre. Multiple companies have used Tyler Perry Studios to film, including HBO, OWN and Marvel for the film, Black Panther. This is one of the largest studios in the world.

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