How New Billionaire Tyler Perry Changed Show Business Forever | Forbes

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Shut out of entertainment’s mainstream, Tyler Perry, Hollywood’s newest billionaire wrote, produced and starred in his own American success story. Mostly dismissed by the Hollywood establishment and even some other Black luminaries (Spike Lee once derided Perry’s crass slapstick approach as “coonery buffoonery” before later relenting), Perry has succeeded for two reasons: He has honed a product that too many others viewed as destined for the discount bin. And he made sure to control it all.

The 51-year-old entertainer owns the entirety of his creative output, including more than 1,200 episodes of television, 22 feature films and at least two dozen stage plays, as well as a 330-acre studio lot at the edge of Atlanta’s southern limits. He used that control to leverage a deal with ViacomCBS that pays him $150 million a year for new content and gives him an equity stake in BET+, the streaming service it debuted last September. Forbes estimates Perry has earned more than $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005, which he used to buy homes in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as well as two planes. Quite a lifestyle for a once-homeless playwright raised in poverty in New Orleans. Today, Forbes estimates his net worth at $1 billion, with a clear path to future membership in The Forbes 400.

A natural ham, Perry grew up making his mother laugh with impersonations. He was dealing with more than poverty: He describes an upbringing by an abusive man who he later learned was not his father. He was inspired to write out the stress he was feeling after watching an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, and spent his 20s touring small theaters around the country performing the plays he wrote, produced and starred in—a crash course in what was to come.

Perry has been operating out of Atlanta since he released Diary in 2005; in the ensuing 15 years he has produced at least one feature film every year, as well as 13 more television series, nearly all of it filmed in and around the city.In the latest Portraits episode, Forbes follows Tyler Perry around his Atlanta-based lot to get a sense of what it takes to build, own and control production on a billion-dollar scale.

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💬 Comments on the video

Tyler Perry is the closest thing Black America has to Walt Disney and I’m here for it.

Author — Old Gregg


Most actors are in the entertainment industry, smart ones like Tyler are in the business of entertainment

Author — SommyBliss Nriama


His speaking is far more polite and intelligent than other millionaires.

Author — Kien Mai Trung


I respect his hustle and still very humble!

Author — Matt Mayers


May God bless him. He deserves everything he has and so much more

Author — Sheila Maina


Congrats on tyler perry becoming a billionaire. Im on my own journey to get there

Author — David Williams


Let’s show support to this great man. May God bless him!

Author — asmau galadanchi


Tyler is the most humble down to the earth person ever ❤️

Author — the NJK


I'm not a huge fan, but I have total respect for this guy, espcially for not only owning the rights, but owing himself! It reminds me of George Lucas, not comparing them film for film, or dollar for dollar, but that people will underestimate you; you're the one that has to make it happen! I'm sure along the way, just like Lucas, they pulled out all the strings to put pot holes in his path, derail, put down...all the usual stuff that let's you know you're on the right path, the road less travelled! Don't give in to their distractions! And when you make it a boy!

Author — Angello Hector


Tyler is my inspiration. I love his craft and he's inspired me a lot

Author — Vhimpromo


Life, business and investment lessons that should be learnt! Ownership is key 🔐

Author — Carib Invest TV


I couldn’t get into one of his movies but he’s doing something right. Respect ✊🏾

Author — Jehu


This man is such a positive influence, the personification of the American Dream and defeating the odds. Bless him.

Author — Kensi Gregory


Continued blessings and support for this awesome man....He did it his way and look at him today. 💯💯💯

Author — Michelle Isabell


Blessed to witness a living proof of what God can do through someone's life if you stick with Him no matter what. How great is our God!

Author — Fransiska Noviani


He makes good quality productions though I'm not a fan, I know the fanbase he caters to is very happy.

Author — Joseph Arinaitwe


Tyler Perry is living proof that u can make it even when no one believes in you! Inspirational story Forbes

Author — Ianbest Smith


I am so inspired by this man. I would love so much to work with or for him on some project.



Tyler Perry is such an inspiration. He went from living in his car to becoming a billionaire! He kept pushing himself, working hard, and giving
God the glory and look where he is now. What a blessing. ❤️😊

Author — Andreca Au Naturel


Mr. Perry we need a good Sci-fi movie on a Star Wars or Dune level.

Author — Abraham Jackson