Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) let out a huge roar over the weekend, as its latest film, Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married, topped the multiplex food chain.

The movie took in $21.4 million domestically from Friday through Sunday, according to Boxofficemojo.com. That knocks Disney's (NYSE:DIS) The Game Plan to second place with a gross of $11 million (its total gross to date is just shy of $60 million). Rounding the rest of the top five are features by Sony (NYSE:SNE), Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), and Viacom (NYSE:VIA) -- yes, the independent Lions Gate can thrive in a jungle of heavies.

Lions Gate has a great thing going with Perry. During the winter of 2006, he and the studio enjoyed a great opening weekend with Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion. A year before that, Diary of a Mad Black Woman was raking in the bucks. Perry's value as a brand is developing some serious equity.

Title

Cumulative gross

Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion

$63.3 million

Diary of a Mad Black Woman

$50.6 million

Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls

$31.4 million

Source: Boxofficemojo.com.

Investors should be pleased with Perry's latest hit. In addition to doing well during its entire run at the theater, it will presumably be a hit in the important home-video market.

While Perry and the Saw films (the fourth grisly installment hits theaters later this month) have been quite successful, Lions Gate could be relying too heavily on just a couple of major franchises. The Hostel series hit a bit of a bump in its second go-round. Meanwhile, the Saw franchise alone has grossed more than $415 million worldwide, and it currently provides three of the top five highest-grossing Lions Gate films.  

Lions Gate needs to establish a few more sequel-spawning theatrical hits to flesh out its value proposition to shareholders. That's easier said then done, of course -- again, this is the movie industry we're talking about. (So far, its WWE (NYSE:WWE) movies haven't been blockbuster hits.) But with all the potential ancillary markets out there -- especially considering video on demand and various broadband platforms -- a few hits can really mean a lot to the bottom line.  

I still like Lions Gate. It's been fueled by the cash-flow generation from its new releases and library products. Investors who are interested in a more direct play on the Hollywood industry -- as opposed to getting lost in a big media conglomerate such as News Corp. (NYSE:NWS) -- can look to Lions Gate.     

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney. As of this writing, he was ranked 9,984 out of more than 65,000 investors in Motley Fool CAPS. The Motley Fool presents The Motley Fool's disclosure policy, a Motley Fool production.