Lionsgate has signed a three-year first-look deal with Tyler Perry, whose warm-hearted family comedies launched with Diary Of A Mad Black Woman in 2005 and fuelled one of the studio's biggest success stories in recent years.

Perry will provide at least three additional films to Lionsgate following the fiscal 2009 release of Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys on September 12 2008 and Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail on February 20, 2009.

Lionsgate will also continue to distribute DVDs based on Perry's films as well as his catalogue of plays and other material. Two of Perry's senior development executives will be based at Lionsgate's corporate headquarters in Santa Monica.

Lionsgate has released five of Perry's films to date, grossing close to $250m. The films are Diary Of A Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion, Daddy's Little Girls, Why Did I Get Married' and Meet The Browns.

'Tyler Perry defines the bold entrepreneurial spirit that sets Lionsgate apart as a next generation studio connecting with audiences in new and exciting ways,' Lionsgate's production chief Mike Paseornek said. 'He is one of the most original, prolific and successful creative voices in the entertainment world today and we're thrilled to extend this remarkable entrepreneurial partnership for another three years.'

'Lionsgate has shared and nurtured my creative vision in a way that no other studio could match,' Perry added. 'They continue to play a vital role in bringing my messages to new audiences in new markets every single day with unequalled marketing brilliance.'