Tyler Perry stepped out into new territory, playing the role of detective in the thriller "Alex Cross." But it was not enough to beat out horror flick "Paranormal Activity 4."

During its debut weekend, "Alex Cross" earned fifth place, making $11.8 million, while low-budget "Paranormal Activity 4" made $30.2 million, taking the No. 1 spot at the box office this weekend.

As Halloween quickly approaches, it makes sense that scarier films dealing with ghosts would pull in the most viewership.

But there were also movie critics who simply thought the movie was not good. James Verniere of the Boston Herald described it as “A stomach-churning mix of sadism and sentimentality.”

Stephen Whitty of Newark Star-Ledger said, “Perry's supposed to be its center. And as an actor -- certainly as a movie star -- he's absolutely nowhere to be found.”

The reviews were not all bad, however. “Tyler Perry, who made his considerable fortune in drag as Madea, was wise to embrace a film that pulled no punches and shows he can be a bad ass on screen,” wrote Julian Roman of MovieWeb.com.

Perry posted a letter to his fans on his official website, thanking them for watching ‘Alex Cross’ and supporting his efforts to branch out as an actor.

“To all of you who went to see ‘Alex Cross’ this weekend, I just want to say thank you for allowing me to grow.

Thank you for letting me stretch my wings a bit. I knew you would enjoy it.

Your messages on my board make me feel so good, and thank you for giving the movie an A. 

Can’t do this without you. Talk soon,” the actor, director, and film producer wrote.

Tyler Perry was featured in the latest issue of Men’s Health, and spoke about his role as Alex Cross, and about replacing acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman as the homicide detective. Morgan Freeman played Dr. Alex Cross in “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider.”

He said, "I thought, 'Well, Morgan Freeman played this role, you might not want to do this, 'cause Morgan Freeman knocked it out of the park. But the more I read it, the more I realized that I could do it."

Perry also explained to Men’s Health why he took on a role that has not been the norm for him, as his "Madea" films are primarily comedy dramas.  

"With Alex Cross, people say it's off-brand, a little different. But it's on purpose. They release it here, release it internationally, and now my stock has gone up on my own catalogs. Everything is about moving the ship forward. . . .Outside the ship doesn't matter. What's in the ship is mine, and it's going in the direction I think it should go."