Netflix recently announced that since its streaming introduction to the world in 2007, consumers have watched over 500 million hours of content starring Adam Sandler.
How can this be, when Adam Sandler has “won” six Razzie Awards (which celebrate the worst of cinema) — and he’s only had a handful of his movies earn enough positive reviews to reach a “fresh” status on Rotten Tomatoes?
Shaming Sandler and his fans has become a pastime for elitist outlets in recent years. Sandler’s last major live-action theatrical release, “Pixels,” proved this in spades.
“Sandler is hogging the screen with his humiliatingly unfunny self-confidence conflict and love interest arc. The silence, where there was supposed to be laughter, made the screening I attended uncomfortable,” wrote Mashable.
“‘Pixels’ in an unmitigated piece of [expletive] dog sh**. Its existence feels ultimately like poison or a general infection. It is cinematic strychnine, celluloid chlamydia. ‘Pixels’ isn’t a movie, it’s a [expletive] active crime scene, and the crime is cultural vandalism,” wrote MovieBob.
Popular Mechanics chimed in with, “Nobody expects much from Sandler’s films, but ‘Pixels’ is a grim reminder that they could always be even worse.”
They only get “worse” from there. And if you think those are bad, try googling reviews of any of Sandler’s other movies. Mind you, these reviews have never much mattered to Sandler or his fans. The average gross for a Sandler movie is over $70 million, and he’s had 15 films gross over $100 million at the domestic box office. Even the much-hated “Pixels” made nearly $80 million in the U.S. alone.
It isn’t just critics who have derided Sandler for so long. Even his previous home studio, Sony, was revealed a few years ago to be less than appreciative of its most profitable star. Sure, Sandler made the studio money and fans in Middle America — but he’s not someone you can brag about to New York reporters or at cocktail parties hosted by George Clooney.
It isn’t just critics who have derided Sandler for so long.
When Sony’s email servers were hacked in the wake of the studio’s plans to release the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview” — about the hypothetical assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un — emails revealed top executives referred to Sandler as an “a**hole” and turned on him when “Pixels” received bad reviews (despite praising it while it was being made). The emails revealed a studio that profited from an involvement with Sandler — but was embarrassed to be associated with the star.
Mind you, Sony no longer produces Sandler content, and the company reported a loss of over $700 million last year.
Critics and an unappreciative studio system are likely what led Sandler to Netflix. He’s made three successful movies for the streaming outlet thus far, all part of an initial four-picture deal. He also signed another four-picture deal with Netflix, according to recent announcements.
By appearing on the streaming outlet, Sandler can skip most of the critics and their watchful eye (they now have to go out of their way to see the films). He can be more directly involved with fans and be involved with a studio that cares about one thing: content that people watch. And boy, oh boy, do people watch Sandler content.
“I know what they’re writing about me,” Sandler said about critics in a 2013 interview with The Independent. “I could almost write the piece for them by now. But then, remember that I didn’t get into movies to please the critics. I got into it to make people laugh and have fun with my friends.”
“I got into it to make people laugh.”
It’s that open passion and genuine need to make people laugh and have a good time that has driven Sandler’s popularity with the average consumer since his days on “Saturday Night Live.”
Failing studios and critics looking to pat each other on the back at press junkets may not appreciate those simple pleasures — but Sandler fans do. It’s why his filmography is one of the strongest in terms of box office. It’s why viewers are streaming 500 million hours of his content through their TVs and mobile devices. The difference is now they can do it without critics wagging their fingers at them and without the hassle of supporting a failing studio system and running to the theaters. That’s a better deal for both moviegoers and Sandler.