Say goodbye to more moronic Adam Sandler movies in the cinemas. Sandler has wisely made a choice about his immediate future. He’s accepted a four picture deal with Netflix. This will take him out of movie theaters and into home theaters via TV and the internet.
Netflix, booming with “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” is smart. They probably see Sandler as a huge TV star who’s had steadily declining numbers at the movie box office. His last effort with Drew Barrymore, “Blended,” grossed $46 million with a $14 million opening. Not good. Two years ago, Sandler’s “That’s My Boy” did $37 million. In 2011, his just as awful “Jack and Jill” did a little better with $74 million.
Sandler offers a strange dichotomy to movie audiences. He occasionally tries to be in serious movies, like the upcoming “Men, Women and Children,” or James L. Brooks’s “Spanglish.” But his meat and potatoes is a kind of junk in which he plays a man child who has long outgrown his cuteness. Some things still work– like “Grown Ups”– at the box office if not with critics. None of his movies are in any danger of being in Oscar campaigns. They are solely about making money at the low end of filmmaking.
With Netflix, he’ll make that money and not have to deal with critics or filling seats in theaters. If Netflix moves beyond its model and takes up a position on cable boxes, so much better for Sandler. His core fans will probably be just as happy not to have to spend money on gas, tickets, and candy and popcorn.
Netflix only earlier this week took the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” a premiere event. The movie will bypass theaters. For certain kinds of films– genre films, indies, movie stars who’ve lost some luster–Netflix is going to be a big deal. HBO and Showtime, among others, are on notice.