Adam Sandler + Netflix = A Good Thing?


You may have caught last week’s announcement of this strange little team up. Strange was how it first struck me, at least. With Netflix taking more and more good television hostage, I immediately wondered why they’d opt for…frankly, bad movies. But first impressions are rarely something to go by.

Let’s take a step back and look at the deal itself.

The Deal

Currently, Sandler and Sony are in cahoots. Columbia (owned by Sony) has been the distributor on most of Happy Madison’s (Sandler’s production company) releases since 2001’s The Animal, with the first Sandler starred distribution being Mr. Deeds the following year. It’s been a solid partnership, and it will continue despite this new deal.

The new partnership will see Happy Madison produce four Adam Sandler starring flicks to be distributed directly and exclusively through Netflix. Nothing is really known about the projects themselves yet, though there’s a more than fair chance they’ll be comedies. Strangely, Sandler has also made plans to team up with Crackle, the free streaming service rising up against Netflix. Crackle will be producing Happy Madison’s Joe Dirt 2, meaning Sandler is somewhat going into competition with himself.


The Netflix motto.

Why the deal is a good thing

Sandler’s films used to be the cornerstone of a perfect date night. I say this with a professional retrospection, because I wasn’t really past the cootie age until 50 First Dates, and even then I failed to get even one first date. But despite my single ticket purchases, these early movies did spectacularly well at the box-office because of their wide audience appeal.

Eventually the Wedding Singers and the Big Daddys stopped, and the Jack and Jills and the That’s My Boys took over. Now there’s no real need to see a Sandler film at the cinema, because they’ve slowly morphed from comedy spectacles into perfect(ly adequate) lazy Sunday fillers. And the same could be said for Netflix.

But they’re still bad movies

They sure are. Happy Madison productions is like a bathtub. At first it was full to the brim with warm water and soothing salts – a comfortable, happy place to be. But eventually the plug was pulled, and the water level dipped until it was an empty tub with nothing but a line of scum remaining. Whoops, that got darker than intended.


I’m not really sure who’s to blame for this. It may be the distributors having too strong a hand in the projects, or it may be Sandler’s lack of inspiration. He states (jokes?) that he’s taken to choosing movie locations based on where he wants to vacation. One result of this deal will be a certain amount of creative freedom, i.e. Sandler will have more of a say in what movies he makes. This could really fall either way, though I’m almost certain this means it’ll take him and Drew Barrymore under the sea. Or maybe to Venus.

What else does it mean?

With Netflix owning and distributing this kind of property, it’s unlikely you’ll see these four movies at your local cinema. This could be bad news for said cinema, but it won’t be an immediate shock. For the reasons mentioned up top, Sandler flicks are already super popular on Netflix, and not so much on the big screen, so cinema chains won’t really be losing what they haven’t already lost.


The danger lies in the uncertain future. If this deal works out for the parties involved – and I don’t see why it won’t – this could pave the way for similar deals with other filmmakers. It won’t be anyone like Nolan or Tarantino, or other advocates of the film going experience. Maybe someone like Steven Soderbergh (depending on the state of his ‘retirement’) would be interested in a direct to Netflix arrangement. He’s already taken the step into the TV world with The Knick, and his films tend to be small, and reasonably speedy productions. Numerous deals like this could certainly lighten cinemas’ wallets. So time will tell.

In Australia, we didn’t have Netflix (don’t get me started). But I’m living in the UK now, so I have the option. This particular team up doesn’t have me rushing to sign up, but the more original content they snap up, the more likely I’ll be to subscribe. How ‘bout you?

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  1. I don’t count Sandler out. I loved Reign Over Me and Punch Drunk Love. Funny People, while it had it’s moments never reached the potential I was hoping for. These are what I hope he will do more of. Will he? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean he won’t indefinitely.

    His RomComs are just a mashup of all his friends getting together and having a good time. If they make a few bucks along the way then it makes it more fun for everyone involved. We would all do it too if we could.

    I chalk up my undying devotion to Sandler and his antics to nostalgia. Growing up with the audio bits of Janitor Being Beat Up, the Scientist Being Beat Up or heck the longest pee cracked even me up at the time. Turn on Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison at any given point and I’ll watch the whole thing. He knows who his target audience is and those people will tune in regardless of how bad anything is now a days.

    (I don’t have a Netflix account so I won’t be – unless I hear good things)

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