Adam Sandler’s Pixels was a high-profile miss at the box office last weekend, prompting such headlines as “Adam Sandler: 5 Reasons He’s No Longer a Movie Star.” But one person unfazed by Sandler’s diminishing box-office returns is Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who told journalists at the Television Critics Association that he was “thrilled” to have Sandler making movies for the company.
“Not to give you a defensive answer here, but I definitely don’t have to defend Adam Sandler,” Sarandos said. “Pixels did $24 million domestic opening; did $25 million international. A third of our subscribers are outside of the U.S., and we did our deal with Adam Sandler because he’s an enormous international global movie star. And that $50 million for Pixels is pretty respectable and I think will continue to grow. So we’re as encouraged as ever, and I think that that split of U.S./international box office is what really got us excited.”
Pixels is just the latest disappointment for Sandler, who has seen his box-office glow fade in the last five years. During that stretch of time, only three of Sandler’s nine live-action releases have crossed the $100 million barrier at the North American box office (Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2 and Just Go With It), while films such as That’s My Boy and Blended failed to top $50 million in ticket sales. In the decade prior to 2010, eight Sandler films earned $100 million or more in North America.
Last year, Sandler signed a deal with Netflix to produce four films. The first of those features, Ridiculous Six, is due out later this year, and has already been besieged by negative press after Native American actors walked off the set after being offended by the film’s content.
“The movie has ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous,” a spokesperson for Netflix said at the time. “It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of—but in on—the joke.”
Speaking before the premiere of Pixels, Sandler said the walk-outs were “just a misunderstanding.” He added that “once the movie is out will be cleared up.”