Adam Sandler has his share of silly movies out there. While a later career turn has moved him in more of a dramatic fashion, there are still plenty of very Sandler-esque films to draw on if you ever want to take a trip down the sophomoric lane. One of these films is actually crazy popular on streaming right now. In fact, last week, Pixels was in the top-ten of most-streamed movies on Netflix worldwide. Adam Sandler appears like he’s still able to carry the international audience to big numbers.
Pixels is a 2015 science-fiction comedy from Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison Production company. The premise is silly but creative. Basically, Sandler and his friends grow up in the 1980s playing popular arcade games, ultimately becoming some of the best in the world at what they do. A videotape of their accomplishments is blasted into space as part of a time capsule. But an alien race gets their hands on the tape, misinterprets the meaning, and thinks that the arcade characters are actually military-grade war machines. To combat what they see as a threat of force, they develop their own “weapons” and unleash them on Earth. That comes in the form of all your favorite arcade characters unleashing hell on the unsuspecting human race.
Here, check out Adam Sandler in the trailer for Pixels:
Of course, when the world needs saving from these video game scourges, who are you going to call? The best players to ever defeat these guys on the screen of course. Adam Sandler and his friends, along with some of his rivals, are tasked with saving the world from the likes of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, and a whole host of other arcade classics. They need to use their powers of pattern recognition, along with some incredible advancements in space-age technology which just happens to be on hand, to save the world from 8-bit invaders. It’s an overly silly concept that’s about where you expect Sandler to be.
Joining Adam Sandler in the cast of Pixels is a group of familiar faces, some of whom he’s partnered with quite a bit. Kevin James, a Happy Madison staple, plays his life-long friend, fellow gamer and now President of the United States. There’s also Peter Dinklage who had been one of his long-time video game rivals. Josh Gad plays an up-and-coming dude in the gamer space tasked with on-boarding the older dudes. And Michelle Monaghan is a military weapons developer. Other notable names include Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Jane Krawoski, and Ashley Benson.
Though a funny concept, Pixels predictably failed to deliver with the critical crowd. It’s sitting at 17% on Rotten Tomatoes and 27 on Metacritic. The reviews basically crush it, calling out the action pieces, special effects, acting, plot, characters, script, really everything that goes into making a movie. They were unrelenting and the film was nominated for a number of Golden Raspberry Awards with a list of “Worsts” including Picture, Actor, and Screenplay.
And yet this movie still managed to make nearly double its $129 budget back at the box office with a $245 million worldwide take. And now it’s sitting as one of the most popular streaming movies in the world. That’s because Adam Sandler, for all his silliness, still resonates with a large audience when it comes to his brand of comedy. Consider his last two original movies released on Netflix. Hubie Halloween played really well with the spooky holiday crowd. It was the top-streamed movie on Netflix during its initial two-week run.
And then there was 2019’s Murder Mystery co-starring Jennifer Aniston. Though critically it finished at only 44% on the Tomatometer, it was among the most popular films of the year for Netflix. 31 million households streamed the movie in its first three days on the platform and then 73 million in the first month total. It finished as the fifth-most watched movie ever for Netflix.
This continued popularity for Adam Sandler with his new releases lends incite into why his older movies would continue to crush it among Netflix users. There’s some chance his latest movies are introductions for some to the actor, thereby incentivizing them to go back and watch some of his previous stuff. And that ignores just the life-long fans who’ve always flocked to theaters to see him take on his particular brand of comedy.
Next up for Adam Sandler will be Hustle with Queen Latifah. In it, Sandler plays a basketball scout who discovers a singular talent in China. That film is due out later this year. In the meantime, join the worldwide crowd in watching Pixels.