A video game adaptation of Adam Sandler’s classic comedy film Happy Gilmore from 1996 nearly came to be roughly two decades ago, after the idea was pitched to Sandler himself. Unfortunately, its development was stalled under the passage of time, depriving the film’s fans of a video game adaptation which, according to the people familiar with the pitch, would’ve been awesome.
The news of a prospective Happy Gilmore video game, based on the same-name movie from 1996, was revealed in a tweet by Mike Mika, the head of Digital Eclipse game developing studio, which initially pitched the idea to Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison Productions. According to Mika, the game would’ve combined elements of both fighting games and golf sports genres to resemble the nature of the Happy Gilmore film and its titular characters. Mika also shared a cover page of the pitch, which was also the cover poster for the movie, aiming for an Xbox-only release. See the photo below.
The overwhelming response to Mika’s tweet got him to talk further about the project, stating that Adam Sandler was very well aware of the Happy Gilmore video game idea and that he was super supportive of the project. The game developer went on to praise Sandler’s brother, who tried his best to get certain companies involved and make the game happen, which unfortunately never came to be. Mika further praised the entire Happy Madison crew, as Digital Eclipse corroborated with them on a video game version of Little Nicky, another one of Sandler’s films, for Game Boy Advance.
Despite Adam Sandler’s involvement, the game was never greenlit, and the project was sidelined and possibly even forgotten by many along the way. Truly surprising, given how video games licensed of movie IPs costed a dime a dozen at the time but warranted profits. So where in the pitching process did the breakdown occur, and why did everyone decided to sideline and forget what still seems like a fantastic game, even to those who haven’t watched the movie? Well, there’s no real answer, as apparently nobody knows. Our best guess is that the people and companies involved couldn’t find common ground on IP rights and funding. But that’s only our guess.
Many are still wondering what the Adam Sandler game would look like. Despite the aforementioned elements of fighting and golf, Mika revealed additional details, like Abraham Lincoln and the Alligator as unlockable characters in a video game. Still, it might not be too late, given that Netflix is getting into video games; the world’s largest streaming service announced producing video games based on its proprietary content, but who knows? Maybe they’ll like the idea of a Happy Gilmore video game, with Adam Sandler, whose movie just left Netflix, as the lead. We certainly would.
Happy Gilmore, starring Adam Sandler, centers around the titular character who’s an unsuccessful hockey player with no skills other than fighting, as he uses his newfound talent for golf to save his grandmother’s house from being auctioned off. This classical piece of cinematography was a commercial success, earning $39 million ($67.5 million in 2021), on a $12 million budget, and a massive cultural influence in the world of sports, both professional golf and ice hockey. Conclusively, it’s definitely worthy of a video game adaptation. Maybe someday.