Netflix is betting big on Billy Madison. The company has announced it's signed a deal with actor Adam Sandler that'll see him produce and star in four feature-length films set to premiere exclusively on Netflix. Sandler's Happy Madison Productions and Netflix will work together on each project, according to a press release issued this evening. Neither side is discussing numbers, so we don't yet know how much Netflix has committed to its collaboration with Sandler.
Sandler's films have grossed over $3 billion globally
Considering Sandler's recent box office disasters (Blended, anyone?), it may seem odd that Netflix would pursue such a lengthy and all-encompassing deal. But remember that Netflix has access to our collective streaming habits, and apparently people everywhere really, really love Adam Sandler. Netflix says his films "consistently rank among the most viewed by Netflix members in the US and across its global territories from Brazil to the UK." Sandler's films have grossed over $3 billion globally. Critics haven't been kind to Sandler over the last decade, but people are still willing to watch. As for what Sandler himself has to say about the whole thing, he issued the following statement:
When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only... Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks. Let the streaming begin!!!!
The Sandler pact is Netflix's latest step in adding original films — not just TV shows — to its repertoire. Only days ago, the company announced an original movie partnership with Harvey Weinstein that will result in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend debuting on Netflix and in IMAX theaters simultaneously. Other movie theater chains aren't so thrilled about Netflix's attempt to disrupt the traditional movie release model, but the just-announced Sandler deal shows that Netflix is quite serious about producing feature films with legitimate star power. Kevin Spacey certainly helped House of Cards lift off as a hit series, and Reed Hastings and Co. are hopeful Sandler can help their movie ambitions find the same success.