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Netflix is giving us four Adam Sandler movies we did not ask for

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Comedian Adam Sandler attends Paramount Pictures' "Men, Women & Children" premiere at Directors Guild Of America on September 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Comedian Adam Sandler attends Paramount Pictures' "Men, Women & Children" premiere at Directors Guild Of America on September 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

The ochre splendor of autumn arrived, signaling, among other things, months since the release of Blended, a slapdash $46 million-grossing Adam Sandler film with a 13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a brief respite from Sandler news.

But Netflix could not let this peaceful time be.

On Wednesday, the company known for innovation and a roster of exciting and thoughtful shows, announced that it had signed Sandler to a four-movie deal. The company pointed to Sandler's alleged international appeal, saying Sandler was  "among the few actors in the world whose films consistently rank among the most viewed by Netflix members."

Sandler responded with the elegance and over-compensation of a prepubescent teenage boy.

"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," said Sandler. "Let the streaming begin!!!!"

What does this deal mean?

The deal is for four "feature films," which are going to be produced by Sandler's Happy Madison Productions that will be be available exclusively to Netflix members. The films will star and be produced by Sandler.

The move comes on the heels of Netflix announcing that the company was making the sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Has Adam Sandler made four films worth watching?

According to critics, yes. Rotten Tomatoes's history of Sandler's work, shows that his most critically-acclaimed movie is Punch Drunk Love (2002) which scored a 79 percent. His next best-reviewed movies are Funny People (2009) which scored a 68 percent, Reign Over Me and its 64 percent rating (2007), and Stupidity (2003) and The Wedding Singer (1998) which both come in at 67 percent.

Unfortunately, Sander hasn't made a movie that's achieved over a 50 percent RT rating in five years. And he's produced, written, or starred in 11 of them.

What do people think about this?

Well, some people are expecting the worst, and a few are laughing sardonically at Netflix's decision. There are already predictions of how bad these next four movies will be. The reason for this sarcasm is Sandler's track record — in the last five years Sandler has yet to show us he's capable of creating a movie worth 90 minutes of our lifetime.

Many people will tell you that they do not actively seek out Adam Sandler movies …unless they are trapped on plane with a pre-selected batch of movies:


Or if you are a fan of humor that involves bodily noises, smells, and genitalia:


Is Netflix is making a mistake?

Of late, Netflix has positioned itself to produce riveting original shows in the form of House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. And those shows are very different from what you get with Sandler. A person who talks about how much they love Frank Underwood or the stories unfolding at Litchfield prison probably isn't going to tell you how much they love Billy Madison in the same conversation.

But even though people say they don't like Adam Sandler movies and critics tell you not to go see them, they still make money. Grown Ups 2, a movie that critics say is more or less fresh hell, still raked in $133.7 million in 2012You Don't Mess with the Zohan grossed $100 million in 2008, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry made $119 million, and 50 First Dates racked up over $120 million.

It's a bit like the Creed effect. Even though people loathed the quasi-Christian rock band publicly, the band has sold 26.1 million albums since 1997. That said, Sandler is not bullet-proof. He has screen-writing credits on the dismal Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, which made $2.3 million at the box office, and the more likable Spanglish only made $42 million.

Netflix is betting on the Adam Sandler of the $100 million box office, not the Bucky Larson screenwriter. And they say that their audience, "Netflix members," tends to align more with the former.

"Netflix members", of course, is a strange, amorphous cross-section of humanity. The company hasn't made the viewership numbers of its hit shows public so we don't know exactly how many people are watching. Nor do we really know what Sandler's "views" counts as — like what if Drew Barrymore fans are the reason people are watching so many Adam Sandler movies?

And Netflix is a lot of things to different people. Some people like streaming when they're hungover and can't get out of bed. Some people enjoy it just before getting into bed. Others watch while they're inebriated and eating delicious pizza, and a few of us may be mooching Netflix off of family members, friends, significant others, or, you know, Adam Sandler fans.

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