Daily Box Office Analysis for July 25, 2007
By David Mumpower
July 26, 2007
Nothing finalizes the presence of summer like an Adam Sandler comedy. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry arrives a year and a month after Click, and continues a tradition going all the way back to 1999's Big Daddy, Sandler's first large-scale summer release. The comedian had found profound, unexpected success with a November release in 1998, The Waterboy. Seeking to capitalize as much as possible on his newfound popularity, Sony slotted his next title in the midst of summer. Since then, the comedian's releases have largely vacillated between mid-summer and November/December holiday releases. The only two exceptions are 50 First Dates and Anger Management. Everything else has been carefully slotted appropriately into a major box office period.
The end result is that Adam Sandler has become the safest play in the industry. Adjusting for 2007 ticket cost, here are the updated totals for his releases since 1998. The Wedding Singer stands at $116.1 million; Big Daddy is at $219.4 million (wow, eh?); Little Nicky, the disaster project for Sandler, updates to $49.7 million; Mr. Deeds inflation-adjusts to $147.7 million; Anger Management is at $150.6 million; 50 First Dates updates to $132.1 million; The Longest Yard has modern dollars of $167.5 million; and Click is at $142.4 million. Note that I have only included pure Adam Sandler comedies rather than his more experimental work in Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish and Eight Crazy Nights. I am only discussing the "pure Sandler" titles here. As you can see in evaluating them, the comedian is eerily consistent by Hollywood standards. His last eight titles have averaged inflation-adjusted box office of $140.7 million in 2007 dollars. A middle-of-the-road performer for him would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $142.4-$150.6 million. With Tom Cruise's career in shambles, there isn't another performer in the industry who has been as reliable as Sandler.
Now that we have established Sandler is seven for his last eight heading into I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, it is time to take a look at how this one is doing. The answer is that it appears to be a lesser scale hit than many of his prior works, but is still successful enough thus far. We are going to use Click as its model since that is the most recent Sandler summer release. The remote control comedy earned $40,011,365 in its first three days, 16.9% more than I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry managed with its $34,233,750. If we adjust for 2007 ticket-price inflation (and since I started today's discussion that way, I feel I should), the difference is 21.2%. Clearly, there was more demand for his 2006 title, and that's understandable given the more controversial (as well as awkward) nature of his current release. We are less concerned with that aspect for the moment and will instead focus upon daily behavior to date in order to determine its potential holdover appeal.
Click earned $5,638,403 on its first Monday, a decline of 50.0% from its first Sunday. The Monday number represents 14.1% of its weekend box office. Those of you who have ridiculously great memory retention skills might recall this is exactly what Transformers did a couple of weeks ago. Then again, it is more impressive for a $70.5 million opener to accomplish this than a $40.0 million opener. But I digress. What matters is the comparison between Click and Sandler Gay Marriage Comedy (I can only type I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry so many times before going crazy). Sandler's latest title earned $5,592,140 on Monday, a number I stated at the time was quite good. Simply looking at the actual dollars of Click and Sandler Gay Marriage Comedy, you should already know the latter title has help up better. Despite opening so much lower, it's within $50,000 of matching Sandler's preceding comedy. From a percentage perspective, the news is even better. That Monday total represents 16.3% of its weekend total. Those of you who have been reading all summer should recognize what a strong number this is.