Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
July 28, 2015
Kim Hollis: Pixels, the Adam Sandler videogame comedy, debuted with $24 million. What do you think of this result?
Ben Gruchow: This has got to be disappointing for anyone in Sony's accounting department, and for good reason. From the accounting perspective: I might've seen the trailer once, a while ago; I haven't read reviews and don't really know anything about the movie's plot other than the fact that it has a giant Pac-Man, a giant Donkey Kong, and they're sent by aliens to do something bad, and that it hovers between 19% and 20% on Rotten Tomatoes depending on what time of day it is. Despite this, even I know that it stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage. Your mileage may vary on how much you like each individual actor, but they're all well-known and they all have audiences or recent projects that overlap to a degree with this kind of release.
An ensemble with the kind of conceptual hook that this one had should've easily overcome a 20% review score; the fact that it really didn't points to the idea that someone involved in planning and marketing screwed up badly along the way. The multiplier has me thinking that this is going to hit $60 million or so, but not too much more.
Edwin Davies: This is at least a step up from Blended, last year's Sandler-led disappointment, but that's not saying much. Despite an interesting premise, one which seemed custom-built to draw out nostalgic parents who would be happy to bring their kids along for the ride, a decent cast and a solid marketing campaign (the trailers weren't great, but they sold the idea and there were plenty of tie-ins related to the movie), Pixels couldn't overcome audience fatigue with Sandler and the bad reviews. Clearly the trick of matching Sandler up with more popular, or at least less disliked, actors that kept Grown Ups 2 profitable didn't work so well this time around.
Matthew Huntley: This honestly doesn't surprise me in the least because the trailer for this movie made it look loud, obnoxious, unfunny and juvenile, despite the promising premise. I would still see just to confirm whether this is the case, but it's very likely that it is. We've officially outlived the "Adam Sandler as Box-office Titan" era, I think, and hopefully now he'll take a hint and choose better, more substantive projects, because he, like the other actors in this movie, IS talented in his own way.
Jason Barney: Even I have to admit that the shine has come off Sandler. Usually I'm against putting too much stock into a trend, primarily because many of these performers are one movie away from correcting a negative career course. Sandler can still make movies, and companies will pay him, but at this point the trend means something.
Even if you take a snapshot of three or four years of his most recent work, the numbers just are not great....taking in the budgets and reviews. Critically, most of these efforts have been panned pretty hard, Grown Ups 2 got a 7% over at Rotten Tomatoes. Last year's Blended was 14% fresh. That's My Boy got a 20% rating. The problem is the only one that was a true box office bomb was That's My Boy.
Pixels may very well follow the general trend. Critics are trying to unplug audiences, but the numbers are saying this is not going to be a bomb. The opening isn't great, but if the Sandler trend continues, this film will at least pay for itself.