Mr. Deeds

Release Date: June 28, 2002

You slept with Winona, too?!?

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"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated". --Mark Twain

Adam Sandler may be feeling a certain kinship with Twain, in the aftermath of 2000's Little Nicky, a surprise of a different sort after two huge and profitable box-office hits (Big Daddy - $163 million, and The Waterboy - $161 million) from the former SNL funny-man. Studios lose their sense of humor quickly when $80 million-budget movies like Little Nicky muster only $39 million domestic and $52 million worldwide in box office revenues. Suffice to say that someone at New Line was promptly beheaded and sent to Hollywood hell.

While pundits and naysayers alike may declare Little Nicky's disappointing $16.06 million opening and short-lived $39 million total domestic gross theatrical release (only 12 weeks) as a death knell for Sandler's future in film, it is ultimately up to his fans and average moviegoers to determine his legitimacy and longevity.

To critics' dismay, Sandler lives on, and looks to resurrect his top-draw status in the romantic comedy Deeds, an homage of sorts to the 1936 Frank Capra classic, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. While Sandler's latest venture is unlikely to garner the Oscar accolades of its quasi-namesake (Won: Best Director; Nominated: Best Actor, Gary Cooper; Best Picture; Best Writing), the pairing of Sandler with co-star and storyline love interest Winona Ryder could lend the same on-screen symbiosis that helped propel Sandler's career into the salary stratosphere with the advent of The Wedding Singer and Drew Barrymore.

The good news and the bad news is that screenwriter Tim Herlihy, who was the writer for Little Nicky, returns to pen Deeds. Besides his work on The Waterboy, his other collaborations with Sandler have been of modest box-office success (Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison).

In hinted Capra-esque style, Deeds (Sandler) inherits the reins of a multimedia, megabuck conglomerate, and lends his simple guy straightforwardness and small-town values to its operations. Ryder is sent as an undercover reporter to craft an exposé of the newly-installed bumpkin boss, and predictably falls in love in the process.

In a sign that all sins can be forgiven at least once, New Line Cinema (in conjunction with Columbia Pictures) will distribute Deeds, with a tentative June 21, 2002 release date (no other slated competitive wide releases as yet), one weekend prior to the successful release of 1999's Big Daddy (6/25/99).

While MPAA ratings are unavailable as yet, Sandler's streak of PG-13-rated films would tend to indicate that Mr. Deeds will fare no differently in its attempts to access the widest audience possible.

It is also worthy to note that while Sandler is still an undeniable box-office draw to the big-screen, none of his films has managed to crack the all-time top 100 within the crucial post-theatrical run revenues afforded by video rentals. (Cal Hubbard/BOP)

June 16, 2002
Adam Sandler has been hitting the talk show circuit pretty heavily in the weeks before Mr. Deeds’ release, and pony girl discussion notwithstanding, the self-effacing star has been charming and clearly still has a strong appeal to young audiences. The trailer for his newest release is consistently well-received in theaters and marketing is fairly ubiquitous while hitting all the right targets. Sandler may have stumbled a bit with Little Nicky, but all indications point to Mr. Deeds being a solid recovery. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Mr. Deeds
Main Cast Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, Peter Gallagher
Supporting Cast Jared Harris, Allen Covert, Conchata Ferrell, Roark Critchlow, Peter Dante, J.B. Smoove, Erick Avari
Director Steven Brill
Screenwriter Tim Herlihy
Distributor Sony/Columbia
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 96 minutes
Screen Count 3,239
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Mr. Deeds
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Big Daddy 6/25/9941.54 49.50 3027 13723.00 15668.0 163.48 194.81 3.94
Waterboy, The 11/6/9839.41 50.66 2664 14794.00 18295.4 161.49 207.62 4.10
Wedding Singer, The 2/13/9819.10 24.55 2821 6771.00 8373.5 80.25 103.17 3.66
Little Nicky 11/10/0016.06 17.96 2910 5519.00 5938.8 39.44 44.12 2.46
Happy Gilmore * 2/16/968.51 11.61 2022 4209.00 5523.1 38.62 52.68 4.54
Billy Madison 2/10/956.64 9.20 1834 3621.00 4828.0 25.46 35.29 3.83
Bulletproof 9/6/966.01 8.19 2240 2683.00 3520.7 21.20 28.92 3.53



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