By Sahil Patel
National movie theater chains might be unhappy with Netflix, but that isn’t stopping the company from diving headfirst into the feature film business. Netflix has inked a multi-picture deal with Adam Sandler, who will produce and star in four feature films for the streaming service.
Under the terms of the deal, Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions will work with Netflix to develop the films, which differs from Netflix’s usual originals strategy of ordering projects from studios on an exclusive basis. Current studio film commitments will not be affected by this deal, the partners said.
Sandler’s next few movies include “Men, Women & Children,” “The Cobbler,” and “Pixels.”
The deal also comes a few days after Netflix made noise by partnering with The Weinstein Company and IMAX on a sequel to the Oscar-winning martial-arts epic “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Since the announcement, the partners have faced backlash from national theater chains, including AMC and Regal, who are refusing to carry the film.
That said, this is an even bigger deal for Netflix. Part of Sandler’s appeal for Netflix is his global presence. His movies have collectively grossed more than $3 billion worldwide, and — maybe more important for the streaming company — are popular in territories Netflix operates in, including Brazil and the UK.
“People love Adam’s films on Netflix and often watch them again and again. His appeal spans across viewers of all ages — everybody has a favorite movie, everyone has a favorite line — not just in the US but all over the world,” said Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos in a statement.
It also follows through on Sarandos’ original comments last year about Netflix’s interest in getting into the film business. Critical about the way the film business currently operates — specifically the windowing system — Sarandos questioned why studios shouldn’t release “big” movies day-and-date with Netflix. It would offer the kind of choice that consumers are craving, he had said.
While the “Crouching Tiger” sequel is an interesting project, the Sandler movies certainly carry more weight. And this time, there is no mention of a day-and-date with theater chains. While it’s highly unlikely that Netflix will release performance numbers on these movies, they are still already the ones to watch as the streaming service attempts to disrupt another sector in traditional entertainment.