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Warner Bros. is no longer in talks to make Adam Sandler‘s The Ridiculous Six, a Western comedy that faced a series of challenges, including the actor’s decision to make four feature films exclusively for Netflix, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
The Netflix deal, announced Oct. 1, caught many by surprise, since Sandler is one of the studio system’s most entrenched, and prolific, stars. He’ll both star in and produce the four titles, meaning he’ll be unavailable for long stretches of time for studio projects. His company, Happy Madison Productions, will develop the movies in tandem with Netflix.
A host of issues plagued Ridiculous Six well before Netflix announced its Sandler partnership. One insider said Warners’ decision to walk away from the comedy had nothing to do with the streaming service, yet the decision coincided with word of Sandler’s new deal.
Warners had been in talks for months to make the film, and during that time, Sandler’s Blended badly underperformed for the studio, while Seth McFarlane‘s A Million Ways to Die in the West, another Western comedy, out and out bombed (Universal and Media Rights Capital made that film). Also, Warners and Happy Madison hadn’t come to terms on the size of the production budget for Ridiculous Six.
It’s not the first time Ridiculous Six has left the rodeo. Sony was originally set to make the movie, but put the film into turnaround in 2012. Paramount pursued the movie, then passed, with rights reverting to Sony.
Warner Bros. declined comment, as did Sony and Happy Madison, including as to whether Ridiculous Six could now be headed to Netflix.
Warner executives haven’t made any official statements, but behind the scenes say they fully intend to work with Sandler again. And Sony, where Sandler has a longtime deal, says it has every intention of working with Sandler for years to come.
Still, industry observers question what will happen once Sandler’s current Sony commitments, including Pixels and Hotel Transylvania 2, have been completed and he turns his attention to his Netflix projects. Pixels, which just wrapped shooting, is set for release July 24, 2015. The Hotel Transylvania sequel rolls out Sept. 15, 2015, and there’s a possible Grown Ups 3 in the offing.
Sources say Sandler, whose box-office track record has been up and down as of late, did call Sony and Warners to personally inform them of the deal, but didn’t give much notice.