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Is Adam Sandler losing his mojo?
The $13.5 million debut of That’s My Boy marks the worst performance for a Sandler comedy since Spanglish opened to $8.8 million in 2004 (Reign Over Me, an R-rated drama, opened to an even worse $7.5 million in 2007).
That’s My Boy, with its raunchy storyline and R rating, is something of a departure for Sandler, who has made mostly broad comedies.
Last year, Jack and Jill — rated PG — ultimately disappointed after opening to a promising $25 million in early November. The PG comedy topped out at a soft $74.2 million domestically but grossed a solid $75.5 million overseas for a worldwide total of $149.7 million.
Sandler has been one of Hollywood’s most consistent stars in terms of box-office performance, with many of his films grossing north of $100 million domestically and $200 million worldwide, a milestone Jack and Jill couldn’t reach.
Just Go With It, released in February 2011, fared better, grossing $103 million domestically and $214.9 million globally. The Valentine’s Day comedy starred Sandler opposite Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker.
Sandler and his production company Happy Madison have long made their home at Sony, the studio behind most of the actor’s films, including That’s My Boy. Sony says it is standing by its man.
“Sure. we had hoped for more,” Sony worldwide president of distribution Rory Bruer says. “That’s My Boy is a crazy, off-the-wall, raunchy R-rated comedy that audiences laugh like crazy at. Kudos for Adam mixing it up.”
He adds, “We love being in the Adam Sandler business.”
Sony insiders believe Sandler’s box-office prowess will come roaring back to life with this fall’s animated pic Hotel Transylvania (he voices Dracula) and 2013 summer comedy Grown Ups 2, the follow-up to 2010 box-office hit Grown Ups, which earned $271.4 million worldwide.
Sandler has had his ups and downs throughout the years. The R-rated 2009 comedy-drama Funny People, also a departure for Sandler, grossed $51.9 million domestically and only $19.7 million overseas for a disappointing worldwide total of $71.6 million, while Reign Over Me grossed $27.1 million globally.
That’s My Boy didn’t exactly win over moviegoers, who gave it a B- CinemaScore. Reviewers likewise were down on the film.
Also starring Andy Samberg and Leighton Meester, That’s My Boy was a big draw for moviegoers under the age of 25 (52 percent of the audience). Moviegoers ages 18 to 24 made up the largest segment (27 percent). Males made up 54 percent of the audience.
Nearly 60 percent of those turning out cited Sandler, who is 45, and Samberg as a reason for going.
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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures