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Though critics are panning Pixels as Adam Sandler‘s latest box office disappointment (it debuted to a low $24 million from 3,723 theaters on a reported budget of $88 million), Sony execs had high hopes for the film’s success, as evidenced by Sony hack emails published Thursday by Gawker.
In a series of email exchanges written during the film’s production in 2012, ousted co-chair Amy Pascal and other Sony staff members raved that they “loved the script” and the film felt “like a different Sandler.”
In an email retrieved from July 30, 2014, Sony producer Heather Parry wrote to Pascal, “Hey there! On Pixels set. Going great. Martha Stewart was amazing. Gonna be funny.”
Pascal herself sent a memo to staff members Doug Belgrad, Sam Dickerman and Hannah Minghella earlier in January voicing her support for the film. “I thought pixels was really good,” the email read.
Head of Sony Pictures Releasing International, Steven O’Dell, was also confident that Pixels would be an overseas hit, writing, “Had a meeting with Chris Columbus and Sandler. They showed the 3 key action sequences of Pixels in previs [sic]. It looks fantastic … I’m 100% in on this one.”
A separate email also revealed that Sandler requested his wife’s appearance in the film (which also stars the couple’s two kids and nephew). Pascal’s willingness to fulfill Sandler’s request was contingent on the fact that “he promised it would be good and funny.”
Despite Sony’s initial praise for the film, critics beg to differ.
In his review of Pixels, THR‘s chief film critic Todd McCarthy wrote that the “one-note comedy runs out of gas within an hour (it is based on a short film) and should have been trimmed to a neat 90 minutes.”
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