Netflix’s most popular original films are awful Adam Sandler comedies

Sandler has the perfect outlet for his lowbrow humor in Netflix.
Sandler has the perfect outlet for his lowbrow humor in Netflix.
Image: Netflix
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Amid all the critical praise and viewers for shows like Stranger Things and feature-length documentaries like 13th, it turns out the most-watched original movies on Netflix are critically panned, lowbrow Adam Sandler comedies.

The web-video giant, which doesn’t release viewership data for its TV shows and movies, announced the marker that people loved The Do-Over and The Ridiculous 6 alongside a deal to develop four more movies with Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions. That’s on top of the upcoming 1990s-set romantic comedy, Sandy Wexler, which is due out Apr. 14.

Netflix did not say how many people watched each title, but that they were the platform’s biggest original film releases—despite their abysmal third-party ratings. The Do-Over, a comedy about two old friends who fake their own deaths, got a mere 5% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while the Western parody The Ridiculous 6 pulled a zero. About 40% of audiences on the movie-scoring site said they liked the former, and fewer than one-third enjoyed the latter.

Sandler made his name in the 1990s with comedies like The WaterboyHappy Gilmore, and Billy Madison, but has not enjoyed the same box-office success as of late. His last two major releases—Pixels, in which Earth is attacked by aliens in the style of old-school arcade games, and Blended, a romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore, barely broke even in the US, according to Box Office Mojo. Both titles more than made up the differences overseas, though.

Sandler became one of the first major movie stars to trade theaters for Netflix’s tens of millions of global subscribers when he inked his first deal the with service in 2014. And he’s clearly finding an audience. His films also don’t have the same pressure to perform there as they would at the cinema, which is driven by tentpole titles like Beauty and the Beast and Logan.

At Netflix, Sandler’s films fit firmly in the comedy genre the platform has been cultivating through projects with comedians like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Chelsea Handler, and Amy Schumer.

His movies have also been among the most high-profile original films on the platform, which started out with more niche and arthouse fare like Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, and The Little Prince.

Netflix has since landed streaming deals with some of the biggest movie stars in the world including Bollywood’s Shah Rukh Khan, as well as original features with Brad Pitt, Will Smith, and Tom Hardy, and renowned filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott.