Adam Sandler is taking a giant leap into the world of streaming content, but he better play his cards right if he wants to pull off a Kevin Spacey-style triumph.
The two-time Oscar winner didn’t just roll the dice by starring in the first major Netflix original series “House of Cards.” Spacey aligned himself with quality source material (“Cards” is an adaptation of a BBC miniseries) and a top-flight director (David Fincher). The result? Emmy nominations, instant industry respect and binge viewers aplenty.
What seemed like a career risk turned into a transcendent move paving the way for other actors to follow.
Now, it’s Sandler’s turn.
The “Saturday Night Live” alum struck a deal with Netflix this week letting him produce and star in four original movies to air exclusively on the streaming service. That means his Happy Madison production company will be cranking out more comedies with the Sandler brand.
Sadly, that brand is in serious decline. The comedian’s box office clout is shrinking, what with clunkers like “Blended,” “Jack and Jill” and “That’s My Boy” on his recent resume.
Consumers may be curious to see what Sandler has in store via the new deal, but they’ll want something more than a man-child routine that isn’t aging well.
Sandler’s statement concerning the deal is hardly reassuring.
“I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only . Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks. Let the streaming begin!!!!”
Is that the best joke he could write to mark a major career achievement?
Sandler has shown a willingness to stretch and work with serious directors since breaking out with “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore.” He earned raves for his work in 2002’s “Punch Drunk Love.” Later this month he’ll star in director Jason Reitman’s ensemble drama “Men, Women & Children,” and he also plays the lead in the upcoming drama “The Cobbler.”
Netflix, much like HBO and other cable outlets, often lets artists follow their muse without a crush of “studio” notes. That means Sandler will have the leeway to reboot his career, both in its distribution model and comedy content.
He’d be wise to take a page out of Frank Underwood’s playbook. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.
DID YOU KNOW: Director Michael Mann originally intended his 2004 thriller “Collateral” to star Adam Sandler and Russell Crowe.