How was your Memorial Day weekend? Adam Sandler‘s probably wasn’t too good. The funny man’s (sort of? I guess he’s still funny sometimes?) latest box office outing, Blended, which tantalizingly re-teamed him with his very own Meg Ryan surrogate, Drew Barrymore, and at least hinted at the possibility of personal and professional growth through a more adult and family-friendy plotline (“they are bllllending”) than we are used to seeing from the actor, didn’t do so well at the box office. Turns out, going up against films like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Godzilla (and even Neighbors, which did make less than Blended but still pulled in a tidy fourth-place finish after three weeks in theaters) isn’t a great idea. It’s an even worse idea when your film just isn’t very good (or, at least, when your film has been savaged by critics far and wide).
The Frank Coraci feature made just $14.23M at this weekend’s box office (not counting holiday numbers, in an attempt to make this as even-keeled as possible), putting it quite firmly in third place behind both the mutants and the mutos. How bad is that for a Sandler outing? His last film, Grown Ups 2, which opened last summer after a holiday weekend, made $41.5M in its opening weekend. Not enough perspective for you? Sandler’s last attempt at actual profundity, 2009’s Funny People, made $22.6M on its opening weekend (and that’s a film that people, quite wrongly, hated). What went wrong? Maybe nothing — maybe we’re all just done with Adam Sandler’s schtick.
Here’s some further perspective: the film actually did better than Sandler’s wretched That’s My Boy (if you’d like to feel bad for the rest of the day, take a journey into those review comments) and, aside from That’s My Boy, Sandler’s openings over the last seven or so years (dating back to I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which opened in July of 2007) have all pulled in over $20M in their opening weekend. He has fourteen films that have cracked the $100M mark in domestic returns alone. Sandler is not a box office loser — even if Blended is (so far).
Sandler is not box office poison by any stretch of the imagination, but Blended should have been a slam dunk for him. After all, it reunited Sandler with Barrymore, boasted a family-friendly and modern storyline about blended families, was set against some stunning African scenery and even included some rhinos humping each other for fun (read: not fun). It includes a large cast of comedic talents — Joel McHale, Wendi McClendon-Covey, Kevin Nealon, and also Shaq and Terry Crews — and a bunch of cute kiddos who might just be rising stars in the making (see: Bella Thorne). As counter programming against superheroes and major monsters, families should have turned out for this. They didn’t.
And yet, for all its box office boredom and critical hatred, Blended did win with the people who actually saw it: it earned an A- CinemaScore, effectively socking that Rotten RT score right in the kisser. Sure, people didn’t turn out in droves to see Blended (which, honestly, does not deserve anything close to an A- CinemaScore, but c’est la vie), but the people who bought the ticket liked it — and that might be enough to keep Sandler chugging right along with the same old stuff, even if it’s high time that he mixed it up a bit.
But, hey, at least Funny People won a battle. That’s cool, right?