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Media Investment

If Adam Sandler’s Pixels fails will Netflix worry?

Adam Sandler’s Pixels, about video games becoming part of the real world, opens this week and no one has high hopes for a strong US box office. But how will a failure impact Netflix, where he has a deal in place for his next four films?

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If Adam Sandler’s Pixels fails will Netflix worry?

Michelle Clancy

Adam Sandler’s Pixels, about video games becoming part of the real world, opens this week and no one has high hopes for a strong US box office. But how will a failure impact Netflix, where he has a deal in place for his next four films?

Some have very little in the way of expectations for the movie. “Pixels on paper sounds more fun than it looks,” said the Entertainment Oracle. “Think a live-action version of Wreck-It Ralph, where classic video game characters are blended together for a new adventure. Here the idea is aliens attack the Earth using real-life representations of classic gaming icons like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Centipede and it is up to a group of (now grown-up) gamers to save the day.”

That group is comprised of Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad, with Sandler as the lead.  

Let’s not forget that Sandler tanked with his last big screen film, Blended, from last summer. It opened with a lacklustre $14.5 million, and topped out at $46 million.

Pixels, with an estimated big budget of $90/$95 million, could hurt Sony if it turns in a similar performance.

“When you have only put out four films in a year and only two made over $50 million, you can see why investors may get jumpy,” the Oracle said.

“Although look at the slate for the rest of year and you can see the studio does have a plan in place for this roll-out. Investors also need to remember movies are not Sony's primary source of income for entertainment…that crown belongs to its PlayStation division (and its TV production arm is not exactly a weak link either).”

So what does that mean for Netflix? The streamer signed Sandler to a four-picture deal last year (starting with The Ridiculous Six). According to the Oracle, not much, as Netflix isn’t beholden to the same ROI metrics. After all, the goal is to offer subscribers something they can't get on Hulu or Amazon Prime.

“Since Netflix doesn't reveal ratings, or data, or anything other than subscriber information it means Pixels' success or failure will have minimal impact on them as they can twist, turn and tout Six as much as they want when it bows and we'd never know the difference,” the Oracle said. “Sandler was picked because he is a name and has foreign appeal. Netflix dived into that magical data pool (which we'll never see) and saw the draw his films had with international audiences through their service which sold them on the deal. The controversy surrounding Six, the success or failure of Pixels and any other factors are really just white noise at this point.”