Drew Barrymore, his “Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates” co-star, can't turn tide for family comedy
The Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy “Blended” marked the first time the two stars have teamed for a movie in a decade. Given this weekend's reception at the box office, they may wait another 10 years for the next one.
“Blended” has managed to take in just $14 million over the first three days of the Memorial Day weekend, and will likely top out at $18 million for the four days. It's not a financial disaster for distributor Warner Bros. or Sandler's Happy Madison Productions, since “Blended” cost roughly $45 million to produce. But it's among the worst openings ever for Sandler.
It's a little over the $13.4 million “That's My Boy” managed in 2012, but way under the $25 million that “Jack and Jill” debuted to in 2011. “Blended” didn't match Sandler and Barrymore's previous collaborations, either. It couldn't take in half of the $39.8 million that 2004's ”50 First Dates” opened with, and it was even behind “The Wedding Singer,” which opened to $18 million in 1998 — and that's not accounting for inflation.
“What this shows, after misses like ‘Jack and Jill,’ ‘That's My Boy’ and ‘Blended,’ is that Sandler, like everyone else in the comedy world, now has to dig a bit deeper to deliver a hit these days,” said Exhibitor Relations vice-president and senior analyst Jeff Bock, “unless, of course, he plunges into ‘Grown Ups 3.'”
The frequently critically reviled films of Sandler, a three-time Razzie winner, have often been critic-proof and his 36 films have taken in more than $2.3 billion at the worldwide box office. But his biggest hits — “Big Daddy” and “The Waterboy” – came more than 15 years ago.
Sandler's audience has matured as well, and there is a new generation of film comics that is taking the spotlight. “Neighbors,” the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron comedy, is among a recent wave of R-rated comedies which have seized a lot of the territory that he once dominated. Over the past few years, the films of Judd Apatow (“This Is 40”) and his disciples like Rogen (“This Is the End”), along with others from Seth MacFarlane (“Ted”), Zach Galifiankis (“The Hangover”) and Melissa McCarthy (“The Heat”), have stolen some thunder.
Sandler was last seen on the big screen in “Grown Ups 2.” That one opened to $41 million last July and went on to take in $133 million domestically for Sony and $247 million worldwide.
“The Wedding Singer” director Frank Coraci also did the honors on “Blended,” which featured the two stars as single parents who bump into each other at an African resort. Terry Crews and Joel McHale co-starred. The critics weren't turned on by the concept and bludgeoned it, and it's at just 15 percent “fresh” on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
That couldn't have helped the box office, nor did the comedy competition, with “The Other Woman,” “Million Dollar Arm” and “Chef” all in the top ten. The studio had hoped the presence of Barrymore would draw mature women, and it may over the next couple of weeks, since “Blended” got an “A-” CinemaScore from audience members.
Barrymore has kept a relatively low-profile recently. Her last box-office outing was “Big Miracle,” the save-a-whale tale that opened to $7 million and topped out at $20 million domestically for Universal in 2012. Her last hit was “He's Just Not That Into You,” an ensemble comedy that opened to $27 million and took in $179 million for Warner Bros. in 2009.