Pixels: Critically Dismissed, Moderately Commercial Comedy Signals Decline of Adam Sandler’s Bankable Stardom

Adam Sandler’s clout as a bankable star is in decline after Pixels, a silly nostalgic comedy, opened to a disappointing $24 million at the domestic box-office.

Savaged and dirided by most critics, the comedy has 19 percent approval rate on the RottenTomatoes meter (which means that 4 out of 5 reviews have been negative).

Pixel finished up just behind Disney and Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” which picked up first place and $24.8 million in its second weekend.

The Sony release carries the cost $88 million, a figure that is moderate by summer blockbuster standards, and the studio touted its overseas performance. The picture has made more than $25 million to date, Sony said. In the U.S., the opening weekend crowd was comprised of 62% under the age of 25 and 55% male.

Sandler in Decline

Pixels ranks as yet another disappointment for Sandler as a bankable commodity.

Up until four years ago, he was the most consistent comedian in terms of box office performance, making such hits as: “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” “Grown Ups”. “Just Go With It.”

However, recently, he has struggled, with such flops and duds like “Blended” and “That’s My Boy.”

Only a sequel to “Grown Ups” and “Hotel Transylvania,” an animated film that only featured his voice, have worked. He will now look to salvation in the form of a multi-picture deal with Netflix.

“Adam Sandler’s audience is really no longer there theatrically like it once was,” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “They’re not following him any more,  It’s not that Netflix is purgatory, but he probably wouldn’t have made that deal if his films were still doing $100 million or more at the box office.”