Adam Sandler, the A-list movie star who cleaned up at the ’90s box office with comedic hits such as “The Waterboy” and “Big Daddy,” is sticking with Netflix.
The streaming network announced on Friday that it will be financing and producing four more features with Sandler, which will be released exclusively in homes.
“Love working with Netflix and collaborating with them,” Sandler said in a statement. “I love how passionate they are about making movies and getting them out there for the whole world to see. They’ve made me feel like family and I can’t thank them enough for their support.”
In 2014, Netflix made a big play when it signed Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions to a four-movie deal. Netflix, which doesn’t disclose viewership figures, has said that Sandler’s first two comedies, “The Ridiculous 6” and “The Do-Over,” have become the most-watched original films to launch on the service. His next movie, “Sandy Wexler,” will debut April 14 on Netflix.
By continuing to release movies on Netflix, with its 93 million subscribers worldwide, Sandler has become the first major movie star to bypass theaters and agree to premiere his latest releases in living rooms. Analysts say such a shift could have tremendous implications for the movie business, which is trying to lure consumers to multiplexes for tentpoles like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Furious 8.”
Although his movies have grossed $3 billion, Sandler’s recent projects have disappointed on the big screen. “Pixels,” set in a video game, was a costly bomb for Sony Pictures in 2015. And in 2014, the dark, independent film “Men, Women & Children” earned less than $1 million.
This year, Netflix is continuing to make an aggressive play to expand its original slate of movies. Its upcoming releases include “War Machine,” starring Brad Pitt; Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” with Jake Gyllenhaal; and the Sundance darling “Mudbound,” which is expected to be an Oscar contender. These projects will all premiere on Netflix first, with little or no theatrical distribution.