Adam Sandler's Netflix movies have been trashed by critics, but 'Murder Mystery' shows his value to the streaming service

Business Insider | Jun 19, 2019, 08.27PM IST

murder mystery


Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in "Murder Mystery."

  • Netflix said on Tuesday that Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston's new Netflix movie, "Murder Mystery," was watched by nearly 31 million accounts in its first weekend of release, a new Netflix record.
  • It illustrates why Netflix struck a four-movie deal with Sandler in 2014, and then renewed the deal for four more movies in 2017.
  • Sandler's Netflix original movies have been trashed by critics, including "Murder Mystery," but they're popular.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston's latest movie is a huge hit, according to Netflix.

The streaming giant said on Tuesday that nearly 31 million accounts worldwide watched "Murder Mystery" in its first three days of release, the biggest first weekend ever for a Netflix original movie.

"30,869,863 accounts watched Murder Mystery in its first 3 days - the biggest opening weekend ever for a Netflix Film. 13,374,914 accounts in the US and Canada, and 17,494,949 more worldwide," Netflix tweeted. Netflix counts a view for a movie when an account has watched more than 70% of the movie.

READ MORE: Netflix won't stop bragging about the millions of people who watch its mediocre original movies

It's likely on pace to beat "Bird Box," which Netflix said was viewed by 45 million accounts in its first week of release in December, a record for a Netflix original movie. But we won't know for sure until Netflix makes an announcement.

Sandler's Netflix movies are panned by critics, but Netflix loves them

Sandler and his production company, Happy Madison Productions, struck a four-movie deal worth millions with Netflix in 2014. He signed a new deal for four more movies in 2017.

The movies have been trashed by critics. His first Netflix exclusive in 2015, "The Ridiculous 6," received a devastating 0% critic score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. One Netflix movie that Sandler starred in, 2017's "The Meyerowitz Stories," was a critical hit, but wasn't produced by Sandler's Happy Madison Productions.

meyerowitz stories


"The Meyerowitz Stories"

But Netflix has regularly touted Sandler's movies as being popular with subscribers, and "Murder Mystery" shows why it keeps luring him back.

Netflix's content chief, Ted Sarandos, said in 2014 that Sandler "stands out for his global appeal to Netflix subscribers" despite the comedy genre traditionally struggling internationally. "Even movies that were soft in the U.S. [theatrically] outperformed dramatically on Netflix in the U.S. and around the world."

Sandler was one of Forbes' highest-paid actors from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2018. Sandler made $39.5 million in that time, according to Forbes, thanks in large part to his Netflix deal.

Sandler's Netflix movies seem immune to negative critical reactions. We've gathered his five Netflix original films so far that were produced in partnership with Happy Madison Productions, and provided their Rotten Tomatoes scores below.

Below are Sandler's Netflix movies, ranked from best to worst by Rotten Tomatoes critic scores (ties are broken with audience scores):

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