Netflix Said Their Adam Sandler Film Had The Third Biggest Film Opening Of The Year And No One Is Buying It

Everyone is now questioning their viewing figures...

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by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

When Murder Mystery was Netflix’s new breakout film to watch on all of our accounts, you could have almost guaranteed the majority of people kept right on scrolling. It might star the one and only Jennifer Aniston, but an Adam Sandler comedy, were they even funny in the noughties?

From the sheer amount of think pieces about his work, you would assume everyone agrees that the answer is no. ‘Adam Sandler’s inexplicable career, explained’, reads on Telegraph headline. ‘Adam Sandler is awful, and it’s out fault’, reads another by the Washington Post. In fact, there’s even an ‘unpopular opinion’ Reddit thread that ‘Adam Sandler is funny’. So, if we’ve all been generally aligned on the topic of Adam Sandler’s brand of comedy for at least a decade, why was his Netflix film their biggest opening weekend of all time?

‘30,869,863 accounts watched Murder Mystery in its first 3 days’, Netflix tweeted on Tuesday night, ‘the biggest opening weekend ever for a Netflix Film. 13,374,914 accounts in the US and Canada, and 17,494,949 more worldwide.’

For context, that would put it third behind the Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame as the highest grossing films of 2019, and make it even more popular than the Game of Thrones finale that saw 19.3 million viewers tune in. Given all of these phenomenon’s were all over our social media feeds for months, and we haven’t heard a peep about this film other than a few people admitting it was their weekend guilty pleasure, it seems astounding the film would be as popular.

And we’re not the only ones who think so. ‘Using the MPAA estimate of a $9 ticket, Netflix is claiming a $120 million domestic opening weekend,’ one commentator tweeted, ‘I have a hard time believing that a Sandler film in which only a handful of people I know watched was more popular than Game of Thrones.’

In fact, there’s an entire Twitter thread of people questioning whether Netflix’s numbers are correct. Pointing to the Big Bang Theory, the most successful American TV show of recent years, which averaged a viewership of 18-20 million people, users stated that the viewing numbers must be ‘faulty’ and demanded more transparency in the way Netflix makes decisions about its TV shows.


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‘Can y’all release this type of information for all of your OG programming?’ one Twitter user asked, ‘what is considered successful?? how does it factor into renewal/cancellations? just general transparency would be appreciated thanks!’

Of course, many have pointed out that the way we consume Netflix is very different to actually going to the cinema. While we do pay monthly subscriptions to Netflix, it generally feels like free viewing, much less of a sacrifice than paying for a cinema ticket. Alas, the way we might consume an Adam Sandler film while scrolling through Instagram on a hungover Sunday is very different to dedicating your evening to spend £30 at the cinema on a film you’ve been waiting to see.

And so, it doesn’t seem fair to compare the success of Netflix films to paid movies, or even shows like Game of Thrones where many bought specific subscriptions to streaming services purely for that show. Essentially, in their attempt at reviving Adam Sandler comedy, Netflix have only highlighted a need for transparency in their figures. Because, if anyone was going to believe over 30 million people found the same film funny, it wasn’t with an Adam Sandler film. At least that’s kind of funny.

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