Entertainment

Netflix grabs Adam Sandler for 4-movie deal

American comedian Adam Sandler and Netflix today announced their four-feature film contract, solidifying the streaming service's plans to become a major Hollywood player.

'Let the streaming begin!' the comedian said in announcing new deal with internet network

'When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes,' said Adam Sandler, the movie star and founder of Happy Madison Productions, about his deal with Netflix. (Hannah Yoon/Canadian Press)

Adam Sandler has become the latest convert in Netflix's push to become a major movie industry player.

The Hollywood comedian and the internet streaming service have signed a deal that would see Sandler produce, and star, in four feature films.

The movies would stream exclusively on the internet network, which has subscribers in nearly 50 countries.

"People love Adam's films on Netflix and often watch them again and again," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement.

"His appeal spans across viewers of all ages ... not just in the U.S., but all over the world."

Traditional distributors vs. digital pioneers

The groundbreaking deal comes just two days after Netflix announced a game-changing alliance with the Weinstein Company to release the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon simultaneously on Netflix and in Imax theatres next summer.

The move—which circumvents Hollywood's traditional system for releasing movies—triggered an angry backlash from major theatre chains.

The original Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, starring Michelle Yeoh, earned $213 million on a $17 million budget. (Allstar/Cinetext/SONY)
Several exhibitors, including Cineplex Entertainment in Canada, announced their refusal to screen the new Crouching Tiger, effectively boycotting any movie that would be available digitally on the same day as its traditional theatrical release.

"We will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to 3 inches wide on a smartphone," Regal spokesman Russ Nunley said.

But many analysts see the disruption caused by Netflix's entry into original movies, in an era of ever-proliferating screens, as an overdue challenge to Hollywood's carefully controlled theatrical model.

"This is just the start of what Netflix is going to do," said Rich Greenfield, media analyst for BTIG Research. "Stay tuned. This is the beginning."​

Spending on Sandler

Sandler, whose comedic movies like Big Daddy, Grown Ups and The Waterboy have grossed more than $3 billion US worldwide, seems unperturbed by the war heating up between traditional distributors and digital pioneers.

"When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes," said Sandler in a statement. "Let the streaming begin!"

According to a report in the New York Times, Netflix would solely finance the four Sandler projects, with budgets estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

The first Sandler feature could be available to subscribers as early as next year.

With files from The Associated Press

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