Half of the population is below average, so it’s hardly surprising that there’s a market for fart jokes/racism/misogyny from a reliable delivery agent like Adam Sandler. Kevin Lincoln, at NYMag, explains why the outsized success of Netflix’s least loveable product shouldn’t be a shock, either:
[Wednesday] Netflix announced that The Ridiculous 6, Adam Sandler’s abysmal Western movie-thing, has been watched more in its first 30 days on the service than any other film during its 30 days. The. Ridiculous. Six.
Now, the instinct here—and it’s an understandable one, because, again, The. Ridiculous. Six.—is to say that Netflix is lying, or, more specifically, putting dizzying spin on their data. “Of course they’re saying it’s their most-watched movie,” you think. “Netflix made it! It’s a Netflix original! They’ve got a stake in this!” You’d be making a legitimate point. We have no glimpse into the metrics behind this claim; for all we know, Netflix has been auto-playing the movie on your Apple TV while you sleep. For all we know, nobody has watched The Ridiculous 6. Have you?
But far more likely is that they’re telling the truth. The most important thing is to consider what Netflix is. Then, once we come to terms with that, we have to consider what this means. Because it means something significant, both about filmmaking in general and what Netflix is as a company in particular.
Since Netflix started streaming movies and not just sending them by mail, it’s had an eclectic selection. Netflix licenses movies to stream; they don’t own any of this content. At any given time, a movie can disappear or appear on the service based on the unforeseen jockeying of its distributor and Netflix…
..[One] case in particular stands out. Back in 2012, the Duplass brothers executive-produced a movie called Safety Not Guaranteed. They made it for just $750,000, and Mark acted in it, along with Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson. It was directed by a first-timer named Colin Trevorrow. During a limited theatrical run that never reached 200 theaters, it made $4 million — good money for such a cheap film, but nothing that’ll buy anyone an estate in Malibu.
Safety Not Guaranteed then landed on Netflix some time in early 2013, where it stayed until August 2014. I’ve spoken with multiple filmmakers who stressed that the exposure Safety Not Guaranteed obtained on Netflix transformed their ideas about distribution. For whatever reason — likely a mix of positive response from audiences and its surprisingly wide-ranging appeal — Safety Not Guaranteed seemed to basically live on the Netflix front-page the entire time it was on the service, showing up as a recommendation and in the various category scrolls. Now its director, who had never overseen a movie that cost more than a million dollars prior to 2015, directed Jurassic World, which was briefly the highest-grossing opener of all time. Next up, he will direct a Star Wars movie…
Pecunia non olet: Money has no stink.
Speaking of crappy movies, what overrated / underrated films have you perused with discernment recently?