Netlfix struck a deal with Sandler to crank out all four original movies that would premiere exclusively on the site. The first movie -- The Ridiculous 6 -- proved to be initially popular when it was released. Netflix was bragging about it being the most watched movie on the site in its first month of availability. However, the Western-themed throwback comedy didn't leave a very pleasant aftertaste in the mouths of its viewers.
It was a dud. The Ridiculous 6 has one of Netflix's lowest subscriber-submitted star ratings on the platform. The vast majority of the more than 1,950 written reviews give it a single star, the lowest possible mark. The critiques aren't kind.
- "It's almost unbelievable that a move with so much talent could lack humor."
- "Why punish your faithful subscribers with this?"
- "It took me FOUR tries to get through 25 minutes of this movie."
- "Everyone involved in the making of this should serve prison time."
Scorching reviews are par for the course for many of Sandler's recent movies, but with a month of Netflix costing less than a single ticket to check out a Sandler flick at the local multiplex, you'd think the armchair critics would be more grateful. They're not. Netflix has spoiled them with Emmy-worthy serialized dramas including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Armed with 81.5 million subscribers worldwide and counting, the bar is high when it comes to expectations.
A second chance
This morning's debut of The Do-Over -- a film where Sandler and David Spade are cast as high school buddies who meet up again at a reunion and decide to assume new personas that prove to be more than they were bargaining for -- is off to a strong start in the critical sense. It checks in with four-out-of-five stars on Netflix's scale. It's a small sample size so far. There are just 23 written reviews, but most of them are positive.
Netflix may not seem to need a full-length feature hit. A successful movie isn't as lucrative as a successful series that will keep subscribers close through several episodes and seasons. However, it is important for movies going this route to see that releasing movies on Netflix first won't dent the reputations of those involved with the project. Netflix scored well with critics last year with Beasts of No Nation, but it also needs to prove entertaining for mainstream fare. We'll know in the coming weeks if the initial solid ratings aren't a fluke, but Netflix and Sandler need this to be a bigger hit than you probably think.
Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.