Name a comic, and outside of Jerry Lewis, you won't find many with the big-screen track record of Adam Sandler.
From Mr. Deeds to Just Go With It, Sandler starred in 10 straight $100 million-grossing movies, a run that doesn't even include his biggest box-office success of all, Big Daddy.
But with the weekend failure of That's My Boy, the streak, which was snapped last year, is done but good. A look at some possilble reasons why:
1. Jack and Jill Backlash: This is the movie that snapped the $100 million domestic streak. Reviews for the 2011 dual-role comedy were so harsh, even by Sandler standards, they were a bigger story than the fact that the movie, while hardly a hit, hardly flopped, grossing $150 million worldwide from a $79 million budget.
2. The Hangover Effect: The 2009 blockbuster, followed by 2011's Bridesmaids, raised the bar for big-screen comedy, in general, and raunch, in particular. Or so goes the popular theory, which, according to one of Jack and Jill's few professed fans, Sandler apparently fell under the influence of. "I think he listened to the critics," Rotten Tomatoes-listed reviewer Jackie K. Cooper says. "'Oh, what they want, I've got to get in with the Hangover-type film.'" Except as things turned out, audiences did not want to see Sandler in a Hangover-type film, or at least not in That's My Boy, the star's first R-rated mainstream comedy after a decade-plus of PG-13-rated silly (and occasionally romanctic) flicks.
3. The Sandler-Being-Sandler Factor: Going back to Little Nicky, the devil-themed flop that followed the kid-centric Big Daddy, the comic has a history of doing what his audience doesn't necessarily want. So, in short, things like That's My Boy happen. "Adam is one of the most successful stars working today because he is willing to take his comedy in different directions," Sony exec Steve Elzer said in an email.
4. The Curse of Father Time: Whether or not The Hangover ever became to film comedy what Nirvana was to hair bands, no star stays on top forever. "A lot of his fans grew up, and forget how funny stupid is sometimes," MediaMikes.com critic Michael A. Smith says.
The Bottom Line: At the box office, as in baseball, it's three strikes, and you're out. So, even if you count Jack and Jill as a borderline strike, Sandler's still in the game.
Up next: A sequel for Grown Ups, which just so happened to be Sandler's most successful movie of the past decade.
"I think Sandler will bounce back," Brian McKim, cofounder of the comedy blog SHECKYmagazine.com, said in a text. "He's got an awful lot of good will to draw upon, and a lot of success, too. A coupla bombs probably won't put a dent in his trajectory."
In which case, the Sandler comedy lives. Again.