Why’d it Bomb?/Why’s it Remembered? Little Nicky and Eight Crazy Nights
Kevthewriter ponders the enduring legacy of two movies in le cinema de Sandler.
From the late 90’s-mid 00’s, Adam Sandler was basically the Michael Bay of comedians: someone whose movies were critic proof. Critics rarely, if ever, liked his comedies but they usually did well at the box office. But there were exceptions: his most critically acclaimed films, his dramas, all didn’t do well at the box office but there were two comedies, before 2008, when his movies started getting diminished returns, that didn’t do well: Little Nicky and Eight Crazy Nights. But why didn’t these movies do well?
Well, if the box office returns for his dramas show anything, I don’t think his fanbase liked it when he stepped out of his comfort zone. And these two movies didn’t really do that because they still have the same sense of humor and cliches Sandler uses in his movies but, visually, both were different. Little Nicky was a more fantasy based film with devils, demons, angels, magical powers, etc. which might have came off as a bit of a weird change for Sandler fans who were more used to his movies being grounded in reality (or the Happy Madison version of it).
Eight Crazy Nights, on the other hand, was animated, which might have turned off some of his fanbase, especially considering animated films are usually related to kids films (although some of those kids film are more mature than Eight Crazy Nights, an animated movie for teens and young adults, but still). It also didn’t help that both of these movies came out in November (which makes sense for Eight Crazy Nights, considering it’s a holiday movie and all), a time when there are so many popular and or/Oscar bait-y movies coming out, which probably further caused these movies to be buried.
But, if there was one thing that also wasn’t helping Eight Crazy Nights specifically, it’s that it came out during the time traditional animations’ popularity was waning considerably and most 2D animated movies were flopping at the box office. Eight Crazy Nights was probably another victim of the stigma against 2D animation, which just further caused it to bomb.
Yet, while these two movies bombed in theaters, they are weirdly not forgotten. It’s been my experience that, if you mention Adam Sandler, these two movies might come up in conversation (usually as examples of his worst films, but these movies do have their fans).
I think there are two reasons these movies are remembered: branding and nostalgia.
The reason I say branding is that one thing keeping them out of complete obscurity is that they are basically part of the Adam Sandler brand. Therefore, if someone’s seen their fair share of Sandler’s flicks, they might have caught these and therefore, if Adam Sandler’s films come up in conversation, they might come up as examples of his films, whether it’s for a negative reason or not.
But the reason nostalgia I feel also has a factor in keeping these movies from being completely obscure is that, even if they bombed in theaters, people who started finding Adam Sandler funny in their teens might have caught these two on television or home media years after they came out as they just wanted to see anything with Adam Sandler in it. They probably didn’t care that they bombed or the factors leading up to them bombing at the box office, they just want to see a funny Sandler movie so they probably sat through them as a result. Therefore, even if these movies were buried at the time, they were kinda rediscovered when they hit video, no matter what the reason.
Therefore, the reason these two movies bombed is that, at least on the outside, they looked too weird for Sandler’s films (and the stigma on 2D animation at the time didn’t help Eight Crazy Nights) but people who became Sandler fans later on found them on TV and video, which, even if the movies aren’t exactly remembered fondly, have kept them from fading completely into obscurity.