By Yohana Desta. Photos: Courtesy of Netflix.
Here is a fact: Since the release of The Ridiculous 6 in December 2015, Netflix users have spent nearly half a billion collective hours watching Adam Sandler movies. Netflix chief Ted Sarandos shared that mind-boggling statistic in a new Q1 earnings interview (embedded above); it certainly explains why Netflix’s original four-movie deal with Sandler— whom you’ll warmly remember once said that he liked Netflix because it rhymes with “wet chicks”—just got bumped up by four more films.
In the interview, which also features Netflix’s own Reed Hastings and David Wells, the trio discussed the future of the streaming platform, though the notoriously cagey execs, who keep most ratings info under lock and key, declined to reveal any other streaming numbers. Revealing Sandler’s numbers may have been their way of trying to quell the Internet’s collective gnashing of teeth about why the comedian keeps getting such a plush deal from Netflix, despite the harsh critical reviews lobbed at his latest movies. Ridiculous 6, for example, the first film to come out of his Netflix deal, currently has a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was marked by controversy for its appropriation and ridicule of Native American culture.
In the interview, Hastings also shared that Netflix is expecting to cross the 100 million subscribers mark this weekend. He added later, though, that the company still has “YouTube envy”—the video-sharing platform has well over a billion users, and billions more views with each passing day. (Evidently, that envy is not strong enough to keep Netflix from hosting its own earnings report on YouTube.)
Sarandos also discussed the company’s plans for more faith-based entertainment and larger-scale feature films, as well as the looming writers’ strike—which could hit Hollywood in May if negotiations between the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America go awry.
“We’re keeping an eye on it like everybody else, and like everybody else our productions would be impacted if it happens,” Sarandos said. “We may be impacted a little bit less because we’re not on such a rigid production schedule . . . but some of our productions would be held up in the event of a strike, which, our fingers are crossed that that won’t happen.”
Adam Sandler film fans (a group that does not include his own children) will delight in knowing that he co-writes all of his Netflix projects. So at least there’s that.
Watch the earnings interview, here.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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