Pixels might be artistically bankrupt, but that’s hardly a reason to label the movie a flop. After two decades of being subjected to lazy Sandler vehicles, the domestic market has certainly began to tire of his shenanigans, but Pixels is financially inline with most of his output. The majority of his films carry a $75 million to $90 million price tag and pull in worldwide numbers around $200 million — give or take. Pixels carries an $88 million budget (according to hacked Sony documents, the budget was $137.5 million, but heavy tax breaks would bring that down to the reported $88 million) and has pulled in $194.5 million as of the Labor Day weekend and still has Australia, Japan and China left to open, as well as a few million more that will trickle out from the markets its been playing in. Sandler’s films generally pull in pocket change in Japan, so unless Japanese audiences warm to the content, it will probably barely register at the box office. Australia could add $5 million to over $10 million if it does well and depending on the gross from China, the film will end up as one of Sandler’s biggest box office scores. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan cost $90 million and pulled in $199.9 million. Just Go With It cost $80 million and tallied up $214.9 million. Bedtime Stories’ budget was $80 million and took home $212.8 million. By the box office logic being applied to Pixels, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was a disaster, with an $85 million budget and a $186 million gross. Pixels is your run of the mill Sandler fare — poorly reviewed and successful at the box office. His appeal might have waned in the US, but unlike most domestic comedies, his actually travel overseas to respectable box office. Even the modestly priced Blended at $40 million took in 63.8% of its gross outside of the US. Weighing the success of a massive global release on the US opening weekend, does not make an instant flop if the film opens below expectations. Pixels did see a 56.3% domestic decline in its second weekend, but the film leveled off and saw modest weekly drops and will close with a bit less than $80 million. The international appeal for the film has also yielded strong weekly showings and has become Sandler’s biggest overseas movie and yet Pixels is making biggest flops and bombs of the summer lists. According to the hacked Sony emails China Film Group took a 10% equity investment in the production to share the revenue of a China release, of which they can guarantee. Depending on Pixels’ gross, the film could come close to Sandler’s biggest worldwide box office hit Grown Ups at $271.4 million. Feel free to add Pixels to your worst of the summer lists or worst of 2015 lists, just keep it off the biggest flops of summer lists.
UPDATE: Japanese audiences warm to the video game content and Pixels opens #1 with $1.3 million. The film is estimated to hit at least $10 million from the territory.
2nd UPDATE: The final reported worldwide total is $244.1 million — about $2 million shy of Grown Ups 2.