- I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry box office: Featuring a “gay” Adam Sandler – whose “husband” is Kevin James – Dennis Dugan’s lowbrow comedy topped the domestic chart this past weekend.
- At no. 3, Adam Shankman’s Hairspray remake had a (barely) decent debut. Nikki Blonsky has the central role, alongside veteran John Travolta as her mother.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry box office: Latest bit of evidence that domestic audiences are hungry for quality fare
July 20–22 weekend box office: Featuring bachelor Adam Sandler as a fake gay man whose “husband” – for life insurance purposes – is widower Kevin James, Universal Pictures’ Dennis Dugan-directed comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry topped the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart, grossing a solid $34.2 million from 3,495 theaters according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
If you give them stupid, they’ll come, right?
But of course! In fact, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry far outpaced Dugan’s previous movie, The Benchwarmers, featuring Rob Schneider and David Spade, which opened with $19.7 million in April 2006. But then again, is I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry any more stupid than The Benchwarmers?
Stop and ponder that for a few minutes.
Only slightly ahead of the no. 2 title
Now, on the other hand one must admit it’s a little surprising that something as infantile as the latest Adam Sandler flick – I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry has a 15 percent approval rating at rottentomatoes.com – ended up failing to easily top the domestic box office chart.
After all, on its second weekend out Warner Bros.’ blockbuster fantasy Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix trailed the Sandler-James dumbfest by only about $1.7 million (weekend gross: $32.5 million).
And then there’s the inconvenience that I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry cost a reported $85 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses). That’s a steep price tag for a comedy.
Besides Adam Sandler and Kevin James, the cast includes Jessica Biel, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Peter Dante, Nicholas Turturro, and Oscar nominee Dan Aykroyd (Driving Miss Daisy, 1989). Plus cameos by Lance Bass, veteran Richard Chamberlain (Joy in the Morning, Petulia), and lowbrow comedy crowd members David Spade, Rob Corddry, and Rob Schneider.
Unsurprisingly, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry far stronger domestically
Update: The “gay” Adam Sandler comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry ultimately collected $120 million domestically and a far more modest $67.1 million internationally. (Sandler is a far bigger box office draw in the United States than elsewhere.) Worldwide total: $187.1 million – likely not enough to make it profitable at the box office alone.
Its top international markets were Germany ($13.8 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($8.4 million), Australia ($6 million), and Mexico ($5.2 million).
Hairspray 2007 has (barely) decent debut in relation to its cost
Directed by Adam Shankman, New Line Cinema’s 1962 Baltimore-set musical Hairspray opened at no. 3, raking in (an estimated) $27.8 million from 3,121 sites. Not a bad figure, but not a good one either for a $75 million production.
Adapted from the Broadway musical, itself based on John Waters’ 1988 cult classic, Hairspray 2007 stars Nikki Blonsky as a heavy-set high-school student and, under heavy make-up and in a body suit, Oscar nominee John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever, 1977; Pulp Fiction, 1994) as the teenager’s massively rubbery mother.
Also: Amanda Bynes as Blonsky’s best friend, James Marsden as progressive television show host Corny Collins, Zac Efron as the lead male dancer on The Corny Collins Show, Brittany Snow, Paul Dooley, Jerry Stiller, Oscar nominees Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys, 1989; etc.) and Queen Latifah (Chicago, 2002), and Oscar winner Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, 1978).
In the cast of the original Hairspray: Divine, Ricki Lake (seen in a cameo in the remake), Michael St. Gerard, Debbie Harry, Leslie Ann Powers, Mink Stole, and Sonny Bono, plus a cameo by John Waters (who’s also briefly seen in the remake).
Solid global total – but profitable?
Update: The John Travolta musical Hairspray ultimately collected $118.9 million domestically and $84.7 million internationally. Worldwide total: $203.6 million – a good sum, though likely not enough for it to break even at the box office.
Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($25.8 million), Australia ($14.4 million), and Japan ($8 million).
“I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Box Office” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Box Office: ‘Gay’ Adam Sandler Comedy Is No. 1” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Hairspray, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Adam Sandler and Kevin James I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry movie image: Universal Pictures.
John Travolta Hairspray 2007 movie image: New Line Cinema.
“I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Box Office: ‘Gay’ Adam Sandler Comedy Is No. 1″ last updated in October 2022.