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You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Box Office: Adam Sandler (Not Gay) Hero Outperforms Predecessor

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Adam Sandler 2008You Don’t Mess with the Zohan with Adam Sandler: Is he or isn’t he … a spring box office hit? Budgeted at a reported $90 million, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan went on to gross $100 million in the U.S. and Canada.
  • DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda is a global mega-blockbuster in the making while the most recent Adam Sandler comedy You Don’t Mess with the Zohan underperforms in relation to its hefty budget.

Domestic box office: Latest Adam Sandler (not gay) comedy has a good (not great) debut while trailing the blockbuster Kung Fu Panda

June 6–8 weekend box office: Adam Sandler has another (not exactly) “gay” comedy out. But before we get to You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and its performance at the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office, let’s first mention DreamWorks’ computer-animated comedy actioner Kung Fu Panda, which landed in the no. 1 slot domestically with $60.2 million as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.

The Ancient China-set tale of a klutzy panda who dreams of becoming a fierce kung fu fighter, Kung Fu Panda comes with a hefty price tag: $130 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).

In the voice cast: Academy Award winners Dustin Hoffman (Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979; Rain Man, 1988) as a kung fu master and Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted, 1999) as a Master Tigress, and nominee Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile, 1999) as a Javan rhinoceros, plus Jackie Chan, Ian McShane, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Seth Rogen, and Jack Black as the title character.

Mark Osborne and John Stevenson directed, while Paramount Pictures took charge of the distribution.

Global mega-hit

Update: Paramount/DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda ultimately collected $215.4 million at the domestic box office and a whopping $416.3 million overseas – a particularly impressive figure for a non-sequel. Worldwide total: $631.7 million.

A domestic re-release in 2021 added another $337,000 to the movie’s take. Global grand total: $632.1 million – surely more than enough for some solid profits.

Kung Fu Panda’s top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($39.4 million), France ($29.3 million), South Korea ($26.1 million), China ($26 million), Australia ($24.8 million), Germany ($22.3 million), Italy ($22 million), Mexico ($22 million), Spain ($21.8 million), Russia/CIS ($20.7 million), Japan ($17 million), and Brazil ($16.4 million).

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Adam SandlerYou Don’t Mess with the Zohan with Adam Sandler as a (not gay) Israeli commando who is reborn as the New York City-based hairstylist Scrappy Coco.

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan box office: Second consecutive gay-adjacent Adam Sandler character

At a distant second this past weekend, Sony Pictures’ Dennis Dugan-directed Adam Sandler action comedy You Don’t Mess with the Zohan earned a solid $38.5 million. For comparison’s sake: The previous Dugan-Sandler collaboration, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, opened with $34.2 million in July 2007.

In both movies Sandler plays a gay-adjacent character: In I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, he pretends to be Kevin James’ romantic partner so the “couple” can receive government benefits; in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan he’s an Israeli commando who, after faking his own death, settles in the United States to pursue his dream of becoming a scantily dressed hairstylist.

Something else I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan have in common: Critics generally found them crudely juvenile. Budget: $90 million.

Besides Adam Sandler, the You Don’t Mess with the Zohan cast includes: John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Lainie Kazan, Ido Mosseri, Nick Swardson, Dave Matthews, Michael Buffer, Charlotte Rae, Rob Schneider, and cameos by George Takei, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Henry Winkler, and director Dugan.

Action comedy underwhelms in relation to its cost

The Adam Sandler action comedy You Don’t Mess with the Zohan ultimately collected $100 million at the domestic box office and $104.3 million overseas. Worldwide total: $204.3 million – hardly enough for it to recover its cost at the box office alone.

Its top international markets were Germany (also the biggest territory for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, with $17.7 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($10.5 million), Australia ($10.8 million), and Spain ($10.3 million).

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull passes $250 million

Lastly, the no. 3 movie this past weekend was Steven Spielberg’s hit adventure Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which scored $22.8 million, thus passing the $250 million domestic box office milestone. Cume after three weekends: $253 million.

In the cast: Oscar nominee Harrison Ford (Witness, 1985), winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, 2004), Transformers actor Shia LaBeouf, and Raiders of the Lost Ark actress Karen Allen.


You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Box Office” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Box Office: Adam Sandler (Not Gay) Hero Outperforms Predecessor” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should usually be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources.

Comments about Kung Fu Panda, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, 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, international 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 can be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is 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 You Don’t Mess with the Zohan images: Sony Pictures.

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Box Office: Adam Sandler (Not Gay) Hero Outperforms Predecessor” last updated in August 2022.

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