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'Grown Ups' a summer surprise for Adam Sandler

The comedy with Chris Rock and Kevin James has gone on to gross about $160 million domestically after a good but not great opening of $41 million nearly two months ago.

August 16, 2010

Adam Sandler isn't known for subtlety, but he may just have the sleeper hit of the summer.

Sandler's comedy "Grown Ups," in which he costars with Kevin James and Chris Rock, is on its last legs at the domestic box office and will finish its two-month run with about $160 million. That's four times its opening-weekend take, a very high multiple that indicates word of mouth on the film about high school friends who reunite in middle age has been unusually good.

Sandler hasn't enjoyed a multiple that good on any of his trademark PG-13 comedies since 1998's "The Waterboy" and 1999's "Big Daddy," both of which had box-office performances nearly identical to "Grown Ups."

2005's "The Longest Yard" ended up with a similar $158 million, but that was after a much better $47-million debut. More typical have been movies like 2006's "Click," which opened to $40 million but ended up with $137 million, and 2008's "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," which went from a $39-million debut to only $100 million.

The higher-than-average box office potential for "Grown Ups" was hinted at on the movie's debut weekend when viewers gave it a grade of A-, on average. In addition, 53% of opening-day moviegoers were women, suggesting that the audience would be broader than Sandler's typical mostly male fan base.

The long box-office run means Sony Pictures and Relativity Media should make a nice profit on the $70 million to $80 million they spent to make "Grown Ups."

The film has yet to open in a number of major foreign countries but has racked up a decent $34 million in 37 markets, including strong performances in Germany, Mexico and Spain. It remains to be seen whether it will rival Sandler's top international performers, such as "Click" and "Zohan," which each ended up with about $100 million in overseas ticket sales.

— Ben Fritz

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