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A report that came out a couple weeks ago labeled Chris Columbus' Pixels as the third biggest flop of the summer - and things don't seem to be getting any better for the Adam Sandler vehicle. Sony has been hoping that the international market would wind up helping the would-be blockbuster, but numbers coming out of China suggest that's just not gonna happen.
In a story about the most recent box office numbers from the Asian nation, The Hollywood Reporter says that Pixels has continued to disappoint. According to the records, the action-comedy has only managed to pull in $11.2 million from its first six days of release in China. This pushes the global total for the movie to $220.7 million, but it looks like budgeting and marketing costs are still going to make the feature go down in history as a disappointment.
Interestingly, there seems to be a very specific reason why Pixels was unable to find an audience in China. With characters like Pac-Man, Q*bert, and Donkey Kong playing prominent roles, the movie was initially designed as a means of taking advantage of audience's nostalgia for properties from the 1980s. Unfortunately for the film, that kind of nostalgia doesn't actually exist in the Chinese market. This is because imported video game consoles were actually banned for decades - and the ban was only lifted this past summer. Without recognition of the classic characters, Pixels merely looks like a movie about a bunch of dudes raising weapons against a CGI monkey, a CGI yellow ball with a mouth, and more of the same ilk. Can you really blame them for not going to see it?
During its time here in the United States, Pixels only managed to make $76 million, and will likely be remembered as yet another disappointing effort from Adam Sandler at the box office. While the guy spent years being good for an easy $100 million performance her in the United States, the last few have been filled with multiple titles unable to reach that level of success - including Jack and Jill, That's My Boy, and Blended.
On the plus side, Sandler may have a needed win coming in the next few days. One of the actor's recent movies that actually did manage to find success was the 2012 animated adventure Hotel Transylvania - which pulled in a solid $358 million with the approximately the same budget as Pixels. This weekend will see the follow-up, Hotel Transylvania 2, arrive in theaters, and it's really the only film option available out for young kids. That could help it make up for Pixels losses.
Next up for Sandler will be the Frank Coraci-directed comedy western The Ridiculous 6 (which is currently in post-production) and Steven Brill's "faking our deaths" comedy The Do Over (which started filmed this summer). Neither project has a release date yet, but stay tuned for more details.