Funny People Puts Serious Pressure on Sandler

Box office performance for latest flick a mystery
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2009 2:22 PM CDT
Judd Apatow poses with Adam Sandler at the premiere of "Funny People" in Los Angeles, Monday, July 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
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(Newser) – Though it’s called Funny People, Adam Sandler’s latest film is a bit more serious than his fans are used to—and its opening-weekend performance is a mystery, Variety reports. Forecasts range from just over $20 million to more like $35 million, Audiences loved director Judd Apatow’s prior efforts—which were more upbeat than the R-rated, 2½-hour Funny People.

“We’re extremely optimistic that this is going to have a long run,” says a Universal exec, adding that the film—which involves Sandler’s character dealing with cancer—is positioned as a more serious comedy. “It’s an evolution for Judd Apatow toward more films that deal with real-life issues. I think it can perform along the lines of James L. Brooks movies like Jerry Maguire and As Good as It Gets.” (Read more Adam Sandler stories.)