Is funnyman, Adam Sandler, a billionaire? We’re going to look at how much he’s made in his career as a Comedian, Actor, Producer, Writer, and Singer and see if he’s crossed over from millionaire to billionaire.
While the movies he’s been associated with, including both acting and technical credits (such as Producer, Writer, etc.), have amassed several billion dollars, Adam Sandler himself is not a billionaire. However, he has an estimated net worth value between $420 to $450 million, so that’s not too shabby.
Let’s take a look at Adam Sandler’s path from class clown to one of the highest paid entertainers in the world. He might have been born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in New Hampshire, but the story we’re going to look at started in Boston, Massachusetts when he was 17.
The Beginning of the Journey
Audiences can perhaps thank Adam Sandler’s brother for the funnyman’s work, as he was the one who convinced a 17-year old Adam to perform some of his jokes at a Boston Comedy Club. Sandler found that he enjoyed performing and continued to do stand-up, while also auditioning as an actor. Four years later, in 1987, Adam was cast in his first on-screen role, as a friend of Theo Huxtable’s on The Cosby Show.
Sandler continued to do stand-up comedy, where, it’s been said, he wouldn’t write his jokes out ahead of time, instead he would just freestyle his sets. After receiving a few small roles on television and his first film lead in 1989, it was at one of these stand-up shows where he was spotted by comedian Dennis Miller. Miller was a cast member of Saturday Night Live, and most known for being the anchor of The Weekend Update at that time. This chance encounter was the catalyst to the event that would change Adam Sandler’s life. After seeing Sandler perform stand-up, Dennis Miller spoke with SNL head, Lorne Michaels, and suggested that he hire Sandler.
His Big Break
In 1990, Adam started his time on Saturday Night Live as a writer, then started making guest appearances to sing some of the songs he’d written, and by the next year he was a fulltime on-screen cast member, creating some of the well-known characters that are still beloved today. His Saturday Night Live run continued from 1990 to 1995.
Perhaps a little-known fact is that during this time that he earned a Grammy Nomination for his album They’re All Gonna Laugh at You (1993), the first of his six albums, as of April 2020. His first two albums went double-platinum, and the following two are certified gold. One of his most well-known songs, “The Chanukah Song”, is from his second album What the Hell Happened to Me?, and can still be heard on the radio each year during the holiday season.
The year 1995 was a bit of a rollercoaster for Sandler, but it may have been the biggest turning point in his path to amassing such wealth and fame. It was during this year that he was fired from Saturday Night Live and released his feature film Billy Madison. While Billy Madison received mix reviews from critics, it debuted at number one in the box office, world-wide, bringing in $26.4 million, and was an instant hit with audiences.
Saturday Night Live may have been Sandler’s big break, but it wasn’t where he peaked. He’s been on a steady rise since then and continues to do what he loves. While he was out of a job after being fired from SNL, he came up with the idea for Happy Gilmore, which was loosely based on a friend from childhood. Happy Gilmore, and to a lesser extent perhaps, Billy Madison, have become cult classics, yet don’t even rank in the top ten of his highest grossing films.
Sandler has gone on to make almost 30 more feature films since then, all raking in a lot of money for him, and the studios. The movie in the tenth spot, of the aforementioned list of highest grossing Adam Sandler movies, made almost $215 million at the box office, globally. And of course, that doesn’t include merchandise, DVD sales, etc. His top grossing movie worldwide, Hotel Transylvania 3, has grossed over $527 million worldwide, and his all-time box office gross is over $3 billion.
So, what might have been the peak for some people’s careers, working for Saturday Night Live, it was just a small stepping-stone for Sandler. His gateway to wealth really began after that and these days he makes, on average, $25 million plus a percentage of gross revenues for each movie he does.
In 2017 he renewed a contract with Netflix for $250 million to make four original movies for them. So, while critics may pan his writing and performances, audiences around the world love to watch said performances. With over 2 billion hours watched on Netflix of his movies, we have no doubt that he will continue to win audiences over with his unique style of humor.
Sandler has three projects in the wings, as of this writing. First up in 2020 will be short, Goldman v Silverman, followed by his Halloween production, Hubie Halloween, which is also getting released this year. And, expected to be released next year, is the fourth installment of the Hotel Transylvania series.
On His Way to a Billion Dollars
While Adam Sandler may not be a billionaire yet, that’s not to say that he won’t get there. If he continues to be a favorite of Netflix execs, we will probably see him renew that contract once again. He’s still relatively young, so we’re sure he has many funny years ahead of him, where he can also continue to make smash hits for other studios as well. Not to mention the residuals that come in for him, or any merchandise, music sales, etc.
Sandler also continues to hit the road doing stand-up comedy and has a special on Netflix, outside of his massive $250 million movie deal. His tour is currently postponed, but dates that had to be cancelled will be rescheduled, so he’s going to continue to be on the road for a bit.