Adam Sandler’s New Sci-Fi Movie Couldn’t Have Picked A Worse Time To Release

Summary

  • Sandler’s venture into sci-fi in Spaceman was bound to be overshadowed by the release of Dune 2 on the same day.
  • Critics praise Sandler’s performance in Spaceman but find the film thematically incoherent, while Dune 2 has received rare reviews from critics and audiences alike.
  • By releasing on the same day as Dune 2, Spaceman set itself up to be unfavorably compared, which could impact its reception.



The release date for Adam Sandler’s new movie Spaceman could not have been a worse time for the sci-fi drama to make its streaming debut on Netflix. Based on the 2017 book Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař, Spaceman follows Jakub Procházka (Sandler), a lonely astronaut six months into an investigative space mission who is experiencing marital problems with his Earth-bound wife, Lenka (Carey Mulligan). During his expedition, Jakub encounters a telepathic, extraterrestrial spider named Hanuš (voiced by Paul Dano), who agrees to help the astronaut.

Though he’s ventured into dramatic work in the past, Sandler hasn’t really done any movies like Spaceman before. As a result, there was sufficient intrigue surrounding the sci-fi space drama directed by Johan Renck. After a limited theatrical release on February 23, 2024 Spaceman had its official streaming debut on Netflix on March 1. It might seem like an inconspicuous date, but this turned out to be a terrible time for Spaceman to come out because of its similarities to a much bigger movie that was released the same day.


Spaceman
is available to stream on Netflix.

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Releasing Spaceman The Same Day As Dune 2 Is A Risky Strategy

It was a bold move to compete with the highly anticipated Dune sequel


In retrospect, March 1, 2024, was probably not the best day for Spaceman to be released on Netflix, considering it was the same day that Dune: Part Two hit theaters. Serving as the second installment of Denis Villeneuve’s two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 novel, Dune: Part Two continues the events of 2021’s Dune and features returning characters as well as new additions to the Dune 2 cast. Given the critical and commercial success of the first movie, the highly anticipated Dune sequel is not the kind of release companion a movie like Spaceman wants.

Dune: Part Two
is in theaters everywhere now.


Spaceman and Dune 2 were actually both supposed to be 2023 releases, with Dune 2 slated for a November 3 release after two previous schedule changes. However, both films’ releases were delayed due to the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, resulting in their shared March 2024 release date. Although they won’t be competing in ticket sales, it was still a big risk for Spaceman to hit Netflix the same day Dune 2 hit theaters.

By sharing a release date with Dune 2, it was inevitable that Spaceman would be compared to the

sci-fi epic.

With all the hype surrounding it, Dune 2 was bound to overshadow Spaceman given their similarities in genre and setting.Dune 2 may be more action-packed, but both sci-fi movies deal with outer space, with the Dune franchise taking place in the future on a desert planet and Sandler’s astronaut in Spaceman traversing to the edge of the solar system. By sharing a release date with Dune 2, it was inevitable that Spaceman would be compared to the sci-fi epic, and based on initial reviews for both movies, this does not bode well for the Netflix film.


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How Dune 2 Can Hurt Spaceman’s Reviews

Watching Dune 2 and Spaceman back-to-back could influence viewers’ perspective

Adam Sandler standing alone in a river in Spaceman 2024

Spaceman’s reviews are mixed so far, with many critics praising Sandler’s performance and the film’s stunning visuals but finding it thematically incoherent and lacking substance. Spaceman‘s Rotten Tomatoes scores also continue to plummet, dropping from a 62% to 49% critical score and an 83% to 66% audience score over its first weekend (via Rotten Tomatoes). In contrast, Dune 2‘s reviews have been incredible, with the sequel receiving high praise and some even deeming it a sci-fi masterpiece. Dune 2‘s Rotten Tomatoes score even broke records, currently sitting at a 94% critics score and 95% audience score (via Rotten Tomatoes).


The brilliance of Dune 2 may end up making Spaceman look even worse by comparison.

While Spaceman seems to have legitimate shortcomings, Dune 2 could still have a negative influence on its reception from critics and audiences regardless. If viewers watch both new releases back-to-back, the brilliance of Dune 2 may end up making Spaceman look even worse by comparison, especially if Dune 2 is first on the viewing schedule. Ultimately, audiences shouldn’t let their opinion of one film impact their perception of another, but by sharing a release date with the incredibly well-received Dune 2, Spaceman put itself in a tough spot.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes, Rotten Tomatoes


Spaceman Poster Showing Adam Sandler Walking Through a Forest in an Astronaut Suit

Spaceman

Spaceman is a sci-fi drama starring Adam Sandler and directed by Chernobyl director Johan Renck. The film, based on the book Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař, follows Jakub Procházka who goes on a solo mission to space and encounters a mysterious creature as he begins to lose touch with reality.

Director
Johan Renck

Release Date
March 1, 2024

Distributor(s)
Netflix