Adam Sandler during "Billy Madison" New York City Premiere at Cineplex Odeon Cinema in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
A Test Screening Saved Adam Sandler's Billy Madison From Studio Interference
“Billy Madison” may have had poor reviews when it debuted, but the film and its iconic moments are still a delight for many who grew up watching Adam Sandler movies. While the movie is a favorite for some now, the studio had mixed feelings about how it would be received and would have made some drastic changes if not for the test audience’s positive review.
Director Tamra Davis explained, “The studio didn’t know what to think about the film, which was, frankly, weird. Thank god for audience test scores — they loved it”; it was a hit specifically with teenagers. Davis noted, “The studio was happy, and I didn’t have to make any of their incorrect changes, like taking out the shot of the family going over a cliff in a station wagon to their deaths.”
Although the critics disliked the movie, it was number one at the box office when it was released, and it managed to accomplish what Sandler movies are supposed to do: be fun. Davis echoed this idea, adding, “I found solace in thinking that if a critic liked ‘Billy,’ we failed. We didn’t make the film for stuffy intellectual critics, but for us, crazy kids who loved to party and have fun.”