It’s always interesting to see what movies crack Netflix’s top ten most-watched movies of the week. For the first time since Blockbuster Video was a monolith, there’s one company whose internal reporting can give a pretty good sense for what huge swaths of the country is watching right now — and while the top spots are almost always occupied by new, buzzy titles with big budgets, the top ten is often rounded out by older movies whose resurgence may or may not be easy to explain. Over the weekend, the Eddie Murphy vehicle The Nutty Professor cracked the top ten.
While Green Lantern made headlines last week for rising up the charts in spite of its bad reputation, The Nutty Professor was pretty well-received, and spawned a sequel, revitalizing a brand that had, at that time, been dormant since 1963. An animated sequel to the 1963 movie also later came out, with another remake in development now.
The Nutty Professor came in at #10 on Saturday, with Green Lantern at #8 and A Cinderella Story at #9. That movie, which starred Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, was a modern retelling of the Cinderella myth — which explains why it had some heat last week, as Amazon released another, highly-publicized Cinderella update of their own.
Most of the top 10 movies at Netflix are easy enough to explain; they have newly-released Netflix originals at #1, 2, and 7, while School of Rock, a family hit that always seems to be on the list, is at #4.
The 1996 The Nutty Professor, which stars Eddie Murphy, is a remake of a 1963 Jerry Lewis vehicle of the same name. In the Murphy version, brilliant and obese scientist Sherman Klump (Murphy) invents a miraculous weight-loss solution. After a date with chemistry student Carla Purty (Jada Pinkett) goes badly, a depressed Klump tries the solution on himself. Though he instantly loses 250 pounds, the side effects include a second personality: an obnoxiously self-assertive braggart who calls himself Buddy Love. Buddy proves to be more popular than Sherman, but his arrogance and bad behavior quickly spiral out of control.
One of the key things that distinguised The Nutty Professor in a crowded comedy marketplace in the mid-90s was Murphy’s ability to disappear into multiple roles in the movie, allowing for one of those fun marketing campaigns where the trailer said something like “starring Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, and Eddie Murphy.”
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