Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s groundbreaking shared universe strategy revolutionized blockbuster filmmaking over a decade ago, almost every major studio has tried to muscle in on the action. The vast majority have failed, of course, usually at the first hurdle, and the best examples tend to be the ones that nobody ever really talks about.
For instance, Quentin Tarantino has been building his own interconnected mythology for nearly 30 years, and all of his movies feature at least one connection to his previous works. Meanwhile, Adam Sandler recently teased that he’d love to have a cinematic universe of his own one day, and a new theory has now revealed that it actually already exists.
The Happy Madison head honcho is well known for gathering the same directors, writers and actors over and over again whenever he’s shooting a film, but the references between his various star vehicles over the last quarter of a century run surprisingly deep when you think about it.
Not only did Rob Schneider’s character from The Waterboy show up in Little Nicky, but Sandler returned the favor by filling the role when Schneider played the lead in The Animal. The caddy from Happy Gilmore also appeared fifteen years later in Jack and Jill, and Carl Weathers’ Chubbs was seen in heaven during a brief cameo in Little Nicky.
If that wasn’t enough, the Lamonsoff family were mentioned in Click, Grown Ups, The Wedding Singer, Sandy Wexler, Murder Mystery and Pixels, while regular collaborator Allen Covert plays 10-second Tom in both 50 First Dates and Blended. The trend continues in Sandler’s most recent effort, too, Hubie Halloween, as Ben Stiller reprises his Happy Gilmore role in a brief cameo, and the O’Doyle family are once again established as bullies.
For over 25 years, then, it seems that Adam Sandler has slowly been connecting all of his movies together with hardly anyone even noticing. And with the actor no doubt cooking up a lot more projects for us, we imagine his own little cinematic universe will only continue to grow.