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A Misguided Kevin James Bomb Is Now One Of Netflix’s Most-Watched Movies

Zookeeper tried and failed to cash in on the success of Eddie Murphy’s Doctor Dolittle, Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum and Kevin James’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

Another week, another mostly forgotten box office whiff finding itself ranking as Netflix’s most-watched “not a Netflix original” film. This weekend, it’s Happy Madison and MGM’s Zookeeper, a poorly-reviewed and indifferently-received family-targeted comedy that earned $170 million worldwide (that’s good) on an $80 million budget (that’s bad) for Sony. It wasn’t a disaster, and it probably broke even over the last nine years. It stands out as an attempt to mimic the distinct successes of three prior comedy hits without distinguishing itself from its predecessors. The film, about a zookeeper (Kevin James) who accidentally gets the ability to talk to his animal charges, plays like a somewhat low-energy hybrid of Eddie Murphy’s Doctor Dolittle and Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum while obviously hoping to replicate the blow-out success of James’ own Paul Blart: Mall Cop. But it couldn’t compare to the hits it tried to emulate.

Paul Blart was, until just this year, the biggest-grossing “new” January release of all time in raw domestic earnings. The “Die Hard starring Kevin James as a somewhat buffoonish segway-riding mall cop” comedy stood out in early 2009 both for being a kid-friendly comic vehicle for James (then the star of the popular King of Queens show) and for being an original Die

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