The Wedding Singer

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The Wedding Singer
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFrank Coraci
Written byTim Herlihy
Produced by
CinematographyTim Suhrstedt
Edited byTom Lewis
Music byTeddy Castellucci
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • February 13, 1998 (1998-02-13)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$18 million[1]
Box office$123.3 million[1]

The Wedding Singer is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Coraci, written by Tim Herlihy, and produced by Robert Simonds and Jack Giarraputo. The film stars Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore and Christine Taylor, and tells the story of a wedding singer in 1985 who falls in love with a waitress. The film was released on February 13, 1998. Produced on a budget of US$18 million, it grossed $123 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics. It is often ranked as one of Sandler's best comedies.

The film was later adapted into a stage musical of the same name, debuting on Broadway in April 2006 and closing on New Year's Eve of that same year. Jon Lovitz would reprise his role as Jimmie Moore in the episode of the same name of The Goldbergs, set during the events of The Wedding Singer, with Sandler, Barrymore and Billy Idol appearing through the use of archival footage. The film marks the first collaboration between Sandler and Barrymore, and is followed by 50 First Dates and Blended (the latter also directed by Coraci).


Robbie Hart is a wedding singer in Ridgefield, New Jersey in 1985, whose own wedding to his fiancée Linda is approaching. He meets and befriends Julia Sullivan, a new waitress at the reception hall where he works, and promises to sing at her wedding, though her fiancé, businessman and bond investor Glenn Gulia, has yet to set a date.

On Robbie's wedding day, his sister Kate informs him as he waits at the altar that Linda has changed her mind about the wedding, leaving him humiliated and emotionally devastated. Later that day, Linda visits Robbie and reveals that she fell in love with him for his ambitions of being a rock star, and hates the idea of being married to just a wedding singer.

Robbie sinks into depression, causing his friends and family to be concerned. His best friend Sammy convinces him to return to work, but he gives a depressed performance that is panned, and decides to give up wedding gigs and reneges on his promise to sing for Julia when Glenn finally sets a date.

However, Julia convinces him to help her with the planning and their friendship blossoms. During a double date with Julia, Glenn, and Julia's cousin Holly, Robbie learns from Glenn that he cheats on Julia frequently and plans to continue after they are married.

Julia and Robbie are increasingly confused by their deepening feelings for each other. When Holly tells Robbie that Julia is marrying Glenn for his money, he unsuccessfully pursues a job at a bank. Julia is dismayed at his materialism, and when he accuses her of the same, she becomes angry with him. Depressed, he decides to follow Sammy's example of only having shallow relationships with women, in response to which Sammy confides that he is unhappy, and encourages Robbie to tell Julia how he feels.

Meanwhile, Julia confides in her mother that she has fallen out of love with Glenn and has developed feelings for Robbie, and bursts into tears thinking about becoming "Mrs. Julia Gulia". Robbie arrives to declare his feelings, and sees her through her bedroom window in her wedding dress, where she is happily looking in a mirror pretending she has just married Robbie, but Robbie assumes she is thinking of Glenn.

Heartbroken, Robbie leaves to get drunk and finds Glenn in the midst of his pre-wedding bachelor party, arm in arm with another woman. After a heated exchange, Glenn punches Robbie and mocks him. Robbie stumbles home to find Linda waiting for him wanting to reconcile, and passes out.

The following morning, Linda answers the door and introduces herself as his fiancée to a crestfallen Julia. She runs to Glenn, who is sleeping off the events of the previous night, and tells him she wants to be married immediately. He half-heartedly offers to take her to Las Vegas.

Robbie awakens and, after shaking off his hangover from the previous night, rejects Linda's reconciliation, having realized how shallow she is during his time with Julia, and kicks her out. At the 50th wedding anniversary party of his neighbor Rosie, to whom he has been giving singing lessons, he realizes he wants to grow old with Julia and, with Rosie's encouragement, he decides to pursue her. Just then, Holly arrives and informs him of Julia's encounter with Linda, so Robbie rushes to the airport and gets a first class ticket to Las Vegas.

After telling his story to his empathetic fellow passengers, which include Billy Idol, Robbie learns that Glenn and Julia are on the same flight. With the help of Billy and the flight crew, over the loudspeaker, he sings a song he has written called "Grow Old With You", dedicated to Julia. As Robbie enters the main cabin singing, Glenn tries to assault him only to be thwarted and shoved into a lavatory by the flight attendants with assistance from Billy and a large fan.

Robbie and Julia admit their love for each other, and share a kiss. Billy, impressed by Robbie's song, offers to tell his record company executives about him. Later, Robbie and Julia are married, and a band led by David Veltri performs at their wedding.


  • Adam Sandler as Robbie Hart, a wedding singer
  • Drew Barrymore as Julia Sullivan, a waitress and later Robbie's love interest
  • Christine Taylor as Holly Sullivan, Julia's cousin
  • Allen Covert as Sammy, Robbie's best friend
  • Angela Featherstone as Linda, Robbie's former fiancée
  • Matthew Glave as Glenn Gulia, a businessman and bond investor who was Julia's fiancé
  • Alexis Arquette as George Stitzer, keyboardist and singer in Robbie's band
  • Frank Sivero as Andy, Kate's husband and Tyler's and Petey's dad as well as Robbie's brother-in-law
  • Christina Pickles as Angie Sullivan, Julia's mom
  • Ellen Albertini Dow as Rosie
  • Jodi Thelen as Kate, Robbie's sister and Andy's wife as well as Tyler's and Petey's mom
  • Patrick McTavish as Tyler, Andy's and Kate's son and Petey's brother as well as Robbie's nephew
  • Gemini Barnett as Petey, Andy's and Kate's son and Tyler's brother as well as Robbie's nephew
  • Teddy Castellucci, Randy Razz, and John Vana as the remaining members of Robbie's band
  • Billy Idol as Billy Idol
  • Kevin Nealon as Mr. Simms
  • Marnie Schneider as Joyce, Flight Attendant
  • Carmen Filpi as Old Man in Bar
  • Robert Smigel as Andre
  • Todd Hurst as Drunk Teenager
  • Peter Dante as David's friend

Other notable appearances include future Queens of the Stone Age musician Michael Shuman as The Bar Mitzvah boy, screenwriter Steven Brill as Glenn's buddy, the film's own writer Timothy P. Herlihy as Rudy, a bartender, model Shanna Moakler as a flight attendant, and Al Burke played the large Billy Idol fan. Also appearing uncredited were Steve Buscemi as David Veltri, Jon Lovitz as Jimmie Moore, and Brian Posehn as Man at Dining Table #9. and Chauntal Lewis as Stuck-Up Girl at Bar Mitzvah.


Adam Sandler had an idea for a comedy about a wedding singer who gets left at the altar, and suggested it to Tim Herlihy. Inspired by the radio show "Lost in the '80s" Herlihy decided to set the film in that decade. Herlihy had not set out to do anything different and thought the script was similar to his previous collaborations with Sandler. The changes came naturally, and he attributed the differences to his recently having gotten married, as well as the chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore.[2] Herlihy was aware that Sandler's previous films had lacked a female perspective, and emphasized the importance of Barrymore. He explained that she was so great in her scenes that test audiences did not complain about Sandler not being in every scene as they had done for his previous films, and as a result more of her scenes survived and were included in the final film.[3] Carrie Fisher, a frequent script doctor, was brought on to make the female part more balanced.[4][5] Judd Apatow and Sandler also performed uncredited rewrites of the script.[5][6]

Director Frank Coraci was friends with Sandler since they went to college at NYU and could hardly believe that he and his friends had the opportunity to make films together. Coraci had also gotten over his own experiences of romantic heartbreak a few years earlier and was able to look back on it differently and instead allow it to be funny. Coraci was a fan of director John Hughes and mentioned his films as an important influence.[7]

Barrymore approached Sandler about working together on a film, saying they were "cinematic soulmates" before they had even worked together.[8] Barrymore had a great relationship with Coraci, and praised him for balancing the broad comedy with the important moments of emotion and intimacy. Sandler would often make Barrymore laugh out of context, so that even after a long day, her laughs on camera would be real. In addition, she would not read or hear the songs until the first shoot so that her reactions would be more spontaneous.[8]

Principal photography took place in California from February 3 to March 25, 1997.[citation needed]


Box office[edit]

The film had a budget of $18 million and made $123.3 million worldwide in ticket sales.[1] It opened in second in the US with $18.8 million,[9] behind holdover Titanic.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 72% based on 69 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "It's decidedly uneven -- and surprisingly sappy for an early Adam Sandler comedy -- but The Wedding Singer is also sweet, funny, and beguiling."[10] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Leonard Klady of Variety wrote: "Director Frank Coraci and scripter Tim Herlihy work in concert to maintain a quality of farce rooted in human comedy."[13] Roger Ebert gave the film a negative review and wrote: "The screenplay reads like a collaboration between Jekyll and Hyde."[14]

Boy George responded to the film, saying that when he saw Alexis Arquette doing an impersonation of him and singing "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" he thought it was hilarious.[15][16]

The film has frequently been ranked as one of Sandler's best comedies.[17][18][19][20]


Two soundtrack albums for the film, called The Wedding Singer and The Wedding Singer Volume 2, were released in 1998. While the film had the actors performing many of the songs, the soundtrack albums, for the most part, contained the original versions of the songs instead, as well as the songs that were in the background during the film and original songs and dialogue from it. Only for "Rapper's Delight" was its rendition (by Ellen Dow) used, in combination with the original recording.

The track listing of the first album is:

  1. "Video Killed the Radio Star" (originally performed by The Buggles), performed by The Presidents of the United States of America
  2. "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", performed by Culture Club
  3. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", performed by The Police
  4. "How Soon Is Now?", performed by The Smiths
  5. "Love My Way", performed by The Psychedelic Furs
  6. "Hold Me Now", performed by Thompson Twins
  7. "Everyday I Write the Book", performed by Elvis Costello
  8. "White Wedding", performed by Billy Idol
  9. "China Girl", (Originally performed by Iggy Pop), performed by David Bowie
  10. "Blue Monday", performed by New Order
  11. "Pass the Dutchie", performed by Musical Youth
  12. "Have You Written Anything Lately?"
  13. "Somebody Kill Me", written by Adam Sandler and Tim Herlihy, performed by Adam Sandler
  14. "Rapper's Delight" (medley), performed by Sugarhill Gang and Ellen Dow

The track listing of the second album is:

  1. "Too Shy", performed by Kajagoogoo
  2. "It's All I Can Do", performed by The Cars
  3. "True", performed by Spandau Ballet
  4. "Space Age Love Song", performed by A Flock of Seagulls
  5. "Private Idaho", performed by The B-52's
  6. "Money (That's What I Want)", performed by Flying Lizards
  7. "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)", performed by Dead or Alive
  8. "Just Can't Get Enough", performed by Depeche Mode
  9. "Love Stinks", performed by The J. Geils Band
  10. "You Make My Dreams", performed by Hall & Oates
  11. "Holiday", performed by Madonna
  12. "Grow Old With You", written by Adam Sandler and Tim Herlihy, performed by Adam Sandler

Songs and renditions that appeared in the movie, but were not included in the soundtrack albums, were:

Certifications for "The Wedding Singer" soundtracks
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[21] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Gold 100,000*
United States (RIAA)[24] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^
Volume 2
Canada (Music Canada)[25] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[26] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Musical adaptation[edit]

In 2006, a musical adaption of the same name was released on Broadway starring Stephen Lynch as Robbie and Laura Benanti as Julia. The show has had two national tours in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 respectively. It was nominated for five Tony Awards and eight Drama Desk Awards and received generally good reviews. In this show, the airplane scene with Billy Idol was replaced with a scene in Las Vegas where Robbie meets a Billy Idol impersonator, and they and a group of other impersonators including Ronald Reagan, Cyndi Lauper and Imelda Marcos come to convince Julia to give up Glenn. In addition, Robbie's neighbor Rosie is changed to be his grandma with whom he lives and who asks him to write a song out of a poem she wrote for the 50th anniversary party. Also Robbie's friend, Sammy, was changed from being a limousine driver to being a part of Robbie's band. The show only ran on Broadway for 284 performances but has become a popular show among community theaters and high schools.


  1. ^ a b c The Wedding Singer at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Smith, Zack (March 26, 2008). "The Wedding Singer". Independent Weekly. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008.
  3. ^ Patches, Matt (July 23, 2015). "Adam Sandler's Go-To Writer Says Their Movies Are One Big Accident". Esquire. Archived from the original on November 3, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  4. ^ Barrymore, Drew (2015). Wildflower. New York: Dutton. p. 93. ISBN 9781101983799. OCLC 904421431.
  5. ^ a b Sciretta, Peter (December 29, 2016). "Carrie Fisher Script Doctor: From Hook To Wedding Singer". Archived from the original on April 13, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  6. ^ Adams, Sam (2011). "Carrie Fisher". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on April 13, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2021. There were a lot of ones that I had fun on. The Wedding Singer.
  7. ^ McCabe, Katie (July 14, 2011). "Director Frank Coraci: Confessions of a sentimentalist". Archived from the original on April 15, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Jacobs, Matthew (May 22, 2014). "The Secret Of Drew Barrymore's Relationship With Adam Sandler". HuffPost. Archived from the original on April 13, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  9. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for February 13-15, 1998". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on July 22, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  10. ^ The Wedding Singer at Rotten Tomatoes
  11. ^ "The Wedding Singer". Metacritic. Archived from the original on April 14, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  12. ^ "WEDDING SINGER, THE (1998) A-". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  13. ^ Klady, Leonard (February 12, 1998). "The Wedding Singer". Variety. Archived from the original on July 13, 2021. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 13, 1998). "The Wedding Singer movie review (1998)". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 16, 2021. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  15. ^ Boy George – Alexis Arquette Did Me A Solid In 'The Wedding Singer' (VIDEO). TMZ.
  16. ^ PIRNIA, GARIN (March 18, 2021). "11 Fun Facts About The Wedding Singer". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on April 13, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  17. ^ "All Adam Sandler Movies Ranked". Archived from the original on June 7, 2021. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  18. ^ Fox, Jesse David (October 8, 2020). "What Is the Best Adam Sandler Movie?". Vulture. Archived from the original on June 15, 2021. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  19. ^ "Every Adam Sandler Movie Ranked Worst To Best". ScreenRant. December 6, 2020. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  20. ^ Cook, Meghan. "The 10 best and 10 worst Adam Sandler movies of all time". Insider. Archived from the original on July 13, 2021. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  21. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  22. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Various Artists – The Wedding Singer - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Music Canada. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  23. ^ "British album certifications – Original Soundtrack – The Wedding Singer". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  24. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – The Wedding Singer". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  25. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Various Artists – The Wedding Singer Volume 2 - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Music Canada. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  26. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – The Wedding Singer, More Music". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 28, 2022.

External links[edit]