Update: ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Zoolander’ Sequels Not Dead… Yet
Nikki Finke has the scoop that Paramount will regroup meetings to get Anchorman and Zoolander sequels made. However, the studio doesn’t want to make either for more than $40 million, only around $12 million more than the original films’ budgets.
It’s hard to believe either film could be made for a budget so low (hell, that’s only $4 million more than Hot Tub Time Machine.) One of the reasons for the budget tightening is neither film made much money overseas, a plague on many American comedies. Since both originals had modest domestic box office success ($45 million for Zoolander, $85 million for Anchorman) and virtually nothing overseas ($5 million and $15 million respectively), the studio stills sees the sequels as a risk.
Just two weeks ago, Paramount won a bidding war for a Sacha Baron Cohen pitch, where he’d star as both a foreign dictator and a goat farmer, for $65 million (including high fees for its writers and producers.) Baron Cohen’s overseas potential, even on Bruno which disappointed domestically, suggests the new film should have high box office returns (though this would be Sacha Baron Cohen’s first headlining film without using any existing characters from Da Ali G Show.)
The sticking point on Anchorman 2, according to Finke, is Adam McKay and Will Ferrell won’t begin work on a script without a budget guarantee of $70 million. By comparison, Ben Stiller and Justin Theroux have already begun script work on Zoolander 2. While it sounds like making either film at Paramount’s requested budget would be impossible, it does seem like there is some potential that both could be made. Naturally, Paramount would have to agree to a higher budget (and major gross-participant backend deals), while both sequel camps would have to alter their scripts to meet the budget constraints.
Let’s just hope some kind of agreement is made. It’s a once in a lifetime moment where all the original players are ready to reunite (clearly the cast of Old School has proven how hard that can be.)