Update: ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Zoolander’ Sequels Not Dead… Yet

Monday, May 3, 2010
By Rick Duran
A eugoogoolizer... one who speaks at funerals

A eugoogoolizer... one who speaks at funerals

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 Channel 4 Newsteam

The Channel 4 Newsteam

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.)

12 Responses to “Update: ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Zoolander’ Sequels Not Dead… Yet”

  1. Bonnie

    I just read this and came here to see if you posted it. The Sacha sidenote is….interesting.

    #1858
  2. John Avs

    Well yeah Sacha Baron Cohen can bring in the $ overseas for his Ali G characters, but I don’t think Talladega Nights did so well.

    #1859
  3. Rick Duran

    Right, the source article uses Talladega Nights’ poor overseas performance as an example of why American-centered comedies have little box office lifespan outside of domestic gross.

    #1860
  4. Kevin Crossman

    I’m having a hard time seeing how Zoolander is any more “American” than Meet the Fockers or Night at the Museum. Ricky Bobby? I get that. Anchorman? Not as much…

    I was wondering about what the budgets in question were. $40 million seems awfully low (especially compared to a film that has to have lesser expectations, such as Hot Tub Time Machine). Clearly, the $40 million seems like a leak from Paramount and probably a negotiating ploy.

    $70 million doesn’t seem unreasonable for a period piece starring three A-list comedy actors. Especially with a (presumed) PG-13 rating. If Step Brothers can make $100, surely an Anchorman sequel would too? Right? Step Brothers made about $28m overseas which clearly isn’t great.

    Of course, Steve Carell’s movies have played much better overseas for some reason (Virgin: $67m, Evan Almighty $73m, Dan in Real Life $20m, Get Smart $100m). Paul Rudd’s Role Models and I Love You Man took in about $20m each overseas. So, remember… It’s not just Ferell’s performance at play here. Rudd/Carell should count here, too.

    #1861
  5. Kevin Crossman

    I just looked up Ben Stiller’s stats. Do you know that The Heartbreak Kid made $90m overseas? Tropic Thunder made $70m, Along Came Polly $50m, Starsky $80m. So, clearly, Stiller is a huge star overseas even in non-franchise films.

    You’d think that a Zoolander 2 with participation by some recognizable Foreign stars would be a sure thing.

    #1862
  6. Jack

    There was no promotion for either film over here (UK), I think I saw the posters and trailers at the cinema but that’s about it, why not do the sequels but actually market them! Hell Anchorman is pretty big now over in the UK, I’m sure the sequel would make a mint.

    #1864
  7. jon

    Exactly, it must be a negotiation ploy.
    These movies must happen!!

    #1865
  8. John Avs

    I see 2oolander having a better chance of getting made because all 2oolander needs is Stiller, Owen, and Stiller’s wife to make it good. Anchorman on the other hand has so many big stars now, but when the price is only 70 million, that’s not bad. I know Will Ferrell isn’t that huge of a draw overseas, but Anchorman 2 could easily make 120 million domestic, and at least 30 overseas.

    #1866
  9. Kevin Crossman

    Zoolander 2 or 2oolander? hmmm….

    #1867
  10. Nathan

    I didn’t really like Zoolander, but I think a sequel would be interesting now that all 3 main characters, possibly Jonah Hill, are bigger stars now. Anchorman 2 must happen, Ron Burgandy is one of the most famous, if not the most famous comedic character of all time, well above Austin Powers, or Happy/Billy Adam Sandler characters… The film must be made, they left us way too interested to not make a sequel.

    #1868
  11. Bonnie

    Maybe Paramount just wanted to see some activity on this website. I think these updates have provided the most activity on this site in months. ;-)

    #1872
  12. Mario

    Theroux says 2oolander is still a go:

    http://www.movieline.com/2010/05/justin-theroux-zoolander-2-is-just-fine.php

    ps. the duplass link at the bottom of the page about being a dick to Ben Stiller is pretty funny

    #1886

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