Just a few years ago, filmmakers were lamenting the fact that despite the cult success their comedies had enjoyed over the years, studios just weren’t willing to foot the bill for a follow-up. Director Adam McKay was famously ready to throw in the towel on Anchorman 2 before one last phone call to Paramount led to the film finally coming together, and it enjoyed modest success at the box office last year. Just last week, Dumb and Dumber To opened in theaters at the Number One spot, proving once again that a comedy sequel released years after the original (in this case a decade) still has an audience. Which leads us to Zoolander 2. The original Ben Stiller-led and directed comedy pulled in only $60 million at the worldwide box office, but it gained a massive following on home video over the years.
Stiller has been trying to get the follow-up off the ground for some time now, and it finally looks as if the project has momentum as Penelope Cruz is signing on to star. Much more after the jump.
While Zoolander’s box office take was certainly a disappointment, the film opened in 2001 just a couple of weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, so it’s understandable that American audiences weren’t really in the mood to flock to a silly comedy. Momentum has been building for the picture in recent months, with Justin Theroux working on the screenplay with Stiller and Will Ferrell revealing that Mugatu reappears in the follow-up, adding that the cast was poised to get together for a script read soon.
And now Deadline reports that Penelope Cruz has signed on to star in the comedy sequel, meaning the project certainly looks to be moving forward at Paramount. Theroux was originally attached to direct Zoolander 2 (which he also wrote), but he recently revealed that should HBO order a second season of the drama The Leftovers, of which he’s the star, his schedule likely wouldn’t allow for him to helm the comedy sequel. HBO did indeed renew The Leftovers, and while Deadline’s initial report had Theroux directing the film, the post was subsequently updated to say that Zoolander 2 will see Stiller “back behind the camera,” so I imagine that means this is Stiller’s next directorial effort after The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Whatever the case, it’s certainly clear that the success of both Dumb and Dumber To and Anchorman 2 have paved the way for Paramount to gamble on Zoolander 2. Add in the fact that this summer’s 22 Jump Street proved to be one of the best comedy sequels of all time—a type of film that’s incredibly hard to pull off—and it looks like studios are starting to come around to the idea of comedic franchises. That’s a good thing in the case of Zoolander because it’s a sequel I’m dying to see, but given Hollywood’s penchant for overdoing trends (see: interconnected movie universes) I imagine we might be in for some ill-conceived comedy sequels down the road.
Regardless, the casting of Cruz in Zoolander 2 is promising for the life of the film and also marks a fitting addition to the ensemble (it’s not exactly a stretch to imagine Cruz navigating the world of models), so I’m very excited to see how this one turns out. What about you, folks? Are you game for more Zoolander? What other comedies do you think deserve follow-ups? Sound off in the comments below.