It may be hard to believe but, opening weekend, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was not the cult-classic success story that fans might remember. In fact, the film only made $90 million total (worldwide) in its original run. Yet, word of mouth, internet memes, viral videos, and a likable cast of up and coming comedy stars helped the film find a much larger audience throughout the years on DVD (and now streaming).
As a result, it wasn't a surprise to hear that the infamous News Team would assemble again, along with director Adam McKay, in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. For years fans had clamored for the sequel, hoping for another round of equally quotable one-liners to enjoy (then repeat) and, for the most part, McKay and star Will Ferrell delivered. High expectations and a lengthy pre-release marketing campaign may have left some viewers underwhelmed but the film nearly doubled the box office grosses of the original - with just under $170 million in ticket sales (so far). So will team will return for an Anchorman 3? According to McKay, it's highly unlikely.
Speaking to Empire Online, the Anchorman and Anchorman 2 writer/director indicates that while they had a lot of fun making the first two films, he doesn't see much reason to revisit the characters a third time:
"It’s done. I think that’s it. It was great to do it and it was so fun to work with those guys again, but I think that’s it for Ron Burgundy [...] No, that’s the last sequel we’re gonna do. There’s nothing more fun to me than new characters and a new world. And now we’re releasing this alt version, we’re totally satisfied. No Anchorman 3."
Pressed about the possibility of whether or not he would be more enthusiastic about Anchorman 3 in ten years (after all it took nearly 10 years to deliver the 2013 sequel), McKay was still adamant that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Super-Sized R-Rated Version is the last film to feature Ron Burgundy and his News Team:
"I’m going to say definitely no. I’ll actually say it in this case!”
We'll have to wait awhile to find out if McKay reneges on such a definitive statement but it's also easy to understand his reluctance. Despite being a commercial success, the film was criticized heavily by reviewers (and some fans) for both adhering too closely to the same jokes and set-ups in the original while also throwing in random gags that didn't quite land (read our Anchorman 2 review). For many, regardless of its flaws, Anchorman 2 is a worthwhile sequel, and one that the filmmakers obviously enjoyed making but that doesn't mean they'll be as keen to revisit the same concept and characters in the future - especially since upping the ante for Anchorman 3 would be an especially daunting task
Obviously, fans will be disappointed by the news but McKay makes a smart point: "There’s nothing more fun to me than new characters and a new world." It may be sad to say goodbye to Ron Burgundy and his friends but this opens McKay and Ferrell up to all new possibilities and characters that they, as well as viewers, can enjoy exploring.
The director didn't elaborate on what ideas he might have to help fill the zany Anchorman void but did comment on two projects that he's currently working on - a remake of Uptown Saturday Night with Will Smith and an adaptation of The Big Short (a novel about the 2008 financial crisis).
Speaking about Uptown Saturday Night, McKay offered the following update:
"You never fully know, but that’s the one I’m putting my chips on for now. We’re working on the rewrite with Nick Stoller and it’s getting really good. We already did The Other Guys, I didn’t want to go into the traditional buddy film genre, I want it to be something different and I think we found it in the last week.”
The filmmaker then went on to describe the plot of The Big Short:
"It’s the best book ever written about finance, banking, the stock market. It’s all about five guys who knew that the 2008 collapse was coming before it happened. Some of them try to warn people, and some go, ‘screw it, I’m going to short the market!’ These were the few sane people who knew what was happening and it’s about what it’s like to be the one person in the room who actually knows that the building is about to collapse and no-one will believe you. It’s a page-turner. You read it and by the end you completely understand the ’08 collapse."
Both films could offer an engaging mix of comedy and character but, given that neither one falls into McKay's traditional style of over-the-top comedy, it'll be interesting to see what the filmmaker, and regular writing partner Ferrell, come up with once the dust has settled after Anchorman 2.
Whether you're a fan of every single McKay film from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy to Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to The Other Guys to Anchorman: The Legend Continues or simply a moviegoer that appreciates select entries in his filmography, it's always interesting to hear what crazy idea the director plans to tackle next.
In the meantime, you stay classy, San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy?
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Super-Sized R-Rated Version will screen for a week (probably longer, if it’s successful) in U.S. and U.K. theaters, beginning on February 28th, 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on the Anchorman series, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.
Source: Empire Online