Will Ferrell and Adam McKay end their production partnership following the Holmes & Watson box office flop. In 2006, the duo co-founded Gary Sanchez Productions, this coming after they’d previously worked together on NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
In 1995, Ferrell and McKay were reportedly hired by Saturday Night Live’s creator, Lorne Michaels, on the same day. During the mid-‘90s, Ferrell became one of the leading figures of mainstream comedy, while McKay served as Saturday’s Night Live’s head writer for two seasons of his six-year run on the show. By 2004, the release of McKay’s film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy announced the next great comedic partnership, one that continued with popular comedies like Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
Per Deadline, Ferrell and McKay have decided to end their creative partnership, at least in regard to Gary Sanchez Productions. The company presently has numerous projects in development, and all of them will reportedly be completed. Gary Sanchez Productions has a sister label called Gloria Sanchez Productions, of which was founded by Jessica Elbaum and will produce the upcoming Netflix series Dead to Me starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. Under the production banner Gary Sanchez Productions, Ferrell and McKay's recent releases include the 2018 film Vice, along with the aforementioned Holmes & Watson - one of 2018’s biggest disappointments, both financially and critically. Produced for $42 million, the comedy starring Ferrell and John C. Reilly failed to out-earn its budget, all the while earning an 11% Rotten Tomatoes score.
Ferrell and McKay reportedly still support each other personally and will continue to collaborate on current projects, however they do hope to “refocus their creative efforts.” The comedic duo confirmed their production split with the following statement:
“The last 13 years could not have been more enjoyable and satisfying for the two of us at Sanchez Productions. We give massive thanks to our incredible staff and executives and all the writers, directors and actors we worked with through the years. The two of us will always work together creatively and always be friends. And we recognize we are lucky as hell to end this venture as such.”
Since the 2013 Anchorman sequel, McKay has stepped away from directing traditional comedies. In 2015, he released The Big Short, a dramedy about the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Led by an all-star cast including Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling, the film was a box office hit and received five Oscar nominations, winning for Best Adapted Screenplay. In 2018, McKay reunited with the aforementioned Bale for Vice, a biographical drama about former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. While Vice wasn’t necessarily a huge financial success, it did receive eight Oscar nominations.
Many people may correlate Will Ferrell and Adam McKay with Saturday Night Live, while other may connect them to their brilliant web creation "Funny or Die" and feature film comedies. While it doesn’t appear that Ferrell and McKay will collaborate on any screwball-like comedies like Holmes & Watson in the near future, it does seem that they’re both ready to embrace the next phases of their career, and to take more creative risks.