American actor and comedian Ben Stiller has appeared in numerous television shows and films and also directed some great movies. He is mostly known for starring in comedy shows and movies such as the sitcom FRIENDS, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Arrested Development. He made his directorial debut with the rom-com Reality Bites and continued making movies in which he had lead roles.

One of these movies was the 2001 comedy film Zoolander. The movie was a satire on the fashion industry and stars Ben Stiller in the titular role (Derek Zoolander) while his father Jerry Stiller also starred in the movie. While the movie performed moderately well at the box office, Ben Stiller got into some legal trouble for the movie’s copyrights.

Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller

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Ben Stiller Was Sued For His Movie Zoolander

Zoolander follows an oblivious male supermodel Derek Zoolander whose agents Maury Ballstein (Jerry Stiller) and Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) try to brainwash the model into murdering the prime minister of Malaysia as he is going to pass some laws that will be harmful to their businesses. Meanwhile, Zoolander battles his worries about having made the wrong career decision by going against his parents and also the fact that his career has hit a slump.

Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller in Zoolander

Bret Easton Ellis, the author of the book on which the Christian Bale starrer movie American Psycho is based, sued Ben Stiller after the release of Zoolander. The movie’s plot was very similar to Ellis’s 1998 novel Glamorama in which a dimwitted supermodel realizes that he has gotten himself involved with a terrorist group that is entrenched in the fashion industry. The case was settled out of court which helped save the movie from disgrace.

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Zoolander grossed a worldwide total of $60.8 million against a production budget of $28 million. The movie received mixed reviews and has received an average rating of 65% on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, and scored 61 out of 100 on the website Metacritic.

Ben Stiller Was Glad Zoolander 2 Was A Box Office Bomb

Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller with Owen Wilson in Zoolander 2

While not many artists would appreciate one of their projects flopping at the box office, Ben Stiller certainly was not one of them. Following the success of the first movie, Zoolander 2 finally hit the silver screens in 2016. However, much to the disappointment of critics and audiences alike, the movie did not do as well as its predecessor.

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The Tropic Thunder director seemed blissfully unbothered by the fact that Zoolander 2 managed to gross $56 million against a production budget of $50 million. He expressed to Esquire how this helped pave his way to making more gritty dramas, saying:

“I might have gotten distracted by other bright shiny objects, but instead it opened a path where I could just do what I’d honestly wanted to do for years and years, which was: just direct something! To say, I’m just going to work on this project that I want to work on, because it takes a little time to get these things going, and if you don’t stick with it you don’t get there.”

Maybe Zoolander 2 flopping was what Ben Stiller needed to understand his true potential and explore new projects. His miniseries Escape At Dannemora did critically well, and Stiller would not have made this shift if it were not for Zoolander 2‘s failure.

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