Actor Ben Stiller directed and starred in 2016’s action-comedy movie Zoolander 2, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Justin Theroux, John Hamburg, and Nicholas Stoller. As the title suggested, the movie was a sequel to 2001’s Zoolander, and the majority of the cast from the first film returned for the sequel.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in Zoolander 2

The movie opened to negative reviews from critics and the audience and was dubbed a box-office flop after it failed to perform. Zoolander 2 was reportedly dedicated to the co-creator the character of Derek Zoolander; Drake Sather, who had also served as the writer of the first movie. Actor Ben Stiller confesses to being blindsided by the response the movie received.

Ben Stiller reveals Zoolander 2’s performance at the box office freaked him out

In an upcoming episode of David Duchovny’s Fail Better, talented actor Ben Stiller touched upon the subject of his 2016 movie Zoolander 2 not performing at the box office, opening to a negative response and his initial reaction to it. He said via People

“I thought everybody wanted this. And then it’s like, ‘Wow, I must have really f***ed this up. Everybody didn’t go to it. And it’s gotten these horrible reviews.”

2001’s Zoolander, which is regarded as a satire on the fashion industry, received a positive response from critics and the audience. But its sequel failed to impress the audience as well as the critics and only grossed $29 million domestically on a budget of $50 million. Stiller further explained how the response to the sequel made him feel.

Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Penélope Cruz
Ben Still says the response of Zoolander 2 affected him for a long time

“It really freaked me out because I was like, ‘I didn’t know was that bad?’ What scared me the most on that one was I’m losing what I think what’s funny, the questioning yourself… on Zoolander 2, it was definitely blindsiding to me. And it definitely affected me for a long time.”

The actor, who is recognized as one of the finest in the industry, mentioned that the only good thing that came out of that failed project was his having a space to kind of sit with himself and deal with the aftermath of it. He added that he felt that he had a space to just work on and develop.

Also Read: “Nobody said anything and he’ll start to laugh”: ‘The Office’ Creator Ricky Gervais Caused Ben Stiller To Doubt His Comedic Talents Due To Self-Obsessed Habit

Owen Wilson on the other hand in his interview with The Independent back in 2016 shared that the sequel took time to come to life because the first part didn’t do very well despite Blue Steel becoming the most famous pose. He said that the 2001 movie was dismissed like a piece of fluff on a jumper. 

Ben Stiller reveals why he didn’t want to take on any comedy projects after Zoolander 2

During the podcast, David Duchovny asked the actor about his decision to not pick comedy projects after Zoolander 2 tanked at the box office. Stiller said the reason was that the hurt he felt at the time made him avoid taking up any comedy movies. He explained,

“Finding yourself in terms of what creatively you want to be and do. I have always loved directing. I always loved making movies. I always, in my mind, loved the idea of directing movies since I was a kid, and not necessarily comedies. And so, over the course of, like, the next nine or ten months, I was able to develop these limited series.”

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson
Ben Stiller said he took the time to work on other projects

The actor directed the crime drama Escape at Dannemora in 2018 and won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directing Miniseries or TV Film. In 2022, the actor not only produced but also directed several episodes of the Emmy-nominated show Severance for Apple TV+. Severance was renewed for season two. 

Also Read: American Psycho Author Sued Ben Stiller For Plagiarizing His 1998 Novel For Star-Studded Cult Classic Film ‘Zoolander’

Zoolander 2 starred Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Benedict Cumberbatch, and more. Ben Stiller’s interview on David Duchovny’s Fail Better podcast will premiere on May 7th, 2024. The podcast interviews are set to explore life’s misses and how failures shape a person.

Zoolander 2 is available as a VOD on Prime Video and Apple TV.

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