Ben Stiller says he was “blindsided” by the not ridiculously good-looking box office results of Zoolander 2

Speaking with David Duchovny, Ben Stiller says he was “blindsided” by Zoolander 2’s failure after thinking fans wanted a sequel.

Ben Stiller’s Zoolander is an infinitely quotable cult classic among comedy aficionadoes, and a sequel should have been easier to pull off than turning left. Still, the film failed epically, creating a reckoning for Stiller. Speaking with David Duchovny on the actor’s Fail Better podcast, Stiller says he was “blindsided” by the box office bombing of Zoolander 2 after thinking it would surprise fans more than David Bowie’s cameo in the original film.

“I thought everybody wanted this,” Stiller said about the sequel to his 2001 meme-worthy comedy. “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.”

“It really freaked me out because I was like, ‘I didn’t know it was that bad?’ ” Stiller continued. “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.”

According to VarietyZoolander 2 only banked $29 million domestically against a $50 million-dollar budget. Starring Stiller and Owen Wilson as their dumb-as-rocks male model characters from Zoolander, Derek Zoolander, and Hansel, respectively, the sequel takes the dim-witted duo to Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy. The chuckle-worthy sequel features Penélope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Justin Bieber, Amy Stiller, Katie Couric, Christine Taylor, Justin Theroux, Jon Daly, Jerry Stiller, and more.

Taken aback by the box office failure of Zoolander 2, Stiller opened up to the humbling experience by telling Duchovny, “The wonderful thing that came out of that for me was just having space where, if that had been a hit, and they said ‘Make Zoolander 3 right now,’ or offered some other movie, I would have just probably jumped in and done that,” he recalled. “But I had this space to kind of sit with myself and have to deal with it and other projects that I had been working on — not comedies, some of them — I have the time to actually just work on and develop.”

“Even if somebody said, ‘Well, why don’t you go do another comedy or do this?’ I probably could have figured out something to do. But I just didn’t want to,” Stiller added.

Stiller tells Duchovny about how the Zoolander 2 experience hurt him. Still, looking back on the experience, he learned several valuable lessons. Putting Derek Zoolander in his rearview let Stiller focus on other, more serious projects, like directing the crime drama Escape at Dannemora. His hard work on the miniseries won Stiller a DGA Award for Outstanding Directing, an honor he never thought he’d achieve. 

Was Zoolander 2‘s failure a blessing in disguise? Would you like to see Stiller give the character another shot? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Source: People

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.