Ben Stiller Felt “Blindsided” By ‘Zoolander 2’ Box Office Flop: “I Thought Everybody Wanted This”

Ben Stiller opens up about Zoolander 2’s box office when it premiered, saying he felt “blindsided” by the results.

Stiller directed the action comedy sequel, which he co-wrote alongside Justin Theroux, Nick Stoller, and John Hamburg. It was released in 2016 and opened to $15.9M over a Valentine’s weekend. The film grossed domestically $29M with a $50M budget.

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“I thought everybody wanted this,” Stiller said on David Duchovny’s podcast Fail Better (via People). “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.”

He continued, “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 l’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.”

Zoolander 2 competed with Deadpool, which dominated the box office in its premiere weekend with $152.2M. How To Be Single also dropped the same weekend and topped Stiller’s film, generating $19.9M over the same four-day period.

The results of Zoolander 2 led Stiller to reinvent himself and think of other ideas, ultimately leading to Escape From Dannemora and Severance.

“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 said. “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,” he added. “I was just hurt. Finding yourself in terms of what creatively you want to be and do, I I always loved directing. I always loved making movies. I always, in my mind, loved the idea of just directing movies that since I was a kid, and not necessarily comedies. And so, over the course of like the next like, nine or 10 months, I was able to develop these limited series.”

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