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Ben Stiller Didn’t Realize ‘Zoolander 2’ Was So Bad Until Bad Reaction

The negative feedback had an impact on the actor.

The original ‘Zoolander’ movie debuted in 2001 and became a cult favorite for its satirical take on the fashion industry. But its 2016 sequel flopped at the box office and faced harsh criticism.

Ben Stiller was surprised by the results and the feedback. The actor directed, produced, wrote, and starred in ‘Zoolander 2.’ He commented in a chat with the ‘Fail Better’ podcast:

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

‘It Affected Me For A Long Time’

‘Zoolander 2’ barely made a profit with $55.3 million worldwide against its $50 million budget. The film received 22% from the critics and 20% from the audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Stiller explained the commercial failure’s effect on him:

“It really freaked me out because I was like, ‘I didn’t know it 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.”

A Space For New Work

Ben Stiller turned his focus to other projects following the ‘Zoolander 2’ disappointment. He directed ‘Escape at Dannemora.’ The 2018 film earned him a DGA Award for Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or TV Film.

The actor also executive produced and directed several episodes of Apple TV+’s ‘Severance.’ He saw the sequel’s failure as a chance for his career:

“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. 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.”

Stiller is currently working on a new comedy-drama film. ‘Nutcrackers’ started filming in late 2023.

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