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Will Ferrell walked away from $29 million because the sequel to Elf was apparently just that bad.
In a rare sit-down interview, the comedian shed light on some of his career decisions including why he turned down Elf 2. The script was written, Ferrell told The Hollywood Reporter, but he couldn't get over the rehashed premise.
"I would have had to promote the movie from an honest place, which would've been, like, 'Oh no, it's not good. I just couldn't turn down that much money,'" Ferrell, 54, said. "And I thought, 'Can I actually say those words? I don't think I can, so I guess I can't do the movie.'"
Elf, which was released in 2003, earned $220 million at the box office. It helped cement Ferrell as a movie star after he exited Saturday Night Live. The actor joked to THR how he remembered thinking during filming Elf — and those bright yellow tights — "could be the end" of his career. Before its release, the studio held a series of test screenings.
"[My manager] was like, 'Well, the family one went great, but we could really get eviscerated in this next one. I'm looking at a bunch of what looks like USC frat boys about to go in,'" Ferrell, who was a member of Delta Tau Delta at USC, recalled. "Then later I hear, no, that group actually liked it, too."
One sequel Ferrell doesn't regret doing is Anchorman 2. He told THR it was "a sequel worth having."