When Horrible Bosses broke past all expectations to pull in over $200 million at the box office in 2011, the possibility of whether the studio and leading stars would reunite for a sequel was all but set in stone. It was Hollywood 101; strike while the iron is hot to pull to assemble the same creative team and ensure that the money keeps rolling in. For Horrible Bosses 2, though, moviegoers failed to take to Sean Anders’ follow-up – and that’s a feeling Jason Bateman can empathize with.
While appearing on WTF With Marc Maron, Bateman was candid about the sequel’s shortcomings, and admitted that Horrible Bosses should have adopted a one-and-done strategy, rather than churning out a half-baked sequel just for the sake of it.
“A lot of people saw the first one, but there are plenty of films that made a lot of money where no one is interested in seeing another one. The first one was funny. The first one put up some money. The second one was garbage as far as box office goes,” Bateman also said. “Who knows if it was on the merits or when they released it, but it did not do any money.”
Comedy sequels have been a difficult feat to pull off in the past, though Bateman’s general apathy toward the project would suggest that Horrible Bosses 2 fell flat long before Anders’ continuation graced theaters. As a matter of fact, the actor – who reprised his role as Nick Hendricks – even went so far as to say that the simple motivation of a pay check was enough to get members of the cast back on board, rather than wanting to tell a story genuinely worth telling. “Oh yeah. That’s a paycheck for everyone. Everyone’s gettin’ paid. It’s a freebie,” he said about making the sequel. Finishing up with: “We can’t just make it suck. Everyone’s gonna know it’s a layup, but let’s at least try to make it hold up to some cynical scrutiny.”
Horrible Bosses 2 was a critical and commercial dud, but will its failings teach studios to be more apprehensive about green-lighting sequels simply to rack up profits? Not likely.