Every year, millions of fans around the world sit back and indulge in the annual tradition of watching Elf, which is firmly embedded as a holiday classic that will continue to find a new audience with each passing generation.
As well as earning $233 million at the box office and gaining instant favorite status, it took the careers of director Jon Favreau and star Will Ferrell to the next level, and it would be an understatement to say that both of them have done pretty well in the eighteen years since.
For a while, there was talk of a potential sequel, but it never really became anything more than wishful thinking. That being said, a new profile from The Hollywood Reporter finds Ferrell admitting that he turned down a $29 million paycheck to return as Buddy because he didn’t think the script was any good.
The actor reveals that he couldn’t justify making Elf 2 for purely financial reasons when he’d have to spend the entire press circuit lying through his teeth about why he strapped on the leggings again.
“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’. And I thought, ‘Can I actually say those words? I don’t think I can, so I guess I can’t do the movie’.”
Despite what Hollywood wants us to believe, not every smash hit or perennial seasonal classic needs to be franchised to death, and Elf is perfectly fine how it is as a one-and-done effort that we all revisit on an annual basis.