The popular film franchise Anchorman only has two films out but is ready to release an ostensibly third one on February 28 when a new version of Anchorman 2 hits screens to air a whole new load of dirty laundry in the form of uncensored jokes. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the uncensored version will contain 763 new jokes and is titled Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super Sized R Rated Version. The movie, which will be considerably longer than the two-hour original version, will only play for just one week.
The New York Times broke the story today and reported that the short-run film will only play on about 1,000 screens. Playfully calling it “2 1/2,” the newspaper also stated that the less-raunchy Anchorman 2 currently remains in a few theaters.
Will Ferrell, the Hollywood star who plays the character Ron Burgundy in Anchorman and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, is the latest caricature for America’s love affair with gonzo journalists.
Through the last few decades, the devil-may-care persona of a newsman who is exposed to everything but cares for nothing save immediate gratification has been lamented by Eagles singer-songwriter Don Henley in the 1980s hit, “Dirty Laundry,” portrayed by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane and satirized in the 1976 film whereby a broadcast journalist sought posthumous ratings records by threatening to kill himself in Network.
The granddaddy of gonzo-journalism that may have inadvertently inspired the hapless, selfish and mindless Ron Burgundy could have been Hunter S. Thompson, who was portrayed by Bill Murray in the 1980 film, Where the Buffalo Roam and again by Johnny Deep in the 1998 film, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
With the release of uncensored version, talk has turned to how it happened: high-speed digital editing.
Adam McKay, who directed Anchorman 2 and co-wrote it with Ferrell, told the NY Times that nearly all of the jokes in the uncensored version were cut from the first version. He added that only a handful were left in for the sake of continuity.
McKay hinted that instead of releasing all the cutting room floor material as an extended director’s cut version or merely extras on a DVD, a feature film should be produced and released. To his surprise, Paramount—the studio that release the Anchorman movies—agreed.
Anchorman 2 is said to have made more than $125 million at the box office. The uncensored version is not expected to make much, but it could be an experiment that may change the way people watch, rent and buy movies. How it could change the movie-going public’s revenue behavior was not discussed, but Hollywood rarely experiments unless there is more money to be made.
Ferrell continues to maintain his Web site, Funny or Die. It is a site on which aspiring and professional comedians, celebrities and others of that ilk can upload videos and await votes on the videos that will determine which are funny and which will die.
Also in Anchorman 2 is actor and comedian Steve Carell, former Married with Children TV star Christina Applegate and comedian Paul Rudd. It is up in the air how much dirty laundry will be discussed during the promotion leading up to the one-week, limited release.
By Randall Fleming
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