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Compared to its predecessor, Horrible Bosses 2 did supremely poorly at the box office. Despite costing $7 million more than the first Horrible Bosses, the sequel wound up bringing in only half the amount of money. It's not exactly hard to figure out why this happened, but Jason Bateman explained it rather perfectly in a recent interview: not every successful movie needs a follow-up.
The actor was recently a guest on the Marc Maron WTF Podcast, and it was this venue that he chose to vent about what went wrong with Horrible Bosses 2. Describing the box office results of the sequel as "garbage," Bateman put in his two cents about why the movie failed, and he put it rather bluntly:
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... People just weren’t interested in seeing another one. ‘We saw the first one, we had fun, and I don’t need to go see a second one.'
He jokingly added that the reality is that it's all the audience's fault that Horrible Bosses 2 actually happened, saying
Don’t go out and buy a bunch of tickets for the first one unless you want a second one, cause we don’t have any discipline in this town.
Before you start snapping back at Jason Bateman and saying that he has no right to complain since he took the job, in the interview he does admit that the paycheck was very much a motivating factor, and that "Everyone’s gettin’ paid. It’s a freebie." But don't be mistaken and think that this just meant that he phoned in his performance, as he went on to explain that it's always the intention to make a film as good as it can be.
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 unsuccessful in that venture. The comedy sequel has a not-so-great 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes - which, funny enough, is also about half of it's predecessor. By the end of its run, the star-studded sequel managed to make only $54 million domestically, and was all-around considered a flop.
As Jason Bateman goes on to say in the interview, his career hasn't really been hurt by the movie, and he's actually currently in a film, Joel Edgerton's The Gift, that is doing solid business at the box office despite having an incredibly small $5 million budget (it's also been earning great reviews). The lesson to take away here is simple: Hollywood just doesn't need to make sequels to every single success story that's produced.