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There are few things that Hollywood does better and more often than capitalizing on trends, and a brand new one has just entered the arena. Thanks to the success of Dumb and Dumber To at the box office this past weekend, there's a scent in the air that long-overdue comedy sequels are in, and now Paramount Pictures is looking to take advantage of it quickly by starting to move Zoolander 2 through development.
Not only are the gears starting to turn on the follow-up to Ben Stiller's 2001 comedy, but casting is already underway as well. Deadline has word that Penelope Cruz has signed a deal that will see her star alongside Stiller, who will be reprising his role as model Derek Zoolander. There have also been rumors swirling around that Zoolander 2 will feature the return of fan favorite characters from the first movie, including Will Ferrell's villainous Mugatu and Owen Wilson's Hansel. At this point there's no word on what character Cruz will be playing, but given that she's devastatingly beautiful, it wouldn't be a huge surprise if she wound up playing a fellow supermodel.
This is easily the most promising news about Zoolander 2 that we've heard in a long time, but the truth is that we've been getting strung along for years and years. The movie's less than stellar box office performance back in 2001 didn't help the case for an immediate sequel, but Ben Stiller has been teasing the project since 2006. In that time the project has made some progress - including hiring Justin Theroux to make his directorial debut - but the process has been moving at the speed of molasses.
Thanks to the cult culture that has grown around the original in the years since its release, Zoolander 2 has long seemed like a good idea, and it's not hard to link it's new progress with the success of Dumb and Dumber To. Topping both Interstellar and Big Hero 6 is their second weeks, the 20-years-later sequel roped in a solid $36 million in its opening - which is enough to call it a success. It certainly wouldn't cost much to make a Zoolander 2, the original only sporting a $28 million budget, so it seems like a winning scenario for Paramount.
But, of course, there is the looming question of whether or not we actually want to see a Zoolander sequel. The number of good comedy sequels we've seen over the years is a disturbingly low figure - and in this area, Dumb and Dumber To serves as an effective negative example. I'm not saying it's impossible for Zoolander 2 to be good, as it has a great group of smart people behind it, and just this year we saw a great comedy sequel in 22 Jump Street. But the question still looms.