Between Seth Rogen’s recent work in The Lion King, The Disaster Artist and Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, it does feel a bit like his days with the stoner comedy are behind him. But it's still tough to think of anything more purely Rogen than his 2008 team-up with James Franco for Pineapple Express. And wouldn’t it be great to see Dale and Saul smoke some weed together again? Well, Rogen just explained why a sequel still is not in the works:
We tried to make one. Thanks to the Sony hack, you can actually find the email when Sony decided to kill the movie and not make it. It was something we were very open to several years ago, but Sony was not that interested in it.
Pineapple Express made $101.6 million worldwide at the box office against a $27 million budget, positioning it into a huge comedy hit. So why not make a sequel? It seems like it would have been a no-brainer for the studio, especially considering how popular Seth Rogen had become -- with Knocked Up and Superbad also making waves. Here’s what Rogen said during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show:
I think we probably wanted too much money… Studios, they don't like giving away money. Weird thing.
Seth Rogen is right. A thread of emails between Sony producer Amy Pascal and other executives back in 2014 details Judd Apatow’s pitch to the studio to spend $50 million on a sequel to Pineapple Express. Apatow’s numbers were based off his success with 2013’s Anchorman 2, which doubled its budget from $26 million to $50 million and ended up making twice as much money as the original.
However, Sony was dead set on giving the production $45 million, not $50 million. In Apatow’s reply, he said “45 doesn’t get it done.” Judd also explained that the film was about the legalization of marijuana, which would have been “timely” during its intended production. He pleaded that Rogen’s upcoming film, Neighbors,would soon go on to become a hit – and it did, big time.
Apatow feared that if Sony did not greenlight the project, the team would “move on to other projects.” Also true. Wow, Apatow knew what was in for Rogen and his collaborator Evan Goldberg. The emails continued with more back and forth disputes about the $5 million, and neither party ever seemed to budge.
While talking to Stern, Rogen talked about the struggles just to make the original Pineapple Express, remembering people looked at him and Evan Goldberg like they were “so fucking stupid and crazy” for making a weed action movie. He said when they made the first movie, “no one got paid anything,” which helped with the profitability for the studio when it did well at the box office.