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'Zoolander 2': Here's how the film could find success

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(Read caption) 'Zoolander' stars Ben Stiller.

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Work on the sequel to the 2001 comedy “Zoolander” continues to move forward and the film is set to be released this February.

The 2001 film “Zoolander” stars Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander, a model who finds himself involved in a strange conspiracy. It also features such comedy stars as Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, and while it did not perform overly well at the box office and received a mixed reception from critics, it has become a cult favorite since its release. Stiller and Wilson took to the runway in Paris this past March and Stiller mentioned a sequel on social media soon after. Ferrell stated in an interview that his character, Mugatu, is in the new movie.

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“Zoolander” is often counted as one of the comedies that stars what critics have dubbed “the frat pack,” a group that includes Stiller, Wilson, Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Jack Black, Wilson’s brother Luke Wilson, and sometimes Steve Carell. However, recent movies on which the group has collaborated have received a middling reception. “Anchorman 2,” which starred Ferrell and Carell, did well in 2013. But the 2012 movie “The Watch,” which reunited Stiller and Vaughn, didn’t do well, nor did the 2013 movie “The Internship” with Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

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However, the team behind the camera for the “Zoolander” sequel and its subject matter could signal success. Stiller is directing the movie and he co-wrote a script with Justin Theroux, a lineup that echoes that of the 2008 comedy “Tropic Thunder,” which Stiller directed and wrote with Theroux. “Tropic” starred Stiller, Black, Robert Downey Jr., Jay Baruchel, and Brandon T. Jackson and was a satire of Hollywood, complete with fake trailers before the film that poked fun at prevalent genres like Oscar prestige pic and crude comedy. The movie did fairly well with critics and at the box office.

The first movie “Zoolander” lampooned the modeling industry and it sounds like the new movie could be poking fun at our current culture as well. While the story could have changed since then, Stiller discussed the new movie's story in an interview some time ago, saying, “In the fashion world, if you go away for a year, it’s changed – it just happens so quickly. I think the idea in the beginning of the movie is that it’s 10 years later, and Derek and Hansel [Owen Wilson’s character] are literally forgotten. Nobody remembers who they are, so they have to reinvent themselves.” No doubt they'll reinvent themselves to match up with pop culture's current obsessions, giving Stiller and Theroux plenty of room to parody our world.

If the “Zoolander” sequel goes in this direction, reiterating themes Stiller and Theroux have successfully parodied before, the upcoming movie could find both critical and financial success.