LOS ANGELES -He’s in your fridge, on your bookshelf and taking over your television screen. But as “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” brings back a cult comedy classic, has fictional leading man Ron Burgundy sold out? The answer is “yes.” Even the director said so.
In anticipation of the opening of “Anchorman 2” in UStheatres on Wednesday, the chauvinistic San Diego anchorman, played by comedian Will Ferrell, has promoted Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dodge Durangos, written a memoir, anchored the news in North Dakota, and served as roving reporter for the MTV Video Music Awards. And that’s just a short list of his stints. His invasion of the mass market prompted some grumbling among die-hard fans across social networks: Ron Burgundy had become too mainstream, they said, and less likable to the niche audience of the first film. “Ron Burgundy is a sellout,” Adam McKay, the film’s writer-director, told Reuters. “The whole joke of the character is that he is a complete and total sellout, so it makes us laugh to see him doing the news and selling cars.” McKay said the cult thing is over for the second film, which is a much more lavishly promoted release than the July 2004 film about the 1970s anchorman. Made by Paramount Pictures for a budget of $50 million (30 million pounds), “Anchorman 2” could earn $55 million over its first five days, estimated Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co.
“Anchorman 2” picks up the story of the suit-clad and mustachioed Ron Burgundy, described as “more man than the rest,” a decade after the first film, when he has been reduced to becoming an alcoholic SeaWorld announcer after losing his anchor job to his now estranged wife, Veronica Corningstone. By a stroke of luck, Ron Burgundy is scouted for a new global news cable channel, and reunited with his news team - played by Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner - as they take on New York City’s world of broadcast news, and unknowingly usher in a new era of news known as “infotainment.”
“American news has become really driven by ratings and entertainment. I think people working in broadcast news would even agree with that,” said McKay, who directed the first “Anchorman” film and co-wrote it with Ferrell. “So the idea of making all of that Ron Burgundy’s fault was too funny to pass up.” After the first film’s jokes became quotable fodder for fans, McKay and Ferrell had to find new material for the beloved characters. They excluded a number of pop-culture touchstones such as Ron Burgundy’s sign-off, “You stay classy, San Diego.” A few touches of homage, including Ron Burgundy’s jazz flute and Brian Fantana’s “Sex Panther” cologne, make brief appearances, as well as a second round of the news gang fight, featuring cameos from some comedy greats who the writers wanted to keep a surprise.