It appears that “Saturday Night Live”-derived hero ‘MacGruber’ may have survived another bomb he couldn’t defuse.
Back at the start of summer 2010, the seemingly ill-advised “SNL” adaptation “MacGruber” made its way to theaters on a wave of hype from its SXSW screening, which included a glowing review of our own. Positive reviews are certainly a feat for any “SNL” adaptation of recent memory, though unlike the explosive ending of every sketch for the Will Forte-created character, this bomb hit the box office with a thud rather than a bang. Scrounging up a paltry $9 million worldwide gross on a budget of $10 million, and this clever send-up (it is!) of every action movie ever seemed to pretty much disappear from theaters faster than MacGruber in the heat of the film’s hilarious sex scenes.
Now it may just be wishful thinking on the part of Forte and the film’s co-writer and director Jorma Taccone, but it looks as if they have been steadily developing a “MacGruber 2” since the release of the film just two years ago, with Taccone telling Screen Crush that “It would be me, Will and John [Solomon] writing it again. Every time I hang out with Will, we talk about all our cool ideas for the sequel. We have the idea for it and we have a title, but I won’t tell you what it is.” It’s no secret that “MacGruber” has had a growing cult following since it hit theaters, with comedy stalwarts like Judd Apatow and “Anchorman” helmer Adam McKay citing it as one of their favorites, and “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” director Edgar Wright even selecting it as one of the most underrated films (we agreed) of 2010, saying “‘MacGruber’ is “so fucking stupid, yet I cannot deny I watched it every night on the ‘Scott Pilgrim’ press tour in every hotel I slept in.”
That’s certainly good company to fall into, and perhaps suggests that “MacGruber” has thrived on DVD, Blu-Ray, and countless HBO showings, like many of these cult features do — “Austin Powers,” for instance, underwhelmed in theaters, but became a juggernaut on DVD, leading to the mega-grossing sequels. What will entice many of the film’s devotees, and followers of ‘80s action flicks like Taccone’s beloved “Die Hard,” is that the film will follow in the tradition of the former film and others like “Lethal Weapon,” in being set at Christmas. Perhaps MacGruber and Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) will be decking the halls with the blood of another super villain during the holiday season, with plenty of scenes featuring MacGruber cruising to Eddie Money in his Miata and making love to ghosts.
Both Taccone and Forte do have some major projects on their plate at the moment though, with Forte likely to head to “Nebraska” along with Bruce Dern and director Alexander Payne, and Taccone developing the comic adaptation “The Great Unknown.” Perhaps if both projects work out for the respective talent, they’ll earn enough cache to get the ball rolling on a “MacGruber 2,” and if not, fans like this writer will just have to fantasize about what sort of bonkers hijinks would ensue if MacGruber was let loose at Christmastime. Perhaps we’ll have to let a few more friends borrow our DVDs of the first film, helping to foster the cult following, and hope Universal makes another modest investment in a “MacGruber 2.” Watch the trailer for the original below.