Horrible Bosses 2 seemed like a good idea at the time.
The first movie made a surprising $209.6 million after it was released in 2011, and naturally, Warner Bros. saw sequel potential. Jason Bateman, who starred in both films, saw it differently. "The second one was garbage as far as box office goes," he said of the film, released over Thanksgiving weekend in 2014. "Who knows whether it was on the merits or when they released it, but it did not do any money."
The movie earned $106.6 million on a reported $42 million budget. In addition to Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Charlie Day, Jamie Foxx and Jason Sudeikis reprised their roles from the first film. Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz joined the sequel's cast. Sean Anders, who co-wrote the script, directed the movie.
"A lot of people saw the first one, but there are plenty of films that made a lot of money where no one is interested in seeing another one," Bateman said on Marc Maron's WTF podcast. "People just weren't interested in seeing another one. 'We saw the first one, we had fun, and I don't need to go see a second one.'"
Bateman later joked that the audience was to blame for the sequel. "Don't go out and buy a bunch of tickets for the first one unless you want a second one, 'cause we don't have any discipline in this town," he said. "It's a path of least resistance."
So, why agree to star in the sequel in the first place?
"That's a paycheck for everyone. Everyone's getting' paid," he said. "It's a freebie."
Bateman added that no one intended to make a bad movie. "'We can't just make it suck,'" he recalled telling his co-stars and the creative team. "'Everyone's gonna know it's a layup, but let's at least try to make it hold up to some cynical scrutiny."
What went wrong? "It's just a question of, did anybody really care?...'It's Thanksgiving, and I'm with my family, and I'm not going to take my mom and dad to go see cock jokes,'" said Bateman, who was promoting The Gift. "I guess there is a reason R-rated comedies don't get released during a big family vacation."
Is Horrible Bosses 2 one of the nine worst sequels of all time? Watch to find out: